Creating our own Wildflower Meadow
The Wool Company is based on an old Wild Boar farm in the heart of Cardinham, Cornwall. We are surrounded by natural beauty on a daily basis- Not a bad place to work eh? We are creating our own Wildflower Meadow for the second year running in the lower field and we thought we would share the process with you.
First, it is time to cut the un-grazed field for haylage. This extra hot summer we have had this year has been amazing for the hay. The field must be cleared of all hay. Hay is usually cut between July and September and can be varied each year which benefits the meadow.
The Hay is mown and laid in rows to dry. Once the cut hay is dried it is then bailed, this is usually 3-5 days after the cut.
Even a curious Monty loved watching from the safety of the long uncut grass. Along the edges of the field, areas are left un-mown to provide food and shelter to insects, in particular butterflies and bumblebees.
A 30-minute drive from The Wool Company you will find Lethytep, where the passionate Philip Hambly has carried the most outstanding conservation and wildlife habitat at his 52-acre farm for the past 20 years.
It is an astonishing undertaking and a wonderful treat to attend one of the few open days. It is from one of these days, that we decided to create our own ‘little slice of heaven’ by taking one of our fields to turn into a wildflower meadow project.
Please take a few moments to watch the video of Philip at Lethytep. It is amazingly inspirational. http://www.lethytep.co.uk or look at Philip’s extraordinary library of photographs he has taken all at the farm. http://www.lethytep.co.uk/galleries.php
Philip had brought in expert Scyther Kevin Austin from skyegrove.co.uk to cut his fields full of Yellow Rattle using a scythe to peacefully create long hay swathes. We will be scattering the Yellow Rattle Seeds through our field. See the short video of Kevin Austin in action at the end of this post.
Once the Scything was completed we collected the cut Yellow Rattle to make them into Hay Bales. We used a Reproduction Bale Maker from days gone by to make fresh bales for us to take away and scatter on our freshly cleared field.
The Reproduction Bale Maker is a hand hay baler; it contains a cabinet in which the hay is placed. On top is a lever that is man powered. The pressure from the lever forces the hay to compact creating a hay bale. This is then wrapped with string. We discovered that this method is really, very hard work!
Once back at the farm we scattered our fresh bales of hay about our field, which were complete with the seeds of the Yellow Rattle.
In the next few weeks, livestock will be introduced to the field and allowed to graze. This will help break up any vegetation build up on the matted ground and push down the scattered seeds into the soil.
A short Video of Kevin Austin Scything the fields of Yellow Rattle.