No Mow May at the Horniman

We are taking part in No Mow May, a nationwide initiative to let our green spaces grow and flourish, rather than cutting them back.

You may have noticed some areas around the Gardens with longer grass recently.

Helping wildlife

Not only does letting grass and flowers grow look beautiful, it provides food and homes for all sorts of wildlife.

Since the 1930s we have lost nearly 7.5 million acres of green spaces, and butterfly numbers down by 50% since 1976.

Pollinators need to feed from pollinating plants now more than ever.

When we leave grass to grow we see a more diverse range of flowers bloom. The increase in these nectar rich plants gives nature a boost. Allowing these flowers to bloom also means more carbon is being stored – flower rich grasslands store 30% more carbon than flowerless grasslands (opens as PDF).

Longer grass also means we can use less water. A longer grass blade will shade the ground underneath it, keeping it cooler. This means it won’t dry out as quickly as it would if the grass was short – so less watering!

Mowhican style

While it is good to let grass grow as long as possible, it’s also good to have shorter patches. You could cut some areas of your lawn once a month, and leave other areas longer, in a ‘mowhican’ style.

This gives ‘short-grass’ plants like daisies and white clover the chance to flower profusely, boosting nectar production.

Areas of longer, unmown grass complement shorter grass as they welcome a wider range of flowers, including nectar-rich plants like oxeye daisy, field scabious and knapweed.

Good for us too

Not only is keeping the grass longer good for our pollinator pals, it’s good for us.

Being outside, and around greenery has been proven to calm us down, lower our blood pressure and make us happier.

Plus, it does mean that you don’t have to dig out the lawnmower…

Why May?

May is when the soil is warm enough for grass to start growing. It’s also the time of the year when we might typically be starting to ‘prep’ our gardens for summer – doing jobs like cutting the grass. It is also a crucial time for many flowering plants, when they are getting a firm foothold.

Mowing your lawn less frequently can provide enough nectar sugar for ten times the amount of pollinators.

Want to take part? Simply don’t use your lawnmower this month, and let the grass grow!

Find out more at Plantlife.