No Mow May
Throughout May, we are being encouraged not to mow our lawns in a campaign by Plantlife. The idea of the campaign is to avoid mowing the lawn throughout May and then count how many flowers are there.
Caley Vice-President Jasmin Cann has some advice for those who are looking, perhaps, to spend less time working on the lawn and more time enjoying the garden. Many of us dream of a lush green lawn but in reality, it can be hard work to achieve and maintain and can end up looking a bit woebegone. There is a living alternative to grass that is tough, comes in a variety of colours and doesn’t require any mowing. It is, of course, MOSS. So, read on and find out what Jasmin has to say.
Many town gardens are shady and mossy. Many country gardens are open, damp and mossy. We live in a climate that tends to encourage moss. So why not embrace the moss and stop worrying about it not being grass. This will leave you time to concentrate on the bits surrounding the lawn, the flowers, foliage shapes, shrubs, winter bark colour and so on.
Moss starts to grow when the subsoil and drainage is poor, where there are surface tree roots and where there has been compaction. Most of the marketed preparations available will only give temporary relief and the best way to have any hope of a good lawn is to spray out or lift out your existing turf, de-compact the subsoil, add drainage if necessary, add new topsoil and sow or turf it. If you don’t believe how much hard work the perfect lawn actually takes, have a chat with the groundsman at you local bowling club (after the lockdown restrictions are lifted of course) and see how much time he spends on his greens each week.
You may have an open area, which is mainly lawn and a shady area that is mainly moss. Why not leave it like that? Your moss will give you hours of pleasure and contemplation and save you hours of time and money. In the grassy area, mow a meandering path through it and leave the rest to grow longer, effectively giving you a wildflower meadow. You will be amazed at the flowers that will grow. You can plant areas of snowdrops and dwarf narcissi in the longer grass to give interest from early spring, and plant small plug plants of wildflowers to augment what will grow naturally. Plugs are more effective than seed, which will find it difficult to germinate with the competition from your existing grass.
These meadow areas need only be cut once, in late Autumn, so why not give it a go and spend more time enjoying your garden and less time mowing the lawn. It will also be a huge benefit to the wildlife in your garden, providing vital nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects which are vital to our crops.