Cut Less Often
Grass lawns can 'Bee' more exciting with wildflowers to offer food, shelter, and safety and encourage biodiversity. Nowhere in nature would you find neatly manicured grass lawns that are inhospitable to wildlife but here in Johnstown we do have a significant amount. By cutting less often we hope to encourage a change whereby we embrace rewilding in preference to manicured lawns.
May presents an opportunity to relax, enjoy the fine weather, leave the lawnmower alone, and get on with more pressing gardening jobs. If you increase the time between lawn cuts to once every four weeks it encourages the maximum number of lawn flowers to grow.
What Could Grow?
The number of lawn flowers that we have been supressing is actually vast.
The most recognisable of them all are:
Bees love these and with our wet clay soil the white and the red varieties should be abundant in our lawns if you let then grow.
Magnets to big bees, they turn to follow the sun during the day. The tips of their white leaves actually turn pink once they've been pollinated.
With up to 100 florets in each flower, packed with nectar and pollen, this lawn plant is a life saver to the early emerging pollinating insects. It's in the same family as Sunflowers but with every part of this plant being edible and nutritious, its latex can make car tyres, there are herbal health benefits, infact it's so versatile that to call it a weed is an injustice.
Short grass is very unfriendly to biodiversity.
To encourage wildlife leave around 3 to 5 cms of grass length. The aim is to uncover a greater diversity of flowers that may naturally reside in your lawn. By cutting once a month some lawn flowers growing in shorter grass are stimulated into producing more flowers. You might discover you have oxeye daisy, field scabious, knapweed, and bird’s foot trefoil that all offer up nectar sources.
See our native Wildflower Flowering Guide to identify more.
It's not going to be a golf course!
Long grass doesn't need to occupy the entire lawn. Create areas of long grass to the side or even in the middle as a planned feature in you house garden. Perhaps be more adventurous with estate lawns and try one of these:
Easy to keep the grass short for play areas with more frequent use of a lawnmower.
No Mow May is a Challenge
To communicate the idea early in the season, and to see if it can initiate a long-term change, this initiative proposed to us by the Wild About Navan environmental group in 2021, is something we encourage residents and estate groups to test out.
We're delighted to see Meath County Council embrace the initiative with street posters advertising their campaign for 'Don't Mow Yet' which coincided with 'No Mow May' but obviously continued through to August.
What Actually Grew?
We visited some of the lawns participating in No Mow May 2022 to discover what lawn flowers we could uncover towards the end of the month.
May 27th, Bailis Downs Lawn.
We're delighted to support MCC initiative for 'Don't Mow Yet'. The Johnstown sites include the road verges of South Metges Rd and the main Johnstown roundabout. To illustrate that the area is being managed for wildlife some sections along the road will be cut more regularly to contrast with the 'wilder' areas growing in-between.
The Dandelion display in April turned the roadside yellow with flowers then white with seed heads. Only a few daisies have been seen but no clover or buttercups have yet been sighted.
'No Mow May'
'No Mow May' or 'No €ash to Cut'?
An interesting post on Navan South Facebook Page 27/5 expressed a few social concerns together with some misconceptions about long grass. Here we highlight just a few of the points with our explanations.Click to Read More
Cash saving isn't the reason for Council participation in any of the 'Don't Mow' initiatives - they're trialing more environmentally responsible solutions for every type of public grass lawn, and these will initially cost more.
The 31 days of May is a particularly crucial time for creatures seeking food, shelter, and safety. However, it doesn't end since there are also 11 more months when those creatures need life support!
Individuals will always express a preference for what looks aesthetically 'nice' rather than what is 'healthy'. It really depends on whether we want a future to 'live in' too.
Short-cut lawn grass is a food desert to biodiversity and carries the highest financial cost to people.
For many decades we've been sold products that kill because it has profited billionaire corporations. For a few recent decades, we've been told that we're poisoning our planet. For decades to come, we will struggle to change our ways, and it will be very uncomfortable.
Wildflower seed packets make vibrant, colourful flowering, pollinator-friendly garden displays. Since they are manmade they require anual mainenance to remove highly invasive grasses, require anual cut, reseeding, before autumn clearing of huge volumes of green waste and are therefore not suitable for public verges or lawns. These do not create natural low-maintenance environments even if they contain 100% native plants - we don't live in Connemara where most of our native seeds are collected.
There are a few lawn areas within local estates where money isn't available to regularly cut grass and so we watch with interest to see what solutions residents try.
'Let it Bloom June'
We're specifically interested in grass lawns since Johnstown has an overabundance both for residential gardens and the public areas of estate lawns. Whether the public will embrace the practice of cutting less often to allow lawn flowers to bloom will be interesting.
'Grow High July'
For this months we're interested in discovering any gardens that have gone truly wild and been allowed to flourish on their own.
Sustainable Development Goals
This project has connections with the following categories: