No Mow May - The Wild Way!
LettsSafari is a big supporter of 'No Mow May' - this is why you should be too!
‘No Mow May’ was introduced in the UK in 2019 by botanical charity Plantlife. LettsSafari is a big supporter of the campaign. Our founders, Kara and Philip Letts, started to practise what has become known as ‘No Mow May’ in 2007, at a project in the US.
‘No Mow May’ is a campaign that encourages gardeners not to mow their lawn during the month of May, in order to let wild flowers bloom and provide a nectar feast for pollinators such as honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees, butterflies and moths, and beetles.
Plantlife is asking us to keep our lawnmowners in the shed during May so wild plants can thrive and provide nectar for insects. The latest research has shown that insect numbers are down by 60% in the UK.
We desperately need to do something about it. ‘No Mow May’ is a great start. You will enjoy it so much that you are almost guaranteed to go a step further and create areas of permanent wild grassland.
In the last three years, the number of people not mowing their lawn in May has trebled.
But a Plantlife survey of 2,000 gardeners revealed that the majority mowed their lawns once a fortnight.
The charity’s survey showed that mowing less than this resulted in an increase in the pollen count, with increases in daises, germander, speedwell and creeping buttercup. And by stopping mowing in July as well, there was an increase in white clover, selfheal and bird’s foot trefoil.
All of these plants, and many others, can can be seen from late May in LettsSafari’s Devon Capability Brown Gardens and at Devon Sculpture Park.
Tell us what you are doing about ‘No Mow May’. Leave a comment.
In 2021, participants in ‘No Mow May’ reported over 250 plant species including wild strawberry and wild garlic, as well as rarities such as adders’-tongue fern, meadow saxifrage, snake’s-head fritillary, eyebright, and various orchids including the declining man orchid, green-winged orchid, southern and northern marsh orchid, and bee orchid.
The facts make it clear why we should mow less. According to a report in the journal Biological Conservation, 97% of British wildflower meadows have disappeared since the 1930’s. A study published in the journal Nature Communications shows that many British pollinating insects are in decline, with rarer species, such as the red-shanked carder bee, struggling.
Between 1980 and 2013, every square kilometre in the UK lost an average of 11 species of bee and hoverfly.
And now we have proof that mowing less works. Following the launch of No Mow May in 2019, figures show that if you mow less, the pollen count on your lawn can skyrocket.
The charity’s experiment asked people to leave their mowers in the shed for May and count the flower species that subsequently popped up in a one-square-metre patch of their lawn. The results speak for themselves: changing the way we mow can lead to a tenfold increase in the amount of nectar available to bees and other pollinators.
“The average square-metre patch of lawn surveyed after the experiment produced enough nectar to support almost four honey bees per day.”
The ‘No Mow May’ campaign seems to be building momentum. The charity says the survey's results show a shift towards less mowing and wilder gardens, with 78.8% of the 2,157 participants choosing not to mow their lawns for a month before the survey last year, compared to 33.6% of those who took part in 2019.
With such a large number of people adopting ‘No Mow May’ how could you not? Start today: Kick back, ditch the lawnmower and save an insect! What have you got to lose?
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