A living churchyard
We recognise that our churchyard is a beautiful green space in a prominent location in the village. And we also recognise that people are thinking differently about how a green space can be. There is an increasing awareness of the need to create spaces full of nectars rich plants and habitats where insects and wildlife can thrive.
So we are exploring how we can turn areas of the churchyard into a wildlife meadow and perhaps to include more boxes for nesting birds, bug hotels and other habitats.
If you are able to help at all, with knowledge, advice or practical assistance we'd be delighted to hear from you
We have decided on two areas of the churchyard where we are going to encourage wildflowers to grow. What this means in practice is that they will not be mown this year, so that the soil is depleted of the nutrients which come from grass cuttings. In September the grass will be cut, taken away and the areas will be raked and scarified before sowing both seed and wildflower plugs. If all goes well (it is nature after all) there will be a beautiful display of wildflowers in Spring and Summer 2023.
This means that the area will look a bit scruffy for a while, but will be beneficial to other creatures that need a home. To take the edge off that we have planted 200 bluebells in the green which should give a good display this year. The day appointed for planting was challenging (cold and snow). It also involved some unorthodox, but effective, planting techniques using a power drill!
Having let the grass grow (pretty easy really) this is the month to strim it down and rake it off so that no more goodness gets into the soil. We chose a beautiful September afternoon and got stuck in.
As well as raking we tried to scarify the grass - raking out the dead grass thatch that lies underneath the grass so that our wildflower seeds have good contact with the soil.
Unsurprisingly this was much harder that we expected - decades of thatch has accumulated. Luckily Graham knows a man with a petrol powered scarifier which will finish the job so we can sow the seed in October.
Virtually everything we eat is dependent on bees and other pollinating insects. Yet loss of habitat, and industrial/agricultural practices are decimating bee populations.
We are exploring how we can provide community beehives in the churchyard - something that would benefit all the gardeners in the village!
We've had quite a bit of interest already. If you can help or advise us we'd love to hear from you.