July 09, 2010

9th July 2010

On Wednesday Jan Pell from Landlife came down to the meadow. She arrived with a friend in the most amazing peppermint green metallic Morgan Aero 8 handmade car. Yes this is a Top Gear moment. Stuart was on his way to Le Mans for a car festival where thousands of Morgans were going to get together as well as many other cars and as I had visited Le Mans and their museum last year we talked cars for a while and I took lots of photos then Wendy and Jan drew us back to the purpose of the visit – to review the state of the meadow.

Jan was surprised at how invasive our thistle problem was, but assured us it was salvageable and often happened in areas like this which have been left unmanaged. She stressed that it was important we cut the thistles down as soon as possible to stop them seeding and spreading further next year. So we are on to that.

The good news is that we have a carpet of corn chamomile starting to spread across the meadow. This should seed and once the thistles are cut, start to take their place.

c

There are also a few cornflowers coming through. Jan had hoped to see a mass of them this year but explained that with the lack of rain and the fact that they went in so late it is to be expected that the show would not be breathtaking. But, she said that many of the seeds may still be lying in the meadow dormant due to lack of rain and if they haven’t germinated this year, they may well germinate next year – or if we have some rain after the thistles have been cut, come up later this year.

a

The meadow also has some wonderful clumps of birdsfoot trefoil which are looking strong.

b

We showed Jan a little red flower which she thinks might be a scarlet pimpernel, she is going to check, but that is quite rare now and as a traditional wildflower it must have got there by itself because we didn’t plant it – which is fab.

d

We will keep you posted on the thistle problem but it is nice to know that with some regular cutting we can control it and despite them the flowers are coming through, even in the dry conditions we are experiencing this year. So next year should be much better.

Although we want to get rid of some of the thistles, they are providing wonderful food for bumble bees, of which there are plenty and butterflies, of which there are several varieties, including a rather beautiful moth with bright red wings.

Ann Loscombe


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