As previously mentioned, while digging the pond I also started a wildflower meadow to replace my front lawn. Well, why not? The bees need help, wildflowers are pretty to look at, it’ll be more biologically diverse and it will require less management than a lawn in the long term. Also it involves lots of digging: my fave!
My superb friends did the bulk of the hard work, digging out the turf in sections until after three days digging there was none left…
Sadly I failed to take a picture of the bare soil at this stage. But I’m sure you can imagine what it looked like :p
Next we tried to add soil to build up the level to equal the neighbouring concrete driveway. We did this by bashing the upside turves and breaking the soil up as much as possible. This probably generated about half a barrow load in total so we had a bit of an issue. I had some soil from the free labour gang’s old garden but this also didn’t look a lot once spread out. There was nothing we could do about that so we simply built up the pathway (see paving slabs in the pics below) using unbeaten turves and levelled these as best we could and then created a gradual slope from the edge by the driveway so falling off the edge was no longer a key risk of wandering around the front garden!
At this stage we were left with large clumps of soil, fairly dry and totally unsuitable for sowing wildflower seed. So I had to put off the sowing until I had worked the soil into roughly a medium tilth. This took a long time due to having to work (what a bore!) and both the husband and I spent an hour or two each day after work digging over the soil until eventually it was as good as it was going to get in its current dry state. Then we had to wait for rain. And wait. And wait.
The weekend just gone it finally rained (also good news for the pond, which by now had evaporated to the point of being two small puddles) and I was able to work the soil into what I am choosing to call a medium tilth (experienced gardeners would probably wince) using my homemade rake from this post.
At long last it was time to plant the seed! As the mix (Emorsgate EN1) contained plenty of grasses as well as wildflowers it was very easy to see where I was spreading the seed (so no need to mix with sand) although spreading it evenly was easier said than done! Once I had spread all the seed as evenly as I could I tramped down the seeds to give a good contact and gave the garden a quick water. Now I am watering every day while I am waiting for more rain (I dislike this immensely but hopefully in the long term watering will not be needed)!
Quick pond update: