Meadow mowing in the mountains

IMG_6646Curves. I’m forced to create curves.  My meadows are obliged to cling to the edges of the terraces.

I had a lovely conversation with Michaela last week in London. She is a keen gardener who has a wonderful place in the northern lakes in Italy.  She nurtures her meadows.

And I realized that I just can’t emulate her careful attention to wildlife.

IMG_6641This is a mountain farm. Which means that whatever land is available for cultivation was hewn out of a very heavily wooded landscape. And the trees on my farm are relentless self seeders. Cherries and chestnuts.

I have seedlings popping up everywhere. So if I don’t mow I will have trees in all the wrong places. Crowding out the ones that are in cultivation.


And that means my dreams of meadows have to be modified. I leave the wildlife to the steep banks on the terraces, and leave the edges to grow wild.

IMG_6650But even there I have to rogue out the baddies. The thistles. In fact I spotted lots of the little pretty blighters as I was plodding behind the mower this afternoon. I’ll need to do a long lap with my secateurs tomorrow morning and cut them out.



And that is exactly what I did. Tenacious things. All the thistles I cut back last month but not pulled out (ouch) by the roots had resprouted. And thrown up huge flower spikes in very short time.

You have to admire their adapted abilities. Even as you are cutting their heads off.


But fear not: the banks on these steep slopes may be denuded of thistles, but they are heaving with wildflowers.



And I nurture my favourite salvias which grown in a clump on the first terrace.  Eac year I promise to transplant them into the herb garden so I don’t have to trudge to far to admire them.


You are probably thinking it can’t come soon enough. That way you would be able to actually pick out the detail rather than having to squint at the blue smudges above. Sorry about that.