From Lawn to Meadow

‘No Mow May‘ was an initiative by Plantlife, encouraging people across the UK to reduce their mowing frequency to encourage wildflower growth and nectar production in their gardens.

A citizen science survey revealed that lawns cut just once a month had the highest production of flowers and nectar, whilst areas that were kept completely unmown grew the widest variety of wildflowers. This is more proof that an unmowed lawn is fantastic for wildlife. You can read more about the findings of this research and the background behind the No Mow May regime on the Plantlife website.

One resident of Nether Whitacre, Debra Starkey, has been letting part of her garden go to meadow over lockdown and has kindly shared the results with us. Read about Debra’s experience and findings of growing a wildflower meadow below.

Nature has always been important to me but I knew it would play a more crucial part during lockdown. It has given my comfort and hope at this anxious time. The thing I’ve noticed the most, as I’m sure others have, is the peace and quiet. No planes or road noise to drown out the birdsong, and wildlife has prospered as a consequence.

At the start of lockdown I made the decision to let part of the garden go to meadow. I knew it would help my anxiety over this crisis, if I could walk around the meadow watching it change and looking for wildlife and photographing it. It’s not a huge area, around 30m x 30m, but I have been rewarded already! The sight of a kestrel hovering over it for about 30 seconds, coming down a few feet then dropping to the ground was amazing. What a moment!

The meadow is still mainly grass with a few wildflowers but is filled with butterflies and day flying moths. I’ve also had a common spotted orchid growing in the meadow which was special too. There were 20+ black-headed gulls circling the meadow for about 15 minutes, presumably catching insects, but it looked like a choreographed dance. It was a delight to see.”

– Debra Starkey
Debra’s wildflower meadow, June 2020

Many thanks to Debra for sharing a wonderful story with us.

If you are inspired to start your own wildflower patch in your garden, it’s as easy as stopping mowing! You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to wildlife.

If you would like to share your own wildlife story with us, please send an email to enquiries@tamevalleywetlands.co.uk. We’d love to read them.