Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom : Benign Neglect

l’m conscious of having neglected this blog for too long. The Toad Work has pretty much had me in a half-nelson and though I’ve had the time to watch cricket I haven’t had the time (or mental space) to write about it. So although I have witnessed some momentous events (for once) I shall have to recollect them in tranquillity, rather than report in the heat of the moment.

On my return I half expected to find the blog overgrown with weeds or, to put it another way, a meadow in full bloom with wild flowers.  It can be hard to tell the two apart and simple neglect may be as effective a means of husbandry as deliberate tending.  This thought occurred on my way to Trent Bridge at the beginning of the month when I saw what, for me, were the first poppies of the Summer growing on this small patch of grass between the railway station and the path I take to the cricket ground through a housing estate known as The Meadows.  I imagine it hadn’t been mown because of cuts to council funding.Meadows 1Meadows 2 “The Meadows” was, I believe, the name for a much larger area of watermeadow on the banks of the Trent, taking in Meadow Lane (the home of Notts County FC) and Lady Bay (where Notts 2nd XI play).  It was largely built over with terraced housing, some of which remains but some demolished to make way for “The Meadows” estate.  Now it, in its turn, is partly boarded up and due for demolition, though that too seems to have been postponed due to lack of funds.Meadows 3 Meadows 4 (Ladysmock Gardens) Meanwhile the old Meadows are reclaiming their rightful territory, through the cracks and the abandoned front yards.

But The Meadows isn’t the only place where a thousand wild flowers are being allowed to bloom.  This is a small corner of the otherwise carefully tended Spa Fields in Clerkenwell

Spa Fields 1Spa Fields 2 and this a small patch in the equally well-tended Welland Park in Market Harborough.

Welland Park

I doubt whether lack of funds is the reason for the lack of mowing here, but equally I’m not sure that the mowers haven’t just “missed a bit”.  There is no doubt, though, about this, to the untrained eye, indistinguishable patch of mini-meadow in Canterbury, because there is a fence around it and a notice explaining that it has been left to bloom wild in the interests of conservation.

Canterbury : Wylde Flowers 2Canterbury : Wylde Flowers 3

and another patch elsewhere leaves even less room for doubt.

Canterbury : Wylde Flowers

It does occur to me that this admirable determination to nurture wild flowers seems to have less success so far than Nottingham’s inability to pay its verge-cutters.  (Not quite the truth, I suspect, but a comforting thought for those of us who have been neglecting our blogs, flower-beds or even back lawns for several weeks now, so I’m sticking to it.)

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