This spring, I order six plum trees to make a small plum orchard. The 2’ foot bare- root sticks arrived in mid April and I quickly planted them. By the time these trees finally produce plums I probably won’t have any teeth to eat them! Oh well- stewed plums are supposed to be good too.
When planting, I spaced the trees out about 15’feet apart because I want them to arch into each other when they are mature. Plum trees stay relatively small reaching a height of 12- 15’high and wide. All the varieties I chose have a beautiful blossom in the spring- delicate pink to white flowers and different colored plums, red, yellow and blue. I decided on a mown path down the center of the orchard and to leave the grass high on each side. I made another mown path near the bench end to cross the long path and give access to the stone steps that lead to a shed. Approximately every three weeks, I mow the high grass on the highest level of the lawn mower. I want the different heights of grass because it creates a strong architectural element to the space, and equally importantly, reduces some of the mowing. The garden bench at the end creates a focal point and has a nice view back down the small avenue. The crab apple tree by the bench was planted several years ago and will only get wider and more wonderful with age. After two months of letting the grass grow, the wild flowers started to show themselves: Indian paint brush, daisy, clover and some of the other meadow plants are shooting up through the taller grass.
In the fall, I will mow the high grass as low as I can and then set about planting the spring bulbs, Muscari-Grape Hyacinths, and Scilla Siberica– Wood Squill. Both of these plants will continue to multiply over the years and will make a nice blue carpet in the spring. Mowing the high grass will also help spread the wild flower seeds and increase the density of the different flowers next year
If you have an area that you think might suit a path you might want to try this mowing technique and see what kinds of wildflowers arrive. Paths don’t have to be straight. A winding path adds a nice natural element to a garden.
With the high price of gasoline, mowing less frequently and leaving higher areas of grass may be a way to save a few bucks and the planet!