I am a very impulsive gardener. I do sit down and make lists and draw plans, but I also have mad moments of ‘inspiration’ as I’m emptying the washing machine, and have to rush to order seeds/plugs/bulbs right now.
Stephen is more considered. If I have an idea which requires his cooperation (i.e. it is in the allotment, technically his area), I have to calm myself down and not blurt it out in my half-baked dream version, but put forward a proposal. It will need to be weighed up, and proed-and-conned, and I have to stop myself from interpreting an ‘mmm’ as a ‘yes, go ahead, dig up the lawn!’
Which is why I was surprised last week, when I announced my latest idea, which was to let the grass grow under the apple trees, to make a mini meadow, that Stephen said a simple ‘yes’.
‘Yes, you’re thinking about it?’
‘Yes, you should go ahead. Make a meadow’.
It took me all of 3 nanoseconds to get onto Meadow mania and start chucking plugs into my basket like there was no tomorrow. When I realised the price of the plugs I had to scale back a little. I settled on a purple, pink and white theme, with lesser knapweed, field scabious, musk mallow and white campion.
Good sense would say that I should have sown yellow rattle last autumn, to weaken the grass. But joyful gardening is not always about good sense. Where’s the fun in that? I bought a packet of seed to pretend I’m doing things properly, which I will use in the autumn if all my plugs have died and the area in question has just turned back to grass. See? Contingency planning. So practical.
Had this not been an impulsive whim, I might have prepared the area by laying out cardboard to kill the grass a couple of months ago. But you already know that didn’t happen.
Imagine my glee when my forty little plug plants arrived this morning! Look at the little sweetiepies:
It is nose-numbingly cold outside, and we are forecast at least a week of sub-zero temperatures. Did I let that stop me? The instructions said ‘plant immediately’. I threw caution to the (teeth-rattling) wind, and got out my spade.
My original intention was to plant the plugs amongst the grass, but as my yellow rattle plan was scuppered, I decided to lift the turf. This is a win-win, as I need some turf to lay at the bottom of my soon-to-be raised bed. Stephen is constructing this tomorrow (EXCITED!!!)
So off I went with the turf-cutting. Oh my Lord, it is COLD when you turn over the turf and put it in the wheelbarrow.
But I will not be deterred. I have started now. I paused to whimper a little bit. I had a word with myself. I am from Yorkshire. I can do this.
Whenever I cut turf in this garden, I find a layer of plastic green netting about an inch below the surface. Does anyone know why this would be? Does commercially grown turf come with a layer of netting underneath? Why? So I have to peel the netting from each square of turf, which can get a bit tedious.
I can’t help noticing the richness of the soil. Did I mention that wildflowers like poor soils? No matter! I chose wildflowers that aren’t fussy (didn’t I?)
With forty plugs, I decided that my experimental area will be restricted to a square metre or so. Yes, I realise this is a very very mini-mini meadow. Shall we dial back and call it a wildflower patch?
If I can call four apple trees an ‘orchard’, then I can call this square metre a ‘meadow’. And I will.
Gardeners are forced to adopt grandiose and pretentious names for parts of their garden. Otherwise they can’t negotiate (argue) with their gardening partner about what master plans they have for a given area. ‘The triangly-bit-at-the-end’ gets tedious. Hence ‘orchard’.
So here is my meadowlet, with miniscule plugs planted:
Don’t laugh. Do you need magnification?
They are there, honestly.
So reader, I bet you just can’t wait to see what happens next. Will the birds uproot my plugs? Will the dogs trample them? Will they freeze in their beds tonight? Will the grass self-seed or encroach from all sides again? All are entirely possible.
Did I mention that I am an optimist?