STOKE ENVIRONMENT GROUP
Stoke St Gregory, Somerset, England
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No Mow May is Plantlife’s annual campaign calling all garden owners and green space managers not to mow during May – liberating your lawns and providing a space for nature. We’ve lost nearly 97% of flower rich meadows since the 1970’s and with them gone so is vital food needed by pollinators, like bees and butterflies. See their web site HERE
A healthy lawn with some long grass and wildflowers benefits wildlife, tackles pollution and can even lock away carbon below ground – and best of all, to reap these benefits all you have to do is not mow your lawn in May! With over 20 million gardens in the UK, even the smallest grassy patches add up to a significant proportion of our land which, if managed properly, can deliver enormous gains for nature, communities and the climate. This is why Plantlife is calling for people to get involved with #NoMowMay and let wild plants get a head start on the summer.
Whether or not you are up for No Mow May, and personally I do not like kneeling in long wet grass to weed the veg beds, there are plenty of other things you can do with your grassy areas. See more HERE
The Wilder Gardening group (originally the Gardening for Wildlife group) was formed to provide support for those already enjoying wildlife gardening as well as to encourage others. They produce a newsletter and run occasional events for group members.
But back to your lawn - mow in May or not? ‘Wildabout Gardens’ has produced a useful little booklet about what we can do with our own lawns, however often we mow. It's available HERE
One of our local gardens open to the public has been rethinking its own approach to a ‘tidy garden’ based largely on the lack of staff during lockdown. Hestercome Gardens has been reviewing its approach to wildlife and their web site is available HERE Below is a quote from their web site:
“last year has made me totally rethink the management of the gardens and made us realise what a position of power we were in to help wildlife. We had more seed heads from less maintenance, which meant there was more to feed on. We had goldfinches nesting in the roses in the formal garden because they had such a great food source nearby. We saw more butterflies, and the scarlet tiger moth, a striking red and black day flying moth, increased its numbers as we had left more green alkanet which is its caterpillars food source. We had no aphid problems as nature had its own soldiers here to deal with that. We had more slow worms because we weren’t being as tidy as normal so they had better habitats. We even saw stoats playing in the garden. The food source available to our rare Lesser Horseshoe Bats must have increased dramatically.”
And finally . . . For over 20 years Somerset Environmental Records Centre (SERC) has been the main centre holding data on wildlife sightings, types of environments and geological information for Somerset. There are a lot of records to be kept. If you would like to get involved check out their web site HERE