Ian is a Gardens Manager living in Crowhurst, working as part of a team in three large country gardens in the Sussex and Kent Weald, where he is passionate about natural gardening.
Oh September the month of melancholy, mists and fruitfulness! Our first swallows have formed migratory flocks and are all away back down south, our martins will travel along too and we are left with a sense of loss but a sense of gain also with the beauty of autumn’s cool mists, fruitfulness and colour.
We cut our wild flower meadows this month. I like to leave them long enough to set seed in late summer and time the cutting for a week of dry weather. I time our cutting to coincide also with the finches taking the last of the Knapweed seed.
We walk our team through the meadows first with lawn rakes beating the browning vegetation to drive any bank voles back into the hedge lines. Once this is done, we use an Allen Scythe, a horizontally mounted reciprocating blade to slowly cut and lay the meadow down.
Once all cutting is completed, the cut & flattened growth is left to lie for a week (in hopefully dry weather!) to allow the seeds to settle on the ground. After this, we work as a team raking the spent growth into lines that are then gathered up and dispensed of.
I’ll stop there as on September 29th, I am giving a talk on wild flower meadows at Mantel Farm. Do join us to continue this story and to find out what could become of arisings from our meadow harvest!