The scythe is a powerful tool, capable of transforming our lives and surroundings.
Just across from where I live there is a patch of council owned land. Last year I noticed that it hadn’t been cut, no doubt due to budget cuts so in the August I went over with my scythe to cut off the docks before they had chance to set their seeds.
Of course, once I was there I couldn’t help mowing an area properly. The sward was tangled and tough so it took a couple of evenings after work to cut a small area and remove the grass. One of the advantages of the scythe is that it works silently, so the nearby houses weren’t disturbed while I mowed. Six weeks later I mowed the regrowth to leave a short sward, dug out the docks and sowed wild yellow rattle seed in the spaces. Yellow rattle is semi-parasitic on grass so will reduce its vigour, allowing wild flowers to thrive.
My hope was that, over time I would reduce the fertility of the land by repeated mowing and introduce some wild flowers to create a mini urban meadow, inspired by the guerrilla gardening movement. The photos show what happened; the soil already had a seedbank of wildflowers and the short cut provided the right conditions for these Lady’s Smock to germinate creating a gorgeous pink haze across the area.
This last photo shows clearly how things have changed, the line between where I scythed and didn’t is obvious. My yellow rattle seed has also germinated so and I can’t wait to see what else will appear as the summer continues.
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A comprehensive and practical guide to working with an Austrian scythe. Perfect if you cannot attend a course or as a reference guide following tuition.