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The Perennial Meadow 2019
Our land here is unusual - across the road is a shallow ridge of a hill - once the terminal moraine of Loch Lomond - the point where the ice came to 15,000 years ago.
That gave us boulders and silt and all kinds of debris under the field that became our garden. Then, in modern times, the last 150 years of farming had used the edge of the land to dump spoil and everything unwanted, letting it tumble down the hill to the valley - dug up tarmac, field stones, bits of rusted up machinery all appear in what should be virgin soil.
Soil testing gives us radically different results in patches 15 feet apart.
When we built the studio-workshop which is down in the dip, halfway between the flat orchard and the wooded valley - a great heap of spoil was created. This contained all the worst of our land - the gravelly patches, the rusted wheels, the old advertising hoardings and barbed wire and boulders. Too much to tackle at the time it was graded by the builders into a smooth hill and some of the top soil put back on top.
This became the experimental perennial meadow - a mad mix of plants, moved from what was my original cutting garden - to see what would battle it out and thrive in the wild amongst the weeds.
To see also whether the soil made a difference - I am particularly interested in how plants choose their place.
The meadow is now in its 8th year - the maintenance is deliberately light - we weed out nettles, brambles, docks and broom seedlings but everything else is allowed to stay. Seedheads stay over winter - the teasels are particularly beautiful - and are cut down in early March.
This year the grass is perhaps too dominant for the first time - particularly in the centre, so we may pull some of that in the autumn and seed the patches with something else.
What I love best about this area is the variety and also how so many wild flowers have moved in to join my garden plants. This year, for the first time we have a little colony of orange hawksbit flowering right at the top of the slope, next to the workshop path. The burnt orange flowers are a perfect contrast to the dominant greens and purples.
Garden flowers that are thriving throughout the slope
- Allium purple sensation
- Oriental Poppies
- Aquilegia - all kinds
- Astrantia - all kinds but astantia major is the strongest
- Black leaved cow parsley
Garden flowers that are thriving at the edges
- Sweet Rocket
- Sweet William
Wild flowers that arrived and are happy throughout
- 27 types of grass
- Forget me nots
- Welsh poppies
- Cow parsley
- Field poppies
Wild flowers that arrived and are happy at the edges
- Orange hawkbit
- Water avens
- Meadow daisies
I am going to try introducing Japanese anemones and geums in the autumn to see how they do - and perhaps some more varieties of alliums.