Drinks in the Meadow Anyone?
for months, we have been looking obsessively for noxious weeds and worrying whether any disastrous thing would happen to the meadow before it managed to flower, reassuring each other continuously that it would be alright on the night. Despite having in my mind’s eye a hopeful and pretty picture of our meadow’s first year, I wasn’t fully prepared for the truly joyous spectacle of our meadow in full bloom. It really has surpassed anything I could have imagined, and now we are breathless for all the best reasons.
And a big part of this has been due to our guests’ reactions when we took Drinks in the Meadow on the 15th of August. We have been overwhelmed by kind comments, and I have been especially touched by those who were stimulated to recall the golden memories of their youth. Though I feel rather a drama queen for mentioning it, the beauty seems to have induced rather a powerful feeling of wellbeing in us all.
And we are not alone (if I can assume that bees emote). I already knew, in theory, that if you provide the pollen and nectar they will come. But the bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies and other beneficial insects came in unprecedented numbers. In the warmth of the day almost every flower bore aloft a halo of feeding insects. And the swallows that have skimmed the meadow by day, and the bats that patrolled by night, have feasted upon them. The food chain in action.
So much so, that it has been a hard call to make to cut the meadow, and we have delayed as long as we can. The objects of beauty are all annual species, used to nurse the permanent perennial meadow, and they have performed that function admirably. If not cut before they die back, the annuals will compromise the growth of the perennials or at worst, slump and suffocate them. Sacrifices must be made.
Nevertheless, such has been the success of the annual meadow that we propose a slight amendment to our plans. We aim to continue using annuals as a ‘headland’ crop. We will cut and bale them and strew the resulting green hay on a broad strip between Hollicarrs Wood and the Three Hagges Wood. So please don’t berate us … we’re aiming for a repeat performance next year. That will be win, win, win all round. In the meantime, here (below) are some our guests enjoying Drinks in the Meadow.