The summer has flown by in a flash, and here we are harvesting and mowing. Earlier in the year, when we open our gardens here in Whitstable, most of the questions I’m asked on the day seem to involve my meadow. Lovely and delicate in the spring with camassia and wild gladioli bulbs and my favourite grassy vetchling, it soon develops into a dense waist-high sward packed with reddish stone parsley, wild carrot and grasses.
All summer long the butterflies, insects and bees feed on the flowers. I think it’s beautiful and I post endless photos for my patient instagram followers. Nearly all these plants, apart from the bulbs and yellow rattle have just appeared in the meadow – brought in by birds or the wind over the past 8 years, and come mid September it’s time to mow.
The first year or so, we found a group who would scythe, but recently Paul Carter (locally available on 07926 016570) has used his strimmer with great delicacy to cut flush right down to the ground. Not as romantic, and far from silent, but efficient and quick.
Afterwards, the grass is raked into a huge stack where it rots down killing the grass under it and offering a spot to plant the following year. I’ve put aside two or three bags of cuttings for friends who want to seed their new meadows. This way they get local indigenous plants. The hens really enjoy the newly cut areas, and I love my extended garden.