As soon as we close the gates on the last day of the season we are immediately thinking about the things we need to do for the following year. This year, one of our first jobs was to begin preparations for a new lavender display bed which will be along the edge of the yellow corn marigold wildflower area.
Once the marigolds had finished flowering we needed to cut them and prepare the ground for reseeding with wildflowers for next summer and leaving one area for the new lavender plants.
Once the ground has been cultivated, black plastic is laid in strips where the lavenders are to be planted. The plastic has a number of beneficial uses. It helps keep moisture in the soil, it is permeable so rain water can get through to the soil but it doesn't evaporate so quickly. It also, and very importantly, keeps weeds at bay which means that we do not need to spray with chemicals. Between the rows we sow grass seed, as well as looking much nicer than bare soil, it also is very helpful to keep weeds away and we can mow instead of spraying.
Normally we plant using machines but these plants are a bit bigger than the usual plug plants we use in the main fields so it was all hands on deck, planting by hand. We had help from the younger members of the team, keeping us well stocked with plants and making sure we put the right variety in the right place! We have planted 9 varieties of lavender and a total of 600 plants and we got them in the ground just before the rain came. Now we just have to try to persuade the crows to stop pulling them out to find the worms underneath!!