Tonight, I stepped outside into the orchard to enjoy the sunshine after the past few days of rain we’ve had. There were about five or six blue dragonflies circling around and around. I couldn’t work out if they were eating bugs or trying to catch each other for mating purposes. They just kept circling and some were as big as those tiny RC helicopters you can buy.
I told Ryan he had to come out and see this. And once we started strolling around it was then we noticed just how many bees were on the clover that grows around the trees. It was humming with bees of all kinds, hoverflies and other unidentified flying insects.
We grabbed a chair and sat. A swallowtail butterfly flip-flapped past while the dragonflies carried on.
This is exactly what I wanted from the orchard. A busy, messy, nature-filled wild area. It’s really starting to work and I’m so happy. I can’t believe the difference between this side of the garden and the closely-mown, fertilized, almost neon green lawn. It feels dead compared to this! Although, less likely to sting small bottoms when they wrestle on it. I feel lucky to be able to have both.
I remember not so long ago when the orchard looked like this.
Above: The grass seed stands tall over the clover. It looks great in the afternoon sun.
Above: Only one Egremont Russet this year.
Above: But lots of Liberty apples.
Above: In some areas the clover has taken over.
Above: But in others the Achillea is in charge.
Above: The mown pathways allow us to wander around without stings and provide a source of endless fun for the kids.
Above: Stanley Plums just turning a touch purple.
Above: Looking forward to more evenings in the orchard this Summer.
Looking great, MTP. I have an idea for your orchard. I went to Chelsea for first time this year (amazing) and Hugo Bugg’s garden had this beautiful red foxtail barley (Hordeum jubatum). It was really unusual looking and I think it would look great swishing around in your orchard. The photos online don’t do it justice.
ooh! Thanks! I will check it out.
It looks really nice and wild. We used to have a part of the garden that looked similar to this when I was a child but we used to grow alfalfa under the trees on purpose. Part of it got harvested for the animals but the bits that were left were probably great as green manure. I will definitely be coming back to check how your orchard is doing :)
Being able to dedicate a section of your garden to wildlife is really satisfying. Really enjoyed what you’ve done with your garden.