Now, I recognise that to many women this may seem a surprise present choice and potentially less welcome than, say, unlimited access to a credit card/ shoes/ diamonds/ chocolates/ champers/ handbags etc etc, but to me it was the BEST PRESENT EVER.
Wildflower turf is exactly what it sounds- turf that has been sown with wildflowers. All you do is prepare your ground, lay the turf, damp it down and water it and in a few weeks time, hey presto! An area of wildflowers pops up and blooms throughout the summer.
Needless to say, I am Mighty Excited about what will emerge :o)
You may remember this area of the garden being reclaimed from the hens about this time last year. We didn't do very much with it last summer - M had some sunflowers growing there and I put in some cosmea and calendula, but essentially we let it be. I wanted to observe what was in the seed bank, it having been home to the chooks for five years and before that a lawn. It seemed like the sort of opportunity you don't get often and I wanted to make the most of it and satisfy my curiosity at the same time :o)
Wild plants (some might call them weeds, but I can't) fascinate me. Their seeds can sit in the seed bank in the ground for years and years- some need several cycles of frost and warmth before they'll germinate, others just wait for the right conditions to flower, bloom for a season and then go dormant again. It is the most marvellous survival strategy.
After a summer of many interesting plants growing there and being observed and noted down by me, thus boosting my biodiversity count for the garden considerably (not to mention all the many insects that came as a result), we tucked the patch up for its long winter sleep deliberately leaving it long and raggedy, mindful that all the small things would be curled up asleep in its wild tangle of vegetation.
This Spring, as the warmer weather dawned, it suddenly announced itself very clearly in my mind and as a result we've divided it up into sections: the bit nearest the fence will be for sunflowers and cosmos, (tall flowers in other words), then beside that a strip of grass, next to that the wildflower turf, then an area of flowering lawn which we've just sown this afternoon, and finally, another area of wildflowers, this time from seeds packets which I've also sown this afternoon, under Strict Supervision (or maybe not so strict.....).
The hand sown seeds were packets of wildflower and pollinator mixes I bought from the garden centre, and I overlaid them with the seeds I collected from our garden last autumn. I am looking forward to seeing what comes up. If all goes to plan, it should be a riot of colour, shape and size. I will post pics of its progress. It has been Poppy Proofed as you can see :o)
So has her plant pot by the fence, which now has sweet pea seeds tucked up in it. She isn't pleased At All.
All this warm weather has brought sleepy teens outside for what feels like the first time since last summer. L even accompanied me and the dogs on a walk to the woods to look for Orange Tip flutters this morning.
I saw my first one, which was thrilling. Orange Tips are the first true butterflies of Spring to me- they haven't over wintered as hibernating adults but instead have eclosed out of pupa cases. No photo because (as you may remember from last year) they never bloomin well sit still long enough. Last year I chased them for days before they finally took pity on me and allowed me a photo :o) Instead, lots of plants, some of which are ancient woodland indicators (dog's violet, wood anemone and dogs mercury)...
|Early Dog Violet|
|Teddy in the woods|
The arrival of the Orange Tips heralds the True Start of Butterfly Season :o)
I may not be around much over the weekend, for which I apologise in advance. We have a house full here celebrating my Ma in Law's 80th. Our house will be sleeping ten with 16 of us gathering at the in laws for a party. My Pa in Law is now home from hosp, has been out checking on his vegetable patch and visiting garden centers while busily declaring his intention to party hard at the weekend! There is no stopping that man.
On Sunday everyone is coming here for lunch. I will cook everything on Sat I think so I can shove it in the oven on the day, easy peasy.
Luckily, this is a family that is close and full of laughter, so I am really looking forward to it. It is probably just what everyone needs after my Pa in law's recent heart surgery. His docs have told him he can have 2 units of alcohol a day, so he is Quite Happy, having worked out that that equates to 2 glasses of champers :o)
Hoping all are well and basking in the sun if it's out with you as it is here? (19 degrees today. I have sun burn).
ps- the Newts are back in the pond :o)