No Mow May

Here we are at the beginning of May and it feels like something akin is Spring is happening. It is also the month of No Mow May.

It’s interesting that being out in the garden over the bank holiday weekend mowers were firing up all over the place. I think a combination of the nicest weather this year, a holiday weekend and the sudden spurt of growth that has happened in what feels like a week has clearly spurred those that mow to get on with it.

I have mixed feelings personally about not mowing for a month. I have so little grass now that when my mower died a couple of years ago I decided not to replace it. I know, I know its not about not using a mower per se but all to do with letting the grass grow so that there is more biodiversity in the garden. Allowing wild flowers and grasses to have their moment in possibly an otherwise barren year.

I am the product of a father who was of a generation that mowed and tended his lawn assiduously so learning to leave alone is extremely challenging. From having a garden edge to edge grass to what I have now means that I have a very small amount of grass left which is a mix of weed grasses and moss something I fight hard to allow to be. That upbringing is embedded deep.

The thing for me is I have so much going on plant-wise that if I allow the small grass path and tiny patch of lawn to also grow long and wild the whole garden becomes a visual mess. The relatively tidy cut grass, done old skool with some long handled shears, allows the burgeoning borders to be the stars of the show. A couple of years ago I dug out a large part of the lawn at the bottom of the garden to create a wildflower patch. This has been very successful. I have slightly curated it so that there are some early spring bulbs and primroses and cowslips for early foraging insects. This gives it some form at the beginning of the year when the wildflower species haven’t got into their stride. So in effect I have created the biodiversity that No Mow May is espousing. 

If you mainly have a grass lawn then maybe allowing it to grown long for one month is a lovely thing to do. In fact before I created the wild flower patch I did indeed do this. The grass in that part of the garden was always rubbish and rather than fight it I decided to embrace it. It was gorgeous for a few months. It did in the end collapse and look less than gorgeous so got cut back but laying in the long grass was rather delicious.

The plus side to not mowing is – you don’t have to mow! Time can be spent doing other things like drinking a G&T or watching what insects you attract into your garden. If the whole long grass thing is a bit too much for you why not just mow a path through the longer grass creating a lovely walk to the other end of the garden. You can pretend you are in that scene from Gladiator.

A friend of mine told me she had plastic grass in her small back garden.  This is a blog for another occasion but please, please, please don’t lay plastic grass. It is like laying concrete over your garden. No Mow May is the antithesis of this. Encouraging wildlife to your garden at the expense of a neat and tidy lawn for one month is surely worth it. 

Let me know your thoughts.

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