But my friend Casey from across the pond recently decided to post about his own journey of creating a wildlife haven within his back garden using native plants only, blog found here. I have said many times about my own small patch that it is truly a small piece of compromise wildlife gardening and many of the plants are picked for their benefit to wildlife and not because they are native, although that is changing as the garden evolves. Damn thing is that Casey's patch starting me thinking about ripping out my own and starting from scratch just to provide a totally native garden. But common sense took over and the garden will remain a compromise. But Casey's words reminded me of Plot 2A, my forgotten and neglected allotment and my plans to create a Cider orchard above a carpet of wild plants. Way hay, so the other day after the grind I payed 2A my first visit in months to be greeted with this.....
Not exactly what I had in mind when I first took over the plot, at first I couldn't even see one of the six young cider trees planted last year and I feared that they had all failed. My first thoughts were to strim the whole plot down and then mow it very short for the next few seasons to allow the soil just to breath and recover from past cultivation. The grass to be raked off to prevent the soil becoming any richer and to replant cider trees. I could see that the few sprouts planted last year were flowering and overrunning the raised bed that I had erected, I headed towards them right away to clear them out so that at least I would feel that a start had been made. As I started walking through the tall grass towards them I began to notice that perhaps plan A of stripping the plot down to the ground perhaps was not the path I should tread...
|Common Vetch had arrived|
|Buttercups in abundance|
|One of several ladybirds|
|The flowering sprouts were just irresistible to bees with over twenty feeding off them, not to mention the aphids.|
|The Cowslips planted last year were doing well and hopefully will set some seeds|
|Clover meanders through the grasses|
|All of the young Cider trees were found to be healthy|
|The two mature trees look to have the makings of a bumper crop|
So even though I may have faltered in my care of 2A the signs were there that it could well become the native haven for wildlife I desire. So plan A has been dumped and plan B is now being implemented. I returned the next day with my strimmer and cleared out the area around the still very sexy compost bin and then turned my attention to the path. If you remember that last year the plot had a straight path up the middle with branches off to each tree, well although very nice for the normal allotment owner this was definitely a mistake for 2A. Luckily the straight paths have all but vanished so now I have cut a swath out that meanders from tree to tree and as the trees grow this should make walking the plot much more pleasant. The raised bed will not be cleared until the sprouts have finished flowering and the emerging meadow will be strimmed at about the end of August and then cut until the weather turns cold enough to discourage growth. Two plants that I will be concentrating on reducing by digging out are Dock and the clumps of scutch grass. Come the Autumn I will sow Yellow Rattle throughout the meadow to weaken the grasses and provide a better environment for other natives to take up residence. Also over the Summer I'm hoping to grow some natives and plant them in plug form once the meadow is cut.
|Still damned sexy|
Further long term plans include a shed behind the two mature apple trees with the water run off it's roof to supply a small pond like the one in my wildlife garden. The plot's boundaries require definition and this will be done with 'edible hedges' using different fruit trees. I'll be back there again this weekend to clear the area around the two mature trees ready for laying a base for the shed and the six young trees require the area around them clearing to enable them to flourish more. Oh and almost forgetting, on driving home from 2A I called into the 'not so super market' to pick up something for supper when I noticed they had three Crab apple trees in their patio tree section. Well I have been thinking that I could squeeze one more tree into the garden at home and a Crab apple fits the bill in that its flowers attract Bees and the like and then there is fruit in the Autumn for Blackbirds and perhaps Cider. So checking the tag it read £10, Mmmm perhaps not I thought (yeah I know tight arse John) and carried on into the store. As I left I happened to drift passed them again and thought "stuff it I'll have one". So grabbing one I made my way to the dedicated plant till (yes we are not totally backward in Wales) and had to catch my breath as the rather buxom and very pleasant young lady on the till informed me "that will be £3.50 please" After a pause to catch my breath (breath caught because of the price not at the sight of her bosom, although .....) I said "hang on a minute" and promptly dashed off to grab the remaining two trees. Well that's one for the garden and two for 2A, result me thinks.
So a hearty thank you to Casey for prodding my mind and helping me remember Plot 2A, I just hope that this time I'll stick to the task in hand. Til the next time take care,