Last year our perennial meadow flowered through ’till the end of September with a range of late summer perennials succeeding the umbilifers. However this year the meadow’s performance hasn’t been as good and the heatwave wasn’t kind to the plants.

On Sunday we cut back the meadow using the traditional tool, a scythe. After this, instead of gathering in the ‘hay’ we spread the cuttings out across the meadow where we will leave them for two weeks enabling the seed heads to drop their seeds and replenish next year’s meadow. Then we will remove and compost the stems.

Now is a good time to start collecting seed from other plants too. At the back of the upper greenhouse we have a drying area where we will be hanging up seed heads and herbs to enable them to dry out. What is needed is good air circulation around them.  At the moment there is a huge sunflower head and many brilliantly coloured purple flower spikes of the Amaranth. This week we will be adding to these by harvesting herb leaves such as lemon verbena, good for herbal teas, and rosemary and sage leaves too.

We will be taking semi-ripe cuttings of herbs including rosemary, and sage, to produce a number of small herb plants for our sales stand later in the year.

Over a year ago we planted a fern bank along the shady path that leads from the wildlife pond up to the woodland. This is a popular spot for school classes as it is planted up with ancient plants, the ones that were around at the same time as the dinosaurs. Ferns are very ancient in evolutionary terms and are much older than the flowering plants we know so well. When dinosaurs roamed the earth forest vegetation was predominantly made up of fern-like plants called cycads and tree ferns as well as ancient pine trees such as Ginkgo and Monkey Puzzle…

Follow the link below to find out more.

We are extending our fern bank, terracing it with logs and improving the soil, making it rich with organic matter, leaf litter and well-rotted compost in preparation for planting the next section with ferns in early autumn.

There are the usual harvesting jobs of keeping up with our runner beans, tomatoes and raspberries. These all need regular picking, and eating!

Our potatoes are also nearly ready. You can tell when potatoes are ready to harvest because their tops start to turn yellow and die back. This is the time when main crop potatoes can start to be harvested.