It might be tempting to cut the grass now that Spring is here, but Metro Mayor Dan Norris is urging residents in the West of England to keep their lawnmower and strimmers in the shed this No Mow May, and to let bee-friendly flowers bloom on lawns instead.
The Metro Mayor wants residents to heed calls to leave lawnmowers alone for a month to boost flowers and the insects that rely on them, including the West's pollinator pals, and to mow less and at different lengths and frequencies through the summer.
He said leaving lawns to get a bit shaggy helps wildflowers to flourish, providing extra food for pollinators in the region and becoming a haven for bees as well as birds, hedgehogs and other West of England wildlife big and small.
Norris was speaking ahead of a visit to Frenchay’s Tuckett Field (this Wednesday 3 May at 2.45pm) to hear how the local Parish Council too are shunning lawnmowers as well as restoring the area to its former glory thanks to a £20,000 grant from his West of England Mayoral Combined Authority.
He said: “Giving the mower a breather for a few extra weeks, and embracing a little more wildness in our gardens, really is so, so important – for our plants, our butterflies and of course, our bee buddies. I’m really pleased more people than ever across the West of England are getting involved this No Mow May, and I encourage everyone in the region to do so. Let’s turn those trimmed green lawns into wildlife havens bursting with colour, and offering much-needed food for our precious pollinators.”
Winterbourne Parish Council are using their Metro Mayor grant to restore a nine-acre field behind the local Frenchay village hall - by planting and re-seeding the field with eight-acres of native wildflowers from Bristol’s Grow Wilder, and they’re even creating an 'infinity pool' wetland area that will enhance and feed into the existing pond on site. The majority of other areas the council manage are also managed with a general “no-mow” approach.
This is all part of a five-year plan to turn the field into a lawnmower-free pollinator’s haven, and one for all the community to use and enjoy by 2028 - ahead of the 100-year anniversary of the local Tuckett family having left the field to the community in 1928.
Since No Mow May, a campaign from the charity Plantlife launched in 2019, hundreds of lawns in the West have been left to sprout. Plantlife says the campaign has more than trebled the number of people leaving their lawns long, and expects big success in 2023.