A Cutting Job!

The big cut comes only once each year and despite the dramatic-sounding description is really not the great deal one might imagine it to be. The yearly cutting back of an area of high grass – a bulb lawn earlier in the year, a wildflower patch later on and a sanctuary for a few native orchids in mid to late summer. Although the orchids are still standing, finished flowering but before the seed has ripened, the high vegetation around them had begun to lodge following recent winds and heavy rain so it was time to make the cut before it became too difficult a job.

My battery-powered strimmer cuts back the bulk of the grass though not in one charge but it recharged while we raked and collected from the first section cut. Collecting the grass is essential for leaving it lie on the ground would only add food for the grass to grow thicker and outcompete the wildflowers. With the heavy sward removed a few runs with the lawnmower brought growth back to ground level, a good scalping which is best to reduce the vigour of the grass and give the wildflowers a better chance. There is a thriving covering of Yellow Rattle which has also helped reduce the vigour of the grass over recent years and we collected some seed which we will sprinkle on the area when we have finished grass cutting for this season. Plenty of seed will have already fallen and will germinate so this collection is really only by way of being sure we plenty of Yellow Rattle for coming years.

Here is how we progressed through the job of cutting the high grass, starting with Mary, the Head Gardener, collecting seed from the Yellow Rattle which we will keep and sow sometime in mid-winter or early spring – the date depending on when I remember it! Click on a photograph to enlarge and to view as a slideshow:

The job is done for another year. We will continue to keep the grass cut on this area until the end of the year so that it is low when the snowdrops and crocus appear early next year. The wildflowers, by the way, are just that as I have never sown any wildflower seed in this area but just left nature take its course and it is interesting to watch which wildflowers appear from year to year – daisies, dandelions, creeping and meadow buttercups along with plantains are ever-present but a year when Forget-me-not colours the area a beautiful light blue or Hawksbeard gives an overall brash yellow are interesting. Lady’s Smock is increasing gently and greater numbers would be very welcome. It is all a little unpredictable and that is part of its charm. I don’t ever refer to this area as a wildflower “meadow” as I don’t consider it such but it is beginning to resemble an echo of one.

A look back at this area of the garden through the year:

2 thoughts on “A Cutting Job!

  1. You’ve managed an excellent job but it does look like a fair amount of work. Maybe a few goats could help out!
    Do you enjoy the meadow? I think it deserves the title, and I think you do enjoy it but I only ask because of how much i like the meadow here. Same thing, just an unmown lawn for half the year, but there’s always some new surprise and joy coming up and it really is one of my favorite parts of the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I enjoy it very much; something different to the rest of the garden and it has the element of surprise each year as something new may appear.

      Liked by 2 people

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