To Mow a Meadow

The meadow area this afternoon, before cutting.

THE END of summer; I think that the time’s right for cutting back the small meadow area at the end of the garden. There are a few scarlet poppies but most of the flowers are over now and should have set seed.

As I empty the trimmings on the compost heap, a Robin comes so close to me that I could reach out and touch it. There are two of them, equally tame, one hopping around where I’ve mown, the other near the shed. For the moment they seem to be sharing the garden in peace.

But inevitably cutting back this grassroot jungle has left one or two creatures homeless.

I try to mow the grass in sequence of swathes that will allow frogs and toads to gradually retreat towards the hedge as I progress. I get a brief glimpse of something hopping away near the log pile but I’m afraid that a couple of large slugs aren’t so lucky. I know they’re a traditional gardener’s ‘enemy’ but I’d have rescued them if I’d spotted them first.

I can see what appear to be vole runs in the turf and I notice two tiny newts, wriggling through the debris looking for cover in crevices in the damp earth. I manage to carefully rescue one and release it under the cover of the hedge, near next door’s pond.

Hope the Robin doesn’t spot it as it hops around under the hedge.

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