Born to be wild in the meadow

What was once a field where our daughter's pony roamed, then a flock of geese cavorted before it became for a short time a race track for our son learning to drive, a 50th party festival for Alan .... then it was time to create a place for our beautiful roulottes which were being crafted in France. We had visualised where the roulottes would be placed for some time, being aware of wind direction, sunset, views, etc. before the diggers moved in to prepare the land for drainage, electrics, water, the wildlife ponds and the roulottes' new homes.

That first year in 2008 we were delighted to see dock leaves peep through the mud and then it was a labour of love to rewild the meadow with native trees, shrubs, flowers, plants, grasses, seeds and water loving plants. We wished to encourage many species of birds, bees, insects, wildlife, pondlife to live in our meadow in harmony with our future guests when the roulottes would start to arrive in 2010.

Hedging of hawthorn, wild rose, apple and more was planted to host nature's families and has flourished immensely, apart from a gap which was eaten by the neighbouring sheep which we have left as a window through the hedge - great for sheep watching. Also gorse, broom, rosehip, bramble.

Fast forward and its 2022, the meadow is lush, vibrant, colourful and filled with birdsong, humming of bees, fluttering of butterflies and dragonflies. The roulottes have almost disappeared and now it is them that peep through the plant life giving guests an oasis of calm in perfect seclusion.

Many of our guests come for the peace and tranquillity in the meadow to escape busy lives, however some guests come to create .... paintings, poems, songs, books, photographs as well as a variety of crafts.

We also have welcomed ethnobotanists, conservationists, foragers, gardeners, wildlife photographers, ornithologists, astronomers over the years who appreciate the biodiversity we have sought to create over the years with the helping hand of nature.

We have guerrilla gardeners, otherwise known as Villa and Harri who have been coming to Roulotte Retreat for over 11 years and adding to our meadow and its always a lovely surprise to see what pops up. Some guests add to our forever growing list of wildflowers, plants and grasses in our visitor books, which sadly have been missing for over two years due to covid when all books, games, guest books were removed from the roulottes. I thought I would share the list below of what we have documented so far, and please if you are staying with us and you discover more, let us know and we shall add to the list.

Our meadow flowers and grasses include yarrow, knapweed, ox-eye daisy, vetch, red clover, speedwell, meadow cranesbill, yellow rattle, field scabious, sorrel, plantain, poppy, red campion, Scottish bluebell, foxgloves, meadow buttercup, cowslip and white clover to give a rainbow of colour. Also greater plaintain, ribwort plaintain, wild geranium, teasels, meadow vetchling, herb Robert, crested dog's tail, false goat grass, great hairy willowherb, broad leaved dock, hogweed, creeping buttercup, creeping thistle, annual meadow grass, common couch grass, Yorkshire fog, perennial rye grass, lesser stichwort, common nettle, rosebay willowherb, soft rush, buddlea, lady's mantle, cleavers, wood avens, cow parsley, meadow buttercup, silverweed, pendulous sedge, selfheal, wild angelica, common sorrel, gunnera, common birdsfoot trefoil, ivy leaved water crowfoot, lady's bedstraw, spotted orchid, pignut, bluebells, cowslips.

Around the pond we have added edge plants such as yellow iris, water forget-me-not, purple loosestrife, ragged robin, meadowsweet, sneezewort, water plaintain, water mint, marsh marigold, cuckoo flower, St. John’s wort, marsh cinquefoil, marsh woundwort, valerian, broad-leaved pondweed, water figwort, water starwort, reeds, bullrush

And so many more ..... to be continued

Avril Berry

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