Sunday, 5th Dec 2021

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No Mow May a learning journey

I am sure there are many of you who have been delighted to see that our local councils have extended the No Mow May to suitable verges.

No Mow May aims to protect our declining insect population by creating more favourable conditions for them in our gardens. Sadly they are in catastrophic decline due to changes in farming practices and climate changes. Our gardens can become a haven.

In May 2020, I asked my neighbours if they would agree to the area outside our houses known as the ‘The Mound’ to become a wildlife garden. I was inspired by the No Mow May campaign by Plant life. The area is about 80m long by 5m wide and thankfully they all agreed.

Meantime, I consulted a wildlife gardener and we planted some Buddleia, Juniper, Quince, as well as kidney vetch, Fox and cubs, ox-eyed daisies, knapweed and Bird’s foot Trefoil and let nature do the rest.

It has been a weird year and the weather has been difficult. We did a rough cut in September 2020, leaving some tufts for over wintering butterflies such as Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers and another rough cut in Early April, again leaving some longer grass, collecting the leavings and putting them under the shrubs. As every allotment owner knows, there has been great growth but not much flowering and the mound was the same. In June, we also cut some patches so the grass stayed shorter for the clover and bird’s foot trefoil.

Then the meadow bindweed took off, swamping the grasses and the flowers.  It was disappointing that so few wild flowers were able to flourish. Last week, I continued to hand cut patches and found myself almost eyeball to eyeball with the beauty below; the not so common, Common Blue butterfly.

So not so disappointing after all.

Grainne Rason
Posted on Mon, October 25 2021