With rain forecast this coming Tuesday, and the last week or two being fairly dry, today was the perfect day to sow the grass seed on the headland, to ensure a month or so of good growth after the rain, before the winter chill starts to slow things down. This will mean that come next spring, the new shoots of grass and flowers lain down now will be ready to burst into life as soon as the earth begins to warm up, and will stand more chance against the dormant weed seeds.
Having destroyed all growth beneath the hedge, I’m painfully aware that the food source and cover for many wild animals, insects and birds has also been destroyed. We want to encourage the wildlife back to this area, but in a managed fashion, so we’re sowing a wildflower/grass mix suitable for just such an area. We’ll also place wood piles for cover for certain animals such as toads and hedgehogs, whilst the long grass will provide cover for small mammals (mice, hedgehogs, voles etc) and the seeds of the flowers will encourage smaller animals and birds to feed there, with the nectar encouraging the bees and butterflies. In turn, the birds and insects, toads and mammals will help to keep the slug, snail and various vegetable-unfriendly insects at bay. This year, whilst our beans were attacked by black fly quite badly, the fact we had hundreds of ladybirds and wasps meant we didn’t have to use insecticides and only lost a small proportion of the later set beans before the insects finished the black fly off. It was fantastic to witness, and we went against two gardeners giving advice to see if it worked.
The mix we’ve sown is from Charles Flower Wild Flowers, and is their Mix I, suitable for amenity meadows and field margins. Eventually it will look like the image here, the grasses are slow growing, so after being cut in May they can be left safely to grow until late August, letting the various flowers grow in peace and drop their seeds before being cut down in late August. The various species of grasses and flowers are as follows, along with the relevant percentage in the mix: