The grass in the Community Forest garden at Cae Bodfach has grown up good and tall. We have been mowing paths through it every couple of weeks and the pathways are looking lovely. We purposefully don’t cut some areas as long grass is great for wildlife. It provides good habitat, food sources and shelter needed for many invertebrates, insects, birds and mammals.
Flower rich grassland: Cuckoo flower, Celandine and Cowslip are early sources of nectar for pollinators
Good grassland management is absolutely fundamental to maintaining a biodiverse grassland. The idea is to spread the cutting over time to create habitat diversity rather than cut all at once. This also helps reduce maintenance pressures and makes maintenance more manageable.
Sami Key and Loki came along to scythe sections of the orchard to start cutting for different sward heights to increase habitat diversity. We then used the grass cuttings to mulch around the trees. The out puts of the scything became the inputs of the mulch.
In the area with the newest planted fruit trees, we are experimenting with managing to encourage an area of flower rich meadow and this has a different management plan. To encourage a flower rich summer meadow, the grass will be cut once usually late July after all wildflowers have had chance to set seed, and all the grass cuttings removed from that area to help reduce fertility. This grass is left to grow and flower until the following late July.
We are keeping our eyes peeled for signs of the yellow rattle plant we planted in this section last year, hopefully it has seeded well and will soon be bursting into little yellow pompoms all over the orchard. Yellow rattle is the parasitic plant that helps suppress the thuggish thistles and docks from grassland enabling more light and space for wild flowers to grow into a meadow.
Scything is an old skill and providing your blade is sharp and your scythe in proportion to your height it is an enjoyable way to cut grass.
The benefits of using a scythe is that it is less disruptive to the wildlife and is much quieter than modern machine strimmers which can be quite harsh on the landscape. Scything has other physical and mental benefits in such that it is a good workout and can be a peaceful and calming activity.
As long as you have sharpened the blade sufficiently ay Sami? 😉
We are going to have a scything day at Cae Bodfach soon, weather permitting and date to be confirmed let me know if you are interested. Contact Han Rees on messenger or text me on 07790771421
Until next time happy campers!