Letting flowers bloom on your lawn helps provide a vital source of nectar for bees and other insects. This is why we’re encouraging you to support Plantlife’s ‘No Mow May’ project. The No Mow May campaign doesn’t ask you to do much. In fact, it asks you to not do anything at all…Just lock up your lawnmower on May 1st and let the wild flowers in your lawn bloom, providing a feast of nectar for our hungry pollinators. At the end of May, you can count the flowers on your lawn to take part in the Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts survey. You’ll then get your own Personal Nectar Score, which tells you how many bees your garden is helping to support.
The ultimate concept of No Mow May is not really to stop mowing in May specifically, or to leave whole swathes of your lawn unmown. Behind the catchy title is a simple concept: get people to change their habits so that they mow less – ideally once a month – and possibly even leave a patch or two of grass to grow long. Gardens can really make a difference to the number of wildflowers in this country. You may find all sorts of flowers appear from the soil’s hidden seedbank. Do share any photos to the group.
Mowing tips for encouraging wildlife:
- Cut once every four weeks and ideally leave 3 to 5 cm of grass length
- Leave areas of long grass. This is likely to result in a greater diversity of flowers
- You don’t have to stop mowing completely. Some species such as daisy are adapted to growing in shorter lawns and cutting flowers from these once a month stimulates them to produce more blooms.
- Don’t use weed killer, lawn fertiliser or “weed and feed” products
- Do remove the grass clippings
Fawkham Parish Council has asked Kent County Council about the cutting regime for the verges they maintain along Valley Road. KCC confirmed these do need to be cut regularly from May to the autumn, to maintain the sight lines for road safety. However, they have agreed to let the grass and wildflowers grow in certain areas around the M20 bridge, with an annual conservation cut in the autumn. They will monitor this to see how the pollinator and habitat value is establishing, and whether it would meet the criteria for a Roadside Nature Reserve.
The grass on the village green and on Baldwins Green at the bottom of Caste Hill will also need to be cut for road safety reasons, although we have been able to sow wildflower seeds on the triangle of land along Rogers Wood Lane, which we are hoping will bloom this year.
How to grow wildflowers. Keeping things simple, you can buy “bombs” – balls of wildflower seeds that can be scattered straight onto open ground. Once scattered, you don’t need to water or tend them. They are best scattered on ‘cleared ground’ as wildflowers are hardy and adaptable but slow growers. This means they can be out-completed by faster growing grasses and weeds at the crucial early stages, so straight onto bare soil is best.
Planting a mini-meadow. If you’d like to create patch of wild flowers, a mini-meadow area, or a border especially for bees or butterflies, many seed suppliers sell ready-made seed mixtures. Some of the best include:
Both sites have great in depth advice if you’re serious about creating a wild flower meadow:
As do The Wildlife Trusts: