Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

The Perennial Meadow 2019

perennial meadow

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.

perennial meadow

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.

perennial meadow

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
  • Cirsium
  • Sanguisorba

Garden flowers that are thriving at the edges

  • Peonies
  • Sweet Rocket
  • Mallow
  • Sweet William
  • Alchemilla

Wild flowers that arrived and are happy throughout

  • Teasels
  • 27 types of grass
  • Buttercups
  • 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
  • Speedwell
  • Cornflowers

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.

Things that were not happy

  • Roses
  • Allium Christopher and multibulbosum
  • Gladioli

Tags: gardening

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Yesterday I walked around a new local community garden that I am to be involved in.  I walked the site with Lauren @herbal_homestead (who looks after @katgoldin ‘s market garden at the Gartur Farm School) who is the permaculture consultant for the project.⁠⠀
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The words at the top of this post were the words that were tumbling about as we walked along the stream that edges the plot and discussed the contours and what the potential is for this new space.⁠⠀
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I have missed those words a lot.⁠⠀
Elderberry vinegar, a brilliant natural immunity booster and treatment for sore throats, is steeping in my cupboard at the moment - the colour is so vibrant it is obvious that it MUST be good for you.⁠⠀
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It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
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The Pay What You Can option has been really popular - second only to the Full Membership - which makes me very happy. ⁠⠀
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I've had a lot of emails from people who had been looking at joining the Studio Club for a while but couldn't justify the cost - because unemployment or illness or caring for others restricts their budget - but who have now been able to join.  So if that sounds like you the details are all on the front page of the website - snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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Time.⁠⠀
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Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
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Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
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It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
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Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
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What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
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I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
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In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
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Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
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What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
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Messy edges.⁠⠀
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Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
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For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
Yesterday, as I headed down through the meadow to light the studio stove, were dozens feeeling atop the teasel heads.
It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
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To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
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The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
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In less than 24 hours over half the Full Memberships sold out - so if you are thinking of signing up for one of those then I would do it sooner than later. ⠀
Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
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The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
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I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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