Admiring The Weeds

#30DaysWild no 20. At Wheatland Farm sometimes we don’t get around to weeding the patio…

…Well actually ‘sometimes’ is understating things. And anyway a weed is a plant growing where you don’t want it to, so these poppies and oxeye daisies hardly count as weeds. They will have to go eventually, or the patio will become a forest, but not just yet. They’ve spilled down from the wildflower area we seeded in the Wheatland Farm garden. That’s a good tip for planting wildflowers actually – sow seed where the plants can spread themselves down a slope.

We will try to leave the poppies long enough for them to set seed that we can collect. You have to work quite hard to keep poppies in a wildflower mix – they are annuals and they really only like bare soil, so tend to be used as a nurse crop in the early years when establishing wildflower meadows. Occasionally, we’ve tried to grow them in planters for a splash of colour, but they look too scruffy (even for us) for most of the year.

Oxeye daisies, on the other hand are a different beast. They will thrive in lawns if they’re given half a chance, and in some parts of the lodge field we deliberately keep cutting them back until quite late in the year in order to have some flowers as the summer season draws on. Birdsfoot trefoil is another flower that can withstand grazing (or mowing). The hardest part, at this time of the year, is forcing yourself to mow when you can see full well that flowers are about to bud. But on the other hand, our meadow in front of Beech, Nuthatch and Honeysuckle Lodges gets better year on year, and that can only be because we mow it in patch rotation, trying to encourage the plants we want and dissuade the occasional ‘weed’.

Previously on #30DaysWild

This time last year: Andrew Roberts was bringing us cows from Higher Punchardon Farm to do their summer conservation grazing.

This time in 2019: We were bumblebee watching. We have another bumblebee walk planned for this Friday too, as part of our ongoing monthly Bee Walk counts.

This time in 2018: Maggie was exploring at Haldon Forest. We can’t wait to get back there for a trip to Go Ape, and maybe some mountain biking!