Gardening guru Monty Don has shared a new tip for maintaining a healthy garden. Before you give your lawnmower its first outing since before winter, it’s worth noting his advice. Don’s comments around mowing the lawn raised some eyebrows, but we’re wondering if he might be right.
It’s bad news if you’ve been planning to get your lawn in perfect condition for spring, as Monty is encouraging us to leave the grass on our lawns well alone. ‘Cutting grass burns lots of fossil fuel,’ he tells Radio Times. The Gardener’s World host said it also ‘makes a filthy noise, and is about the most injurious thing you can do to wildlife.’
‘Whereas letting grass grow, which is, after all, a pretty passive thing to do, is probably the single most effective thing you can do in any garden of any size to encourage particularly insect life, but also small mammals, invertebrates, reptiles,' he continues.
While he advocates letting nature do its thing, Monty admits that he enjoys walking on a lawn with bare feet as much ‘as the next person.' But he argued that 'making a lawn that is pure grass without any foreign invading plants in there, making sure it's stripy and neat' is a male obsession.
He suggested meticulous care taken over lawns is linked with 'controlling rather than embracing'. We can see where he’s coming from. Welcoming a variety of plants to grow in our back gardens could be a way to create interest as well as giving wildlife a chance to thrive.
A compromise could be made in larger gardens by creating a small area dedicated to the cultivation of habitats for wildlife, where plants can grow freely. This way a neatly mown area for entertaining in the summer can be enjoyed, while leaving some of the space to grow naturally.
Similarly, Alan Titchmarsh recently shared the garden idea of making a feature of a mown path of grass, cutting through longer grass to create an enchanting feature. Perhaps 2021 will see a leaning towards working with nature rather than against it when it comes to our lawns.
'People are noticing that it's a bit more flooded or it's a bit warmer, or the little flower whose name you don't know is flowering earlier than you remember it did five years ago,' Monty said.
'The net effect of that is to say, yes, this is happening in my life, on my doorstep, and in itself that's not a big deal - but that's the point,' he continued.
'It's all these billions of not-big-deals that are making up the biggest deal that's ever faced mankind.'