Thursday 22 March 2012

Field notes 2

Spring was really in the air this evening. Not just in a 'birds singing, buds bursting' kind of way, but in more of a 'I need to plant something' vibe. The season is rapidly moving on and I haven't made the time to properly prepare the ground for the wildflower border. The Emorsgate booklet, with the 100g packet of assorted seeds tucked neatly inside it, was sat in our In Tray and warping the fabric of guilty space/time to such a degree that I could feel the pressure from across the room. With nary a trace of irony nor a glimmer of euphemism, I declared that I was going to sow some seed. Right now!

The chosen border had been roughly dug over and left under some netting, but plenty of seedlings of Corydalis lutea were emerging to greet 2012 with a carpet of fresh green leaves (as you may have noticed, I've just discovered that it's not called Corydalis any more!). This plant was introduced to Tense Towers a decade ago, after I rescued a small clump of it from the car park at work, just before a new path was dug through the area where it was growing. I find that its verdant leaves and gentle yellow flowers are a visual tonic against the harsher realities of 21st Century life. It has now colonised a fair proportion of our paths, but with such a long flowering season, I don't mind at all.

I doubt whether all the other plants feel the same way about it, so I began to pull out a few Corydalis shoots, but not with any great enthusiasm. After all, I'm trying to create a wildflower border, so it should fit in nicely, if only it would allow the other plants some room.

There was a moment's quandary as my repressed inner OCD chuntered on about whether the tilth was fine enough to allow successful germination, but then a dose of realism cut in as I remembered that these are wild flowers. They're expecting rough meadow conditions, not Royal Horticultural Society status.

I removed a few loose stones and larger clumps of clay soil, then gave the bed a rake over. Reading the instructions that said 'Sow 2 grammes per square metre', I wondered how I was going to maintain the relative percentages of each species by weighing out the 10 grammes required for 5 square metres? That thought was quickly followed by 'Hmm, that's not very much'. 50g, or half a packet, later, I was mixing the seeds into a few litres of sand, the better to see where I was broadcasting. The daylight was starting to go, so this turned out to be a good idea. Then, after dowsing the bed with a gallon or so of harvested rainwater, I replaced the netting to prevent bird or cat interference and retreated back indoors.

I suspect that March 22nd is towards the very end of the likely sowing season, so we will have to wait and see what happens. But either way, there'll be Corydalis, so I won't be too disappointed.

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