Sarah tells us more about the meadow she has grown over a number of years:
We started a meadow in our back garden in 2003. We mowed the grass in April, then left it to see what came up, then mowed again in September.
About the space
It is a south-facing garden on chalky soil, with a bit of silty clay on top. The grass was longer and more vigorous at the bottom of the garden, which was also wetter. It is shady here due to shrubs we planted plus the neighbour’s Leylandii hedge.
The first year we had Dandelions, Creeping Buttercup, Daisies and White Clover. I sowed some Yellow Rattle seed that autumn and that reduced the grass, creating space for other things to appear. I collected Red Clover and Common Knapweed seed when walking on the Downs and they established well. A friend gave me some Bird’s-foot Trefoil from his meadow and over the years it has spread, giving a beautiful flush of yellow to the garden.
I planted some crocuses at the bottom of the garden as I knew they were good for bees early in the year.
The creatures we saw
It was fascinating to see hoverflies on the crocuses in early February.
Cat’s-tail had come into the meadow and the dead flower stalks gave Common Blue butterflies a good place to perch. We call these beautiful insects ‘Blue Flowers’ and get really excited when we see the first ones. One day we had a stunning Marbled White. It stayed for about 10 minutes and then was gone.
How fantastic to see how the meadow has developed. If you have a meadow, or are just starting out with “No Mow May” for the first time, we would love to hear more about how it has gone!