The Little Meadow – in pictures.

The hay has been saved and stored for use in the hens’ nestbox over the coming year. The remaining wisps of grass have been tidied up with the lawnmower and this little meadow is now a bare pale patch which might puzzle those who wander along our country road. However, it will green up again very quickly and remain an anonymous patch until spring of next year when its purpose in the garden will be revealed again.

The tall grass and assorted wildflowers have been cut and tossed over several days to allow them to dry.
The tall grass and assorted wildflowers have been cut and tossed over several days to allow them to dry.
All is gathered up ready to be stored
All is gathered up ready to be stored
And, after a tidying up, we have a bare and peculiar looking patch.
And, after a tidying up, we have a bare and peculiar looking patch.

The grass will be cut in the usual manner for the remainder of the autumn and early winter until early February reveals its hidden treasures.

In early February the first of the crocus appear. The first plantings of crocus were of packets where the price had been reduced in the shops as their season passed.
In early February the first of the crocus appear. The first plantings of crocus were of packets where the price had been reduced in the shops as their season passed. It is a cheap way to get bulbs in good numbers and they all have done well in the grass and have increased well over the years. Initially, they were planted one bulb at a time and quite scatterred so they looked somewhat sparse in the first few years.
Snowdrops quickly join the crocus. These are all of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis.
Snowdrops quickly join the crocus. These are all of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis.
Crocus and snowdrops make good companions with blue and white looking especially good together.
Crocus and snowdrops make good companions with blue and white looking especially good together.
As the weeks pass the snowdrops quickly outnumber the crocus
As the weeks pass the snowdrops quickly outnumber the crocus
And my dream of a white meadow begins to take shape.
And my dream of a white meadow begins to take shape. The odd daffodil are of a very old variety which do well in grass
Two years ago I was given access to a long deserted garden and allowed to take lots of snowdrops. After bringing these home I separated them into individual bulbs as I wished to ensure I wasn't introducing weed plants such as ground elder which was present in the old garden. We - for my wife spent many hours with me on the job - planted several thousand snowdrop bulbs in our meadow and dreamed of years to come.
Two years ago I was given access to a long deserted garden and allowed to take lots of snowdrops. After bringing these home I separated them into individual bulbs as I wished to ensure I wasn’t introducing weed plants such as ground elder which was present in the old garden. We – for my wife spent many hours with me on the job – planted several thousand snowdrop bulbs in our meadow and dreamed of years to come.
The following spring we were rewarded with a reasonable start though there were many bulbs which were obviously still to small or had been overcrowded in the clumps in the old garden so the display was not as good as hoped for. Future years will bring improvement.
The following spring we were rewarded with a reasonable start though there were many bulbs which were obviously still to small or had been overcrowded in the clumps in the old garden so the display was not as good as hoped for. Future years will bring improvement.
Bulb lawn (12)
An encouraging beginning and promise of better years to come.
When crocus and snowdrops have gone the show is carried on by the snakeshead frittilary, Frittilaria meleagris, which enjoys the conditions in the grass and, from an initial very small planting, is now self-seeding and the numbers are increasing well
When crocus and snowdrops have gone the show is carried on by the snakeshead frittilary, Frittilaria meleagris, which enjoys the conditions in the grass and, from an initial very small planting, is now self-seeding and the numbers are increasing well
The frittilaries with white flowers give an interesting contrast and stand out well against the grass.
The frittilaries with white flowers give an interesting contrast and stand out well against the grass.
After the bulb season the grass begins to grow and wildflowers appear - a healthy population of daisies and buttercups as you can imagine. I haven't introduced new wildflowers but would like to introduce Yellow Rattle which would serve to weaken the growth of the grass as it is parasitic on grass roots.
After the bulb season the grass begins to grow and wildflowers appear – a healthy population of daisies and buttercups as you can imagine. I haven’t introduced new wildflowers but would like to introduce Yellow Rattle which would serve to weaken the growth of the grass as it is parasitic on grass roots. The native Forget-me-not gives a delightful blue haze after the buttercups fade.
By mid summer all traces of the spring bulbs have passed and few flowers are showing. It is now the time of the grasses to show and blow in the wind. I have one small clump, four flowers this year, of a native orchid which I hope will continue to thrive in coming years.
By mid summer all traces of the spring bulbs have passed and few flowers are showing. It is now the time of the grasses to show and blow in the wind. I have one small clump, four flowers this year, of a native orchid which I hope will continue to thrive in coming years.
The bulb lawn, as we are inclined to call it in the earlier part of the year, has by now become our little meadow though, to be honest, we are not inclined to be so pretentious and refer to it as
The bulb lawn, as we call it in the earlier part of the year, has by now become our little meadow though, to be honest, we are not inclined to be so pretentious and refer to it as “the high grass”.

And, so, the cycle of the year in this little patch of our garden is complete. It is something different from the rest of the garden and a bit of fun and we always think that the display will be better next spring. Anticipation is nearly as good as the enjoyment.

Paddy Tobin

Post Scriptum: One not expected benefit of this area of high grass is the number of frogs which use it as their home. When cutting the grass last week I displaced over twenty frogs and moved them to one of the nearby beds. The high grass also becomes criss-crossed by little pathways during the summer and I imagine our local foxes or badgers come in search of a meal. 

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2 thoughts on “The Little Meadow – in pictures.

    • Lovely to hear from you, Aisling. This is an area of the garden I like very much – and it involves very little work. It gives a very close to nature effect which is very delightful and enjoyable. I’m not sure tulips would work in such a situation – certainly not the general fancy cultivars we plant in our borders and pots though the species tulips probably would do well. Crocus are perfect for the situation. I hope it is a success for you.

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