No Mow May
POSTED ON May 12, 2023 BY James Garry
No Mow May scheme promotes letting wild plants thrive to provide nectar for insects
Since the 1930s, 97% of British wildflower meadows have vanished; we’ve lost dozens of species of bee and hoverfly since 1980 due to insecticides (like those sprayed on domestic lawns), habitat loss and general biodiversity decline. Plantlife, the charity behind No Mow May, claims that putting the mower away can lead to an active reversal of this: a tenfold increase in bees thanks to the growth of nectar-rich plants such as white clover, daisy and selfheal can put on in a matter of weeks.
First launched in 2019 by the botanical charity Plantlife, No Mow May is a campaign that encourages gardeners to not mow their lawn during the month of May, in order to let wildflowers bloom and provide a nectar feast for pollinators such as honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees, butterflies and moths, and beetles. The advantages are many and varied:
- The resulting weeds and wildflowers are a valuable source of nectar for our bees and butterflies.
- The longer grass provides welcome cover for foraging wildlife such as birds and hedgehogs, as well as a wide variety of insects to snack on;
- A healthy lawn with long grass and wildflowers can help in the fight against climate change by absorbing pollution and locking carbon away in the soil.
To gain the benefits gardeners don’t have to completely stop mowing in May, particularly where these a need to have shorter grass in places. The aim of No Mow May campaign is to encourage people to change up their mowing regime – mowing less and leaving patches of long grass in places if possible.
Since the 1930s, 97% of British wildflower meadows have vanished; we’ve lost dozens of species of bee and hoverfly since 1980 due to insecticides (like those sprayed on domestic lawns), habitat loss and general biodiversity decline. Plantlife claims that putting the mower away can lead to an active reversal of this: a tenfold increase in bees thanks to the growth of nectar-rich plants such as white clover, daisy and selfheal can put on in a matter of weeks.
Here in Scotland, with mounting evidence that Scotland continues to experience dramatic declines in biodiversity, the Scottish Government has set out an ambitious new strategy to halt biodiversity loss by 2030 and reverse it with large-scale restoration by 2045.
Most recently, the Scottish Parliament has approved the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) which sets out a plan for Scotland to create sustainable, liveable, and productive places to improve people’s lives. NPF4 will guide planning decisions and development in Scotland for the next decade and has an ambition for biodiversity to be enhanced and better connected through nature networks.
In Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Living Landscape project has demonstrated that a partnership approach to large scale ecosystem restoration is an effective way for protecting nature whilst engaging with communities. But everyone can play a part in tackling the Biodiversity Crisis. Individual gardeners, local council, private and public sector institutions have all joined the No Mow May movement because even the smallest grassy patches add up to a significant proportion of land which, if managed properly, can deliver enormous gains for nature, communities and the climate.