Meadow Area

Friday, 18th March 2005
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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spade and forkThat feeling that spring is on its' way has made me want to get out in the garden. If I can dig over the area beyond the veg beds, bordered by hedge and compost heap (below left, as it was last May), I can get it sown as a tiny wild flower meadow.

I haven't much time to spare because I've been so preoccupied with the drawing workshops so I limit myself to 30 minutes digging at a time. Even I can spare the odd half hour. Besides, more than that and I'd probably start feeling the strain afterwards.

In four such sessions since Wednesday, I'm surprised how much I've been able to do: a hearthrug sized section per session (we have rather small hearthrugs here in England).

coltsfoot rootI'm trying to take out all the underground stems and roots of coltsfoot (right), creeping buttercup, nettle and dock. It's not that they're lacking in wildlife interest, or that I don't like drawing them, but they'll swamp out the other wild flowers that I'd like to grow.

Habitat Pile

the meadow area last yearWorking out there gives me ideas as to how the whole thing might come together. It's surprising how you can turn a problem into an asset. There's a pile of branches lopped from a buddleia bush which had become top heavy and collapsed. I decide to turn them into a habitat pile: I trim off the smaller twigs and lay them in a bundle by a gap under the hedge then arrange the larger branches on top of them (Andy Goldsworthy, eat your heart out) to make a pile that should be attractive for insects to shelter in and for birds and small mammals to explore.

snailI've placed the pile to the left of the small bench in the corner so no doubt some time I'll sit there and do a drawing of it. Perhaps I'll reposition the brick pile - another popular habitat for all sorts of invertebrates - on the right. Next Page

Richard Bell,

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