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British gardeners encouraged to take part in No Mow May

The charity Plantlife is asking Brits to stop mowing their lawns for one month in order give blooming spring wildlife a much needed boost.

Over the next few weeks, you may notice your neighbour’s garden is looking a little unkept as thousands of people across the UK partake in No Mow May.

The month-long event was first started in 2019 by the charity Plantlife and has boomed in popularity ever since. The goal is to leave gardens to grow freely for 30 days to give local plants and animals species a better opportunity to flourish.

Urban development in the UK has fragmented natural habitats, forcing wild plants and animals into isolated pockets. This distance makes it more difficult for some species to bounce back from natural events like drought, pests, or disease.

As gardens grow wildly during No Mow May, dormant wildflowers reappear, providing extra food resources for pollinators and homes for other insects. These untamed grassy areas act as ‘stepping stones’ for the pollinators, providing flowers to rest or feed on, and bridging the gap between large green spaces.

Last year’s No Mow May participants reported over 250 plant varieties in their gardens, including rare species like orchids, meadow saxifrage, and eyebright. Others found tasty treats like wild strawberry and wild garlic growing amongst the grass.

Participants counted over 465,000 flowers and also reported seeing over 100 different insect species, including 25 kinds of moths and butterflies and 24 types of bees.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of insects, conservationists called these sightings encouraging, as the UK has seen 41 percent of its natural species listed as ‘in decline’ since the 1970s, with 15 percent at risk for extinction.

In one area of south London, local officials hope to double the amount of grass left to grow this year, as they allow Wandsworth’s public parks, sports pitches, road verges, and cemetery gardens to grow wild.

If seeing your back garden teeming with weeds, long grass, and insects sounds like a nightmare, you may want to simply cut a neat path through or grow out only one small section of a garden.

Even the slightest efforts can have a big impact, for example – only eight dandelions are needed to produce enough nectar to fuel an adult bee as it carries out its mission to pollinate. A 100 square metre area could fuel up to six!

Once the month-long event is finaly over, Plantlife encourages people to take part in its Every Flower Counts survey to help construct a picture of what plants and animals have been found in participants’ lawns.

So if you’re looking for a sign to abandon one of your house chores for a few weeks, this is it! Those interested in taking part can sign up at Plantlife’s website.


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