Autumn is a busy time in the garden, preparing for the spring before rough weather starts to delay us. There are always so many jobs to do but if we can only get one thing done it is to cut our meadow before winter sinks in. In our climate, grass can continue growing throughout the winter and if it is not cut now it could be really quite lush by springtime. If this is allowed to happen, then our spring flowering bulbs can be lost in the deep grass. By getting the meadow nice and short now, in the spring our bulbs should stand out well, giving us a glorious display.
Meadows are a complex community of wild flowers and grasses and to encourage floral diversity we must always work to reduce the vigour of the grass. Part of this is to keep the grass short over the winter so that it doesn’t swamp out the wild flowers. In the past we have tried to use sheep to graze the grass down. They look so beautiful on the hillside through the winter but it is hard to get the shepherd to lone them and then they have the tendency to escape! Some years ago, we managed to get a collecting mower to go on the back of the tractor, and this has proven to be the perfect alternative. It has really improved the wild flower population and also has the benefit of leaving a nice smart stripe. This is such fun as it really contrasts with the wild long grass just a few weeks ago.