Winter and early spring are the most sorry times of year for wildflower meadows. After the annual cut in autumn, it can seem that the very soul of the meadow has been taken away; all the colour, texture and dependent wildlife seemingly vanishing with the hay.
It can be really difficult to persevere with such a lifeless looking patch of land, especially if this is your first year of meadow motherhood, and i’ve seen plenty of meadows and wildflower areas bite the dust about this time of year, as their owners decide that after all their hard work the previous year, all they seem to have created is a weedy looking lawn.
Exploring nature around you
But fear not! Before giving up, I ask you to do one thing… get down on your hands and knees and have a good poke around. If all you find is grass, then conceding defeat may be your best option (unless of course a diverse grassy meadow was what you were after!), but I would be very very surprised if what you actually found was a whole lot more than that.
What you’re looking for is a diversity of leaf shapes… you don’t even need to be able to identify the leaves, just knowing that you’ve got a whole lot of ‘stuff’ ready to leap into life as soon as the weather allow is enough!
A close look will show a myriad of leaf shapes…. promising great things for the year to come! Here I can see Ox Eye Daisy, Sorrel and some umbellifers amongst other things…
If you’re really feeling down about things, the next ting to do is to grab a spade… although above ground life might be a little bit well, absent, its a whole different world underground. Without disturbing too much ground, take a spade and have a bit of a ferret about in the soil.
Amongst the roots and the worms (which in themselves are doing the most amazing things), you’ll find eggs, larvae, grubs and cycts… demonstrating what an important place your meadow is to all sorts of life.
A handful of bugs, some snail eggs, a symphylan and a woodlouse!
So, don’t give up! You’re providing an amazing space for so much life and there really are great things to come…..