Did you know it’s No Mow May this month?
Gardeners across the UK have been allowing their lawnmowers to gather dust throughout May as they leave their lawns to grow and encourage a safe haven for native plants and wildlife.
The campaign, organised by Plantlife asks gardeners to lock up their lawnmowers this month and let the flowers in the lawn bloom. On Bank Holiday Weekend, the nationwide ‘Every Flower Counts’ survey will discover how many bees the UK’s lawns can feed.
The No Mow May campaign has been backed by individuals, councils who have left their verges to nature and municipal and estate gardens.
Rob Peers, Head Greenkeeper at Hever Castle Golf Club is a devotee of leaving the hedgerows and verges to nature and currently leaves 30% of the golf course to naturalise. Rob says “we have an east-west pathway that runs the entire width of the Golf course and we are playing our part in providing vital growing space for indigenous plants to grow here. Enhancing the hedgerow offers not only safer and earlier nesting sites for our hedge hopping birds but in allowing the grasses to grow, we are providing nesting material and insect larvae for the chicks to feed on.”
And while the course itself has remained mown, Rob and his team have been keen to leave the hedge verges to nature throughout No Mow May, Rob explains: “there’s an ever-increasing pressure on our flora and fauna in this modern age of expectation of manicured uniformity within the golf industry – it’s become even more important to us at Hever Castle Golf Club to provide pockets of safe haven for plants and wildlife to thrive.”
Plants including Rabelera holostea (Greater Stitchwort), the native bluebell Hyancinthoides non-scripta, Taxacum officinale, the common dandelion, and cow parsley with their tall stems and florets of white flowers, all proliferate.
Over the last couple of years, Rob and his team have also introduced pictorial flower meadows to the Golf Club and beside the Lake at Anne Boleyn’s childhood home of Hever Castle. These floral meadows have sparked a conversation among visitors to the Castle who are keen to incorporate meadows in their home gardens. These areas were once mown by the gardening team, and while there is a deal of maintenance with pictorial meadows, it’s different from the constant mowing needed from April through to November, it also provides essential nectar collecting sites for the pollinators at the famous Castle in Edenbridge.
The long grasses around Lake Walk on the Estate provide a wonderful breeding ground for insects, in turn delivering food for the many and varied bird populations who live on or around the lake at Hever. Increasing the biodiversity of flora and fauna is central to Hever’s sustainability – something that the wider team is also celebrating this month too.
Lake Walk and Hever Castle is the perfect location to get involved and undertake the Great British Wildlife Hunt and there is something for all ages and levels.
If you have missed #NoMowMay you can join in the campaign for #LetItBloomJune and #KneeHighJuly.