Say no to the mow
Fancy saving on mowing and discovering what wild flowers you have in your garden?
One of the best ways to give wildflowers a place in your garden is to leave a patch of lawn un-mown. This gives flowers a chance to grow and set seed and is a remarkably good way of attracting other wildlife into your garden, especially bugs, beetles, butterflies and bees that will be drawn to the nectar, pollen and food plants you’re helping to provide. It’s great to see what appears and, over time, you’ll see lots of changes as some flowers become more abundant and your patch becomes more attractive to wildlife.
What comes up in your patch depends very much on what you start with. A perfect, weed-free lawn will probably produce just a few grasses, but if you have an old, weedy bit of turf it could flourish into a mini-meadow with things like daisies, self-heal, buttercups and clovers. We’ve even had reports of orchids, oxeye daisies and cowslips!
The key to a good patch is to leave it unmown until at least the middle of July - or even the end of August, if you can. Once the flowers have set seed, cut the grass hard – you might need a strimmer for the first cut – and remove all the clippings (this is very important to keep soil nutrients down and give and wildflower seeds space to germinate). Then cut it a few more times before Christmas, aiming to get the grass down to below ankle-height. If you can, it’s a good idea to leave a few areas completely un-mown as the standing vegetation is beneficial to overwintering insects.
As for the size and shape of your patch, it’s entirely up to you. If you have a small lawn, try a 1 metre-square micro-meadow. At the other extreme, why not leave your entire lawn unmown with a few paths meandering though it? Either way, we’d love to see the results – share them on Instagram and Twitter under the #SayNoMow hashtag and you might get to feature in our E-News or magazine.
What you will need
- Canes to mark out your patch
What you won't need
The size and shape of your patch – large or small, rectangular or curvy-sided - is entirely up to you. If you have a small lawn you could have fun with a one-meter-square micro-meadow. At the other extreme, you could leave your entire lawn un-mown apart from a few paths meandering cut though it. Just remember that the larger your path is the more wildflowers and wildlife you’ll attract.
Whatever you do, we’d love to see the results. Share your photos with us on social media under the #SayNoMow hashtag. Throughout the season we’ll bring you more advice, tips and identification sheets to download.