Relax and help wildlife! – more and more of us are finding that a really easy way to bring more wildlife to our gardens is to leave some lawn to grow tall and flower over the summer – yes, grasses have beautiful flowers too!
Try leaving part of your lawn unmown for a few weeks this summer and you’ll find the result is a fascinating mosaic of taller flowering grasses and possibly a scattering of tough perennial flowers like the wonderfully named Bird’s-foot trefoil, Hawkweed, and Cat’s-ear. Within days you have a patch of grassland habitat that will attract brown butterflies, bees, moths, and a host of other grassland insects to your garden, and might also give a safe haven for frogs, toads and hedgehogs. Plantlife, the charity supporting wildflowers, have a “Say No to the Mow” campaign to support this idea www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/children-families/say-no-to-the-mow .
A smart, mown, green lawn is undoubtably becoming more difficult to maintain in unstable climate conditions and requires watering in dry weather – remember last summer? So why not experiment with a balance of mown lawn edges near borders and paths, and areas left unmown to grow tall and flower over a period of 4-8 weeks without the need for watering. It’s difficult to be precise about the timing because weather conditions and the fertility of your soil will determine how fast growth will be, but experiment with a small patch first and see how easy it is. Some more artistic gardeners have fun making patterns of mown and unmown grass areas or a curvy maze of paths mown through longer grass.
If you enjoy having more time to relax and admire your garden from the deckchair and are thrilled by the wildlife that you have encouraged, then you might want to consider making an area of your lawn into a more colourful and complex wildflower meadow.
Over the coming summer I will post further items about the options and methods for creating a successful wildflower meadow in your garden. In the meantime, there is lots of further information online: