A Plantlife Initiative
No Mow May is exactly what it sounds – not mowing your lawn during the month of May. It is an initiative started by the charity Plantlife back in 2019. In the UK it is supported by organisations as diverse as the National Trust , Yeo Valley Organic and more locally Wotton Area CAN . Already it has spread to the USA and Canada.
Why join in?
As Gardens Illustrated reported, there is strong evidence for rethinking our mowing habits:
- 97% of British wildflower meadows have disappeared since the 1930s
- many pollinating insects are in decline in the UK
- on average each square kilometre lost 11 species of bee and hoverfly between 1980 and 2013
Plantlife’s citizen science experiments show that mowing less can lead to a tenfold increase in the nectar available to pollinators and a much more interesting lawn.
Leave it longer for longer
There isn’t really anything special about May – ideally Plantlife would like us to mow only monthly all summer to give short grass plants like daisies and white clover chance to flower. We should even let the odd patch go unmown to encourage plants such as oxeye daisy, field scabious and knapweed.
In 2020, I enjoyed a purple carpet of self heal so I’m trying again this year. Though I will cheat a bit by keeping a narrow strip round the edge short so the general effect is intentional not neglected.
Now for the science bit …
You can register for Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts survey https://www.plantlife.org.uk/everyflowercounts/ which runs from 22nd to 31st May. By doing so you help them calculate our National Nectar Score and monitor trends. It’s fun for children and educational for anyone who, like me, is no botanist.
We can make a difference
There are 15 million gardens in the UK so a high take-up could make a substantial difference to pollinators
… and give us more time to do something we really enjoy!