Midsummer grass

We go through a period at midsummer where the spring flower start to fade and the late summer flowers are yet in bud.  The grass is overtall and swamps the smallest trees sometimes smothering them out.  We were too busy with construction projects to keep a path mown through the trackways recently.  Last week, after the damp grass made my feet so wet that I was able to wring water out of my socks even in wellies, I had to do some mowing!

cut just before the rain
The mist came down again after mowing.

 

We had a dry spell Sunday and Monday so S. made a start before lunch and I carried on on Tuesday and was able to put a single mower track down the middle of most of the rides and backways.  I made a new backway that I call the white orchid path, which matches up with one S. made to cut down from the middle to the pond area from near the royal oaks.  There is only one white orchid there, which I noticed for the first time two years ago.  It was quite a distance from the trackway, so it is nice to be able to take a closer look.  It’s just a common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) I think, but it’s more unusual for them to be white rather than pink.

white orchid path
White Orchid path

The dogs are very good about machinery, they know to trot behind, or do their own thing, however when it comes to raking up the cut grass Dyson is a bit of a pain.  His game is to try and catch the rake head (or broom or vacuum nozzle)  which makes the job about twice as long!  I ended up putting them in for an afternoon nap, so I could get on more quickly.  I hate all that mulch material going to waste rotting on the path and killing grass where I don’t want it killed.  I have been raking it up into piles, then the dogs can help (they think they are helping) piling it around some of the newer or more vulnerable trees and shrubs.  I’ve still got quite a bit to do, and two or three smaller paths haven’t been mown yet.

danish elder
New Elder tree from Denmark, uncovered but not yet mulched.
mulching trees
Mulched chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa)

It was nice to see several mushrooms, a sign of the fungal mycelium below which distributs nutrients around the field.  I guess they will be changing from grass and orchid loving fungi to tree loving fungi, but there is still quite a amount of open space from one cause or another.  I also saw several butterflies, caterpillars, a dragonfly and a frog.  The advantage of the scythemower is that, as well as coping with overtall grass, it is less likely to kill wildlife, since it cuts in one direction rather than circularly.

fungi flower
Fruiting fungi

I think I’m going to have to assume that this wild cherry (below) is not going to recover.  It got hit by late frosts, which are pretty unusual here, just as the buds were unfurling.  I did think it would stage a comeback, but it doesn’t look like it now.  There are several suckers from adjacent trees, at least one coming up in the trackway, so I could transplant one of these to replace it.  Alternatively, I could put something else there.

dead cherry
Dead cherry
enjoying trackway
The dogs love a free run

7 thoughts on “Midsummer grass

    1. He’s recovered well from the operation thank you, but unfortunately it looks like it is a lymphatic system wide issue after all. Going back to the vet tomorrow.

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  1. Your dogs seem such characters. I hope Douglas will be okay.

    Anyway, is there a specific reason for having an elder from Denmark?

    I tend to get mushrooms in one area of my garden but not others, though perhaps I simply don’t see the others. I’m surprised as this area has appeared to be the least healthy ground.

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    1. The dogs are part of our family. I’m not sure yet what the prognosis for Douglas will be.
      The elder (and some fruit bush cuttings) were a swap for some of my seedlings. I’m hoping that having more of a variety of elder will help my berry set. Although there is elder locally, there is none very close.
      Good mycelium is only one factor of course in plant growth. The soil may be more acid there, which would be good for fungi but not for plants for example.

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  2. Fingers crossed for Douglas and I hope you’ll achieve your aims with elderberries.

    Thanks for the info re fungi growing in one patch but plants not so well. The soil might be less acidic now. It was dressed with a thick layer of compost and there are currently beans, sweetcorn and butternut squash growing. Time will tell if they are successful.

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  3. Here in Cornwall, ticks have started carrying Lyme disease (I noticed the rash last year and had to blast myself with antibiotics). It’s made me edgy about long grass, which is a damn shame. I’m not going to catch it from your photos, though. They’re beautiful.

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  4. We get a bit blase about ticks – the dogs have them crawling on them all the time (the Nexguard is good to keep them from biting them). It’s pretty rare for us to be bitten though. The trick is to remove them quickly without stressing them, they are less likely to infect. We like the twisty tick removers, but tickcards are also useful to keep in a wallet just in case.

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