Attempting a Wildflower Meadow and Books

We have had Melbourne weather. Thirty-two degrees one day and then down to sixteen the next. We were grateful that we were at home for the hot weather with nothing much to do other than clear up after visitors. I sat in the garden from six until nine because it was cooler than the house.

Yesterday, I attended at fascinating course in my village hall on flower identification and thought how lucky we were to attend a free course with expert and entertaining leaders – it made me determined to attend more workshops, learning about nature instead of wondering blind amidst nature.

This year, I tried making two wildflower patches. One out of the area where we had a bonfire last year. It was used several times as we burned a number of old sheds and other rubbish left by the previous owner. It was completely sterile at the end. I worried that it would take years to recover.

I used at Boston wildflower mix with loads of yellow rattle and annuals plus a packet of borage and a few gathered poppy seeds. The daisies, cornflowers and borage liked it and I can’t believe how well the land has recovered.

Compare this with some land I rotavated which had been covered in hogweed and was impenetrable. The ground was soft and rich in chicken droppings. I sowed the seed a month later, including some sunflower seeds and the moles loved it because my flat earth became hillocks, I kept raking and sowing more seed. There are some daisies and cornflowers coming up but the docks, nettles and thistles are overwhelming them.

More weed than wildflower

I will have to think again. The ground is too rich for a good wildflower meadow. We need more bonfire areas. I bought a bonfire bin so that we don’t create barren bits of land but perhaps that was a mistake. I think by Bonfire night, we will have a new super fire in the next bit of land for a meadow. It won’t be at the top end but somewhere nearer where we want our guest accommodation if we ever hear from the planners.

I read two books that are worth mentioning. Bear Town by Fredrik Backman. It took me a while to get into because it is set in a town which idolises ice hockey. Ice Hockey features large and centre. It is the raison d’étre almost for the town and its is pinning all its hopes on the school team winning the league.

Once you read through the Ice Hockey, this is a masterpiece, a book about society and culture and one that makes you think. Race, class, culture, misogyny, capitalism, how far people will go to defend their tribe and the status quo and what courage it takes to stand up and say, no, this is not right. This is a giant of a book.

The other book is one by Elizabeth Buchan, an author I enjoy. Daughters of the Storm is set during the French Revolution. It’s gives a sense of the history and is particularly graphic on the prison where some of the characters find themselves before facing the guillotine. However, I preferred A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel because it dealt with the the revolutionaries rather than the aristocrats and I learnt so much more. The interesting thing about the Buchan book is that is appeared not to have been proofread. Missing words, wrong words, misspelt words littered the text. Several sentences had to be reread to gain the sense. Other reviewers have commented on this but I wonder if action has been taken by the publishers. I borrowed it from my library e-book service.

About Rosemary Noble

Writer, author, amateur historian and traveller
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