Sunday, 8 June 2014

... it's a jungle out there...

the unmown lawn
We are being encouraged by the Plantlife charity to set aside parts of our lawns as unmown areas - 'Say no to the mow'.

Aphid party busted by ladybird larvae in unmown lawn drama.
Traditionally scalped and weedkilled lawns provide little for wildlife - but a few weeks of growth and you'll find all kinds of interesting creepy crawlies in there. A bit like my untrimmed beard in many ways. You'll find you've created a pocket rainforest.

fritillaria seed pods
The area of the lawn we've set aside had been plug planted with cowslips and fritillaria for spring flowers. We need to leave the lawn unmown to allow the flowers to seed. After seed collecting, the lawn will be mown short again. I'm sure greenkeepers will blanch at this treatment of a lawn. Especially when they hear I intend to give this area a bit of a flogging after mowing so that flower seeds can get into contact with bare earth.
"Barbara! Come and read this. The man is an idiot. It's a crime against lawns!"

I guess you may be right. And those of you less entrenched in the ethical left-field will probably simply mow your lawn after its holiday, ready for the family French cricket competition.
But it's my conviction that the enemy of wildlife is monoculture - the growing of a single plant to the detriment of all others. A lawn that is weed and moss killed and excludes all other plants is as much a monoculture as an intensively grown field of leeks. I want biodiversity in my lawn. I love clover! I want other flowers to bloom. It's great for pollinators!

So, I'm pleased that this year's white clover and purple vetch are flowering and attracting bees and other insects. A better cameraman would have captured the long thin wasp that visited us. I'm pleased that the verdant growth is also providing food for aphids, which in turn will be fed on by birds and other insects.And drama too. Those ladybird larvae can certainly munch!

And I'm pleased to support Plantlife. Say no to the mow!

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