If you are lucky enough to have a garden with a patch of grass or a lawn, this time of year is the perfect time for those in the M&M area to take inspiration from, or join in with, Plantlife’s #NoMowMay campaign. It doesn’t really ask you to do very much and actually just asks that you do nothing at all…
The campaign simply suggests that you stop mowing from May and let the wildflowers in your lawn bloom, providing a much-needed ‘nectar café’ for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
From May 22nd-31st Plantlife will be running the ‘Every Flower Counts’ project where people count the number of wildflowers on their lawns. The greater the number of wild flowers that you have in your lawn the more nectar will be produced. If you’ve taken part in #NoMowMay or haven’t mown at all this year, you’re likely to have many more wild flowers and lots more nectar. From the results submitted, Plantlife calculate a National Nectar Index to show how lawns across Britain are helping to feed our pollinators. They then reveal the top lawn flowers and provide information on how to increase the number of flowers in your patch.
A previous survey had some really interesting results, finding that 80% of lawns supported the equivalent of around 400 bees per day from the nectar-sugar produced by flowers such as Dandelion, White clover and Selfheal, but 20% of lawns (dubbed “superlawns”) were found to be supporting 10 times as many – up to 4000 bees a day.
Plantlife asked participants how often they mowed their lawns, and those who had left their lawns unmown for No Mow May saw differing results for our pollinators: The highest production of flowers and nectar sugar was on lawns cut once every four weeks. This gives ‘short-grass’ plants like daisies and white clover a chance to flower in profusion, boosting nectar production tenfold. However, areas of longer unmown grass were more diverse in their range of flowers, with other nectar-rich plants like Oxeye daisy, Field scabious and Knapweed increasing the range of nectar sources for different pollinators and extending nectar availability into late summer. A kind of ‘Mohican’ lawn cut would therefore be ideal – giving the best of both worlds.
We’ve lost 7 ½ million acres of meadows and flower-rich grasslands since the 1930s and the 15 million gardens in Britain could be a major source of nectar for our struggling pollinators and when May has passed it’s time for #LetItBloomJune when continued inaction on the mowing front can lead to even greater botanical benefits for biodiversity. If you are really keen and want to continue giving a floral feast for bees and butterflies you can carry on for another month and see the results during #KneeHighJuly…
For more information check out the following links: