We love green….but variety is the spice of life
8th Mar 2021
The fantastic thing about gardens is that no matter the size, it’s possible to have variety. Even a small terrace or balcony can feature layers of colour, texture and functionality to make a display that’s great to look at, that smells beautiful, attracts wildlife, even cook with!
We love lawns, of course, for their multitude of benefits. In addition to being the perfect surface for relaxation, play and sport, they capture rainfall which reduces run-off and replenishes aquifers, they also produce oxygen, absorb CO2, filter and break down pollutants, and cool the environment in hot weather.
Many customers ask our lawn care experts about other areas of their garden, and a popular topic right now is wild flower areas. These can be sown or planted in pots, beds and other strips of land, or in a corners of your lawn, creating a ‘mini meadow‘ that over time will attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators, and birds too.
Ian Stephens from Lawn Master Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire has a passion for horticulture, the environment and wildlife. He offers this advice;
- Before buying plants or seeds, research the best mix that would be ideal for where you are. Which direction is the area facing, what is the soil type, is it free draining, is it shaded or open, how tall or short would you like your planting to be?
- Think about structure as well. Plants such as teasel (pictured) are great for goldfinches to feed on, and look great if left standing.
- Wild flowers generally don’t like overly enriched/fertilised soil, which is different to a normal lawn. If you want to set aside some lawn, ask your lawn care operative to avoid treating it.
- The new mix won’t like grass to be too ‘strong’. Cut it short and give it a really good rake over more than once to weaken the grass.
- Wild flowers establish a lot slower than grass seed, so you’ll need to be patient. Don’t expect an instant transformation; it takes time for a meadow area to become established. Not everything will start flowering in the first year. You can buy plants instead of seed for a more instant wild flower area.
- A good plant to grow in to an existing area of lawn is ‘Yellow rattle’. This is semi-parasitic on grass, which will help weaken the grass as well.
- Once flowers have finished flowering don’t cut the area too soon. The plants need a good period for any seeds to fully ripen.
- When you do eventually cut it, do so with shears, or a strimmer if it is a big area. Leave the cuttings on the ground for a week or two so the seeds can fall to the ground. If you cut it with a mower you will just be removing any seeds that have developed.
With spring in the air your garden will be coming to life. To get your lawn ready for the warmer months ahead, find your local lawn expert and let’s get growing!