You may have heard and tried to follow the advice with mixed results I’m sure. Each year we are all encouraged to leave our grass to grow a little longer to allow the lawn ‘weeds’ to flower. I am also frequently asked about how to create a wild flower meadow like on the seed packets. Well in reality not to mow your grass in May is easy and establishing a meadow area a little more complicated but entirely possible.
We often fall into one of two categories when it comes to our grassy areas. We either have to have a perfectly manicured lawn with stripes and no weeds or we allow nature to take over and mow during the Summer when we have to. I am definitely the latter. I respect those who take pride in their lawns but do not agree at all in throwing chemicals all over to poison the wildlife and seep into the water supplies.
Why ‘No Mow May’?
Short grass is only one habitat for example ground feeding birds.
Longer grass allows the short plants (lawn weeds?) to flower like daisies, buttercups, dandelions, speedwells, violas, bird’s foot trefoil and clover. All these flowers attract many pollinators and other beneficial insects. There are many more that my lawn students can now identify. Lawn weeds to one person are wild flowers and biodiversity to me and hopefully all my students too! If you have used weed and feed on your lawn then your would only have had longer grass in May before struggling to cut it after.
Selective mowing all year?
If you enjoyed the long grass but felt it looked unkempt instead of mowing the whole lot why not just do the edges or cut a path through where you have trampled it to walk to the shed, compost bin or greenhouse? This way the taller grasses and wildflowers (weeds?) will be allowed to flower attracting even more butterflies, honey bees, bumble bees, solitary bees, beetles, hoverflies etc etc etc You will see the Achillea (yarrow), hawkweed, oxe eye daisies, lupins, wild geraniums, poppies, scabious, knapweed, meadow buttercups (the tall ones) and many many more.
Adding plants to your meadow
Don’t be put off if no wild flowers show themselves you can add to it next year by planting plants in the lawn, plugs or seeds into a prepared area with well drained poor soil. I had an area totally destroyed by my chickens now long and lush with the promise of summer flowers to come. I just wish the councils would not mow the verges just as they are in full bloom!
So yes ‘no mow May’ is a good idea to start but keep it going all Summer long with a bit of tweaking!
Cathie’s Gardening School Services
Consultancies and mentoring sessions are in full swing so if you would like some help and advice in your own garden let me know. CGS is running the plant identification and classification module from September so come and meet me, see the garden and join in!