Whilst mowing the Bakery Lawn recently I had comments from passing Tatsfielders on the speed of the recovery of the grass, from brown to green in just a week or so. Nature is a wonderful thing, just a decent drop of rain and some warmth in the soil and now our grass is growing fast!

There is an increasing interest by local folk in managing their grass as meadow. This brings huge benefits to the garden environment right across the spectrum from wild flowers to insects, tiny animals and birds. It makes the garden easier to manage – much less mowing – and reduces the use of electricity or petrol, less noise and pollution.

Now is the time to plant native bulbs in your meadow, Fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) and Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus). To gain control of the vigour of your grass make sure to sow Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor), this is an annual native wild flower that is semi parasitic to grass. Yellow flowers and brown seed cases (that rattle with loose seed) look lovely in the summer and within a few years will weaken grass giving more space for more wild flowers – nature is indeed a wonderful thing! You can increase the population and diversity of the wild flowers by sowing seed, or buy tiny plant plugs. Scratch up small areas of the meadow and sow, or plant, in small patches, a job that can be done now or in the spriing.

The early leaf fall from our trees is nothing to worry about, other than our poor Ash of course, with at least an average rainy winter we can expect a good show of leaves next spring. Our autumn colour display along our lanes and hedgerows is early this year, by late October we have golden yellow leaves on many trees but especially the Field Maple (Acer campestre), a native tree of medium size. This tree makes a great addition to a hedge of native species, it is a very strong and tough plant that will respond well to being trimmed to shape.

Remember to rake up fallen leaves from the lawn to avoid yellow and bare patches. Mix them with lawn mowings in the compost heap for a late boost to the composting process.

I picked my Howgate Wonder (huge dual use apples) and Bramley Seedlings in mid October and after checking each one carefully for damage, they are now tucked up in trays wrapped in newspaper and will last us until February – with luck! Take the core out of the centre, fill with raisins and brown sugar, put in a hot oven for about 15 minutes, watch carefully and take them out before they burst through the skin; serve with proper runny custard – delicious!


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