Sunflowers and Summertime
What a year 2020 turned out to be and the start of 2021 was odd too. We really love sharing our farm with guests to the Best Log Cabin and Apple Tree Cottage so it all felt a little empty with just us and the animals here! However, when you run a working farm there is always so much that can be done so we used the time to work on a few projects we were keen to progress.
Many of the projects we have been working on this year aim to restore both the land and wildlife with minimal human intervention. Our free-roaming Highland Cattle help with this, working the land and helping to revitalise habitats and reverse the decline of intensive farming.
One project we have been working on was the clearance of an area to turn it into a beautiful sunflower field. I say an area but to be precise, it was four acres of land so a rather big area! The environment is always at the front of our minds when working on our farm. We feel so lucky to live in a rural landscape, with picturesque hills, beautiful flora and some amazing wildlife. We want to give back to that and help to enhance it. Clearing the fields and planting sunflowers was the perfect way for us to do this. Sunflowers have so many benefits to the natural environment. Their seeds provide food for wild birds, while British bees, which are currently under-threat, love their pollen and nectar. Not to mention, a field of sunflowers looks so very beautiful too! In theory it all sounds quite relaxing, however it proved to be a lot of hard work.
We began the project by working on one of our lakes. Our farm is blessed with several small lakes which have many uses. The lake we used for our sunflower project, had previously been used for course fishing. We moved the fish inhabitants to a different lake on our farm, dredged and desilted it, using the material taken from it to prime the fields where we planned to plant the sunflowers. The waste material from the lake is full of nutrients and we knew that using it on the field before planting the seeds, should help the sunflowers to grow. Once we had done this and given it time to settle, we used a seed drill to plant approximately one million seeds into the ground. With the help of Mother Nature, we hope the sunflowers will grow tall, so now we just wait…
Sunflower season tends to be from mid-July until September in the UK so we are now waiting patiently and enjoying walking past the sunflower fields every day. If the project is a success, we hope to open-up the fields to those in the local community, as well as those further afield, with the aim of raising money for Marie Curie, a charity close to our hearts. We will let you know how successful we are and look forward to hosting you at our pop up event.