Health & WellbeingOval EcologyOval RegenerationWellness Garden

No Mow May: A Closer Look at Our Approach

It’s no secret that we value the opinions and concerns of our esteemed residents. Lately, we’ve received several inquiries about our decision not to participate in No Mow May. We appreciate your curiosity and are excited to shed light on the reasons behind our carefully considered policy. Contrary to popular belief, the benefits of this initiative for the environment are not as straightforward as they may initially seem. So, let us take this opportunity to delve into the intricacies of our approach and explain why we believe it’s the right one.

At first glance, some may argue that uncut lawns create a sense of neglect and disorder. We understand the importance of maintaining a pristine appearance, particularly when it comes to areas like The Oval bandstand & Lawns, which are constantly in the public eye. Our commitment to providing a well-kept park is essential, as it discourages potential issues such as dog mess and littering, ensuring a clean and inviting atmosphere for all to enjoy.

You see, our lawned area serves as a vital public amenity space, which in its early days hosted cricket matches (hence its name) and other sporting events. It’s a cherished gathering place where families and children engage in various ball games, fly kites, and revel in the great outdoors. However, if the grass were left to grow unchecked, especially at this time of year, these wholesome activities would be significantly hindered. Imagine a lush carpet of grass that grows so long, it becomes impractical to utilise the lawns for our favorite pastimes. We simply cannot let that happen!

Moreover, we must remember that lawns are not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Allowing grass to grow excessively long before suddenly mowing it can shock the grass, weakening its roots and leaving it vulnerable to insects and diseases. Unwanted pests like mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks thrive in tall grass, which could become a prevalent issue in a highly populated residential area. Imagine the challenges of cleanup when our lawn reaches a foot in height, especially after a wet spring. The base of the grass would almost certainly lose its vibrant green, and the stress caused by mowing could result in patches of browned-out areas.

Last summer, we conducted a trial of the No Mow May concept on small designated sections of our lawn. To our dismay, our trusty ride-on lawnmower proved unable to tackle the task after a month of growth. It took tremendous effort, perseverance, and repetitive mowing and raking to restore order. Unfortunately, we also encountered damage in some areas, as the grass had grown so long that it flopped over, shading itself and causing unsightly dead spots. Clearly, this approach had its drawbacks.

Rest assured, our mowing schedule has been meticulously planned with biodiversity in mind. We recognise that weekly mowing can harm the variety of life that thrives in our lawns, as it removes precious weed flowers and limits the number of pollinators they attract. Interestingly, lawns mowed every two weeks attract significantly more pollinators, thanks to the abundance of weed flowers. Yet, fascinatingly, evidence suggests that lawns mowed every three or four weeks have fewer pollinators, as the longer grass impedes their access to the flowers. Considering this, we have decided on a bi-weekly mowing schedule during the vigorous spring growing season, striking a balance that benefits both our lawns and the vibrant ecosystem they support.

While we wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of the No Mow May movement, we must acknowledge that it poses challenges for our expansive four-acre lawns. We believe that its impact falls short of the long-term solution we envision. Instead, we aspire to create permanent wildflower meadows that will nourish bees throughout the summer, establish gardens abundant with native plants, and hopefully, in time, construct a rain garden to foster enduring habitats for pollinators and wildlife, all while providing a sustainable and diverse source of pollen.

The attention garnered by No Mow May has brought a heightened focus on our invaluable pollinators—an issue we all should care deeply about. Our mission is to encourage impactful, long-term solutions that truly make a difference, rather than fleeting gestures that last merely a month. One of the most crucial steps we can take to safeguard our pollinators is to abstain from using harmful pesticides or herbicides. We take immense pride in confirming that, at The Oval Bandstand & Lawns, we adamantly refrain from employing these chemicals. Leading by example, we urge everyone to join us in the endeavor to cease pesticide and herbicide usage. Together, we can create a positive change in our own health, the well-being of our cherished pollinators, and ultimately, Mother Earth herself.

So, let us cherish the beauty of our meticulously maintained lawns, appreciating the delicate balance we’ve struck between aesthetics and ecological harmony. As you stroll through The Oval bandstand & Lawns, take a moment to revel in the vibrant greenery, knowing that our thoughtful approach nurtures a thriving ecosystem.