The weather is warming up and the grass is starting to really grow. And grow. At the weekend, the air is filled with that sound of Summer, the gentle hum of lawnmowers in the distance. Why do we do it? All those hours spent trudging behind the mower, not to mention the petrol, and the loss of habitat. So while I do like a little bit of nice stripey lawn, this year I am proud to be joining in with Plantlife’s Say No to the Mow campaign. They are encouraging people to stop mowing a patch of lawn – however tiny – until the Autumn. The idea is that wildflowers will emerge to bring in pollinators, while the longer grasses provide habitat for other insects; birds can then feast on both the insects and the grass seeds. Even a tiny area is soon teeming with plants and wildlife.
So what’s growing in our no-mow-zone? Well, so far we have buttercups, clover, plantains, many pretty grasses and, most excitingly, bee orchids.
If you can’t spare the space to let things get really wild, even just leaving a couple of weeks between mows can bring a little more wilderness into your garden. As a result of
laziness our deep commitment to wildlife, what passes for lawn around here is often left for a week or three before we haul out the mower. The lovely thing is, even in that short time, you quickly end up with a lawn that is studded with little wildflowers. We’ve had daisies, buttercups, ground ivy, self-heal and dandelions. On a sunny afternoon, fat bumblebees pootle from flower to flower. The grass is still short enough for the kids to run around and kick a ball, and looks just lovely.
Giving the mower a rest can bring beautiful surprises, too. Back in May, there was a long patch of grass I just didn’t get round to dealing with for a few weeks. Just as I was about to get the mower out, I noticed something white and sparkling in the long grass. At first I thought it was daisies, but when I looked closely, I found this lovely thing – I’m pretty sure it’s Star of Bethlehem. If I’d been keeping up with the mowing, it would never have had chance to flower and set seed, and I would never have known it was there.
So go on, just for a couple of months – let nature do it’s thing, and Say No to the Mow!