Folly alert! The meadow experiment.

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.

Stevie 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’.

‘I’m sorry?’


‘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?

If you would like to join me in my garden experiments and trials for hope over experience, then click on the big ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of this post.  You will receive an email each time I post.  Let’s look forward together!

26 Comments Add yours

  1. Claudette says:

    I just learn to love my daisies and dandelions – at 1.5 acres I accept any colour in my grass.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes! That would cost a fortune to plant up!

  2. This made me chuckle because we are such impulsive and impatient gardeners too! I hope your pluglets thrive. 😊

    1. Ali says:

      I’m glad I’ve got company. Impulsivity is one of the joys of gardening.

  3. I love your style! Go for it…it’s yours and you can throw caution and planning to the winds…I find that they often blow away!

  4. Ali says:

    Oh, that’s interesting, Alison. That makes me pleased I planted plugs! I did get a free packet of annual seed mix too, which might be Part 2 of meadow folly!

  5. Tish Farrell says:

    Am envisioning all those pluglets in full summer bloom. A fine choice!

  6. bcparkison says:

    Wonderful. I can’t wait to see.

  7. Brian Skeys says:

    Commercial turf growers do use plastic net to grow the grass through to help hold it together when lifting and laying. It is a pain in the b… when you wish to plant through it. I helped establish a wildflower meadow in a rough area of grass, yellow rattle was very effective at reducing grass growth. With some spring flowering bulbs included it worked well. Wild flower meadows and orchards are a perfect match, I look forward to seeing yours develop.

    1. Ali says:

      Ah! Thank you for explaining the netting – it is v annoying. I feel like I’m liberating the earth though as I remove it, and tearing it off does give a nice fine tilth!
      Thank you also for your encouragement. Will definitely plant lots of bulbs!

  8. jjspina says:

    Good Luck! May nature cooperate and nourish and encourage your pluglets. It will be lovely! Happy gardening! 💐

  9. Such a lovely idea. I look forward to seeing your babies mature. 🌼🌼🌼

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! It’s nice to have company in my ‘meadow’!

  10. Such a lovely idea. I look forward to seeing your wild flower babies mature. 🌼🌼🌼

    1. Ali says:

      I will provide updates!

  11. croftgarden says:

    You might think about buying some packets of mixed wildflower seed to broadcast on the bare areas of soil or to use to grow your own plugs to plant later.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I have a free packet of seed; was going to put cardboard down to kill more grass around this area, and then maybe sow seed. Still mulling it over a bit!

    2. Ali says:

      I’ve also got lots of foxgloves I can transplant, and a few other thugs from other parts of the garden.

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