Wildflower Meadow - Ground Prep

Inspired by The Great British Bee Count that is taking place from 19th May to 30th June, we have decided to create a wildflower meadow in the hope to attract more of these wonderful insects to our garden. Over time, I hope it will become a great place of learning and interest for Jenson and Wren, where they can discover more about nature, eco systems and habitats. 

Tuesday, however, was a pretty rotten day. I still felt ill and Jenson was still proving to be really challenging. After his panic attacks last week brought on from a nasty cough, he is still showing signs of anxiety and over sensory stimulation in large groups of people. It's a difficult period in his life and he doesn't make it easy for others to help. We're also looking at paediatric dieticians as he suffers from massive mood fluctuations that lead to angry, violent episodes. They are very difficult to manage, both for Jenson and for myself and Wren, who often end up as the targets of these verbal and physical outbursts. Just the other day, when at the end of my tether, I told him I didn't know what to do with him and he told me I should just chuck him away. So you see, we need to make some positive steps to help him manage his feelings and emotions better.

Despite the difficulties, we did manage to write his cousins birthday cards using his LEGO alphabet aids. Jenson accomplished the task really well. We were all very tired though so spent the afternoon watching Wall-E, a fantastic film about a little robot, although the dog, Wren and I all fell asleep.

And so that brings us to Wednesday and today: Thursday. Both days were much better. This is a before shot of the area that will be transformed into a haven for bees and butterflies. I grassed it over last year for our ducks, but now we no longer have them, it's an ideal space for our new project. 

Both Jenson and Wren showed fantastic enthusiasm for the task ahead. I was actually really surprised at just how long they stuck at it. We were out there all morning yesterday. Jenson dug up the turf that we then replanted into six heavy duty seed trays, watered and will use for the rabbits to graze on. Wren meanwhile hunted for worms around the edges. It was really quite idyllic as the sun shone down on us.

Jenson dug the most magnificent holes that Simon would have been proud of! It was a great physical work out for him.

There was much exploring of worms, which included stretching and poking! If that didn't kill them, feeding them to the chickens certainly did! It was a great lesson in the pecking order of life though and brilliant for the children not to be icky over such things as feeding live animals to other animals. 

There was also lots of potato counting too. When we dug up our potatoes last year it seems we missed a lot! Jenson counted as many as thirty!! We had two days of digging and he got so excited every time he found another potato, it really was like finding buried treasure and delightful to watch. Wren meanwhile was more than content giving Remy cuddles and letting her chew on her fingers!

Here is Jenson taking a rest on next door's wall, having climbed up the spade to get there!

After a hard morning of digging, we stopped for lunch during which we sat and watched the nesting Blue Tits flitting in and out of the bird box. I am so thrilled they have taken to the box so quickly as Simon only put it up last month. I love seeing how much Jenson enjoys the wildlife in our garden. We also have Dunnocks nesting in the ivy. It's a wonderful haven for birds and mini beasts, and our mini beasts seem to love watching it all unfold! The benefits and enjoyment the children get from being outside in the fresh air and around nature is far greater than any pointless lesson in the classroom where they would be cramming Jenson full of facts that he just won't remember in years to come. A love of nature however is something that will become a part of their souls and is so important in a world where there is so much uncertainty and unrest.

The afternoon was spent thawing out the LEGO ice models they made at Monday's LEGO club.

We then headed out to Park Campus to feed the ducks and as it turns out, the over excited geese! Wren was much braver than Jenson, who hid behind me screaming like a girl as the phrase goes! The evening concluded with a role play camping trip. They dressed up, packed their bags and made a camp in their bedroom. Jenson took a picture of Wren and asked her to say wiggly sausages as he took it! They unpacked their bags, made a camp fire, read stories, toasted marshmallows, (using wooden arrows and plastic sorter bricks,) and hid in their camp beds to wait for Daddy to come home from work!

Day two continued in pretty much the same format. More digging and plenty of fun and fresh air! We found centipedes too. 

After digging up all the grass, Jenson helped me fill the wheelbarrow with all the old turf. We are still thinking of a way to recycle it all as we have far too much to give to the rabbits. The afternoon was spent playing in the sprinkler and getting very wet! But that's a story for another blog. 

All in all the last two days have been very enjoyable. The sun shine always makes everything seem so much better. It can lift moods and bring smiles to faces. Being outside in the fresh air and just digging is something Jenson got a lot of satisfaction from. Next week, once our seeds arrive, we will begin phase two of our wildflower meadow: planting! After that we can make a start on building our bee hotels! Here is a picture of the area dug up.

And here it is raked to a fine tilth ready for planting!