The growing and gardening season is upon us – so how can we be as nature-friendly as possible this year? A brilliant tool on the RSPB website asks just 3 questions and produces your own personal plan for helping nature where you live. Try it out – and let us know how you get on!
The RSPB recommends mowing less to encourage wildlife, with one suggestion being to mow in late March or early April, and not again until late autumn.
Spring 2020 lockdown saw council mowers and strimmers kept in storage across Wales, with the effect that birds, bees, butterflies and insects appeared in areas of long grass and wildflower that aren’t normally there. The charity Plantlife’s campaign “Every Flower Counts” urged people to adopt “No Mow May” and leave their lawns long during this important month for pollinators. The National Trust added to the call, suggesting that people create a “Scaremow”.
On May 26th 2020 – World Bee Day – Monmouth was named as the world’s first Bee Town. A 2019 campaign called “Nature Isn’t Neat” raised awareness of the importance of wild grasses and prolific wildflowers (aka weeds!) for pollinators and the wider ecosystem. Monmouth town council, Monmouthshire county council and international charity Bees for Development, with funding from Welsh government and the EU, successfully educated and encouraged local residents to change their approach to gardening and their expectations of public spaces, leading to the town’s new bee-friendly status.
On May 29th 2020, Caerphilly council announced that grass cutting would be kept to a minimum, with cutting only occurring where necessary for road safety and only 1m from the kerb. The news was welcomed by residents who had been upset about an announcement in late March that the council was keen to resume cutting. On the same day, Denbighshire council announced dramatic changes to their grass cutting regimes, with Plantlife welcoming their approach. 21 “bee friendly” sites were earmarked for special signage to reassure onlookers that the growth is deliberate.
Similar signs are suggested by the movement www.wearetheark.org. Areas left to grow naturally as “Acts of Restorative Kindness” are often decried by neighbours as messy and unkempt; a small sign stating the purpose of the site can help overcome any embarrassment about embracing nature-friendly gardening.
THINGS YOU CAN DO to address the ecological emergency of pollinator decline:
- Encourage neighbours and family members to join you in a No Mow May.
- Plant some pollinator-friendly, nectar-rich, flowers. Cornflowers, alyssum, nasturtiums and Californian poppies are all popular with bees and other helpful insects, maturing from seed to flower in 60-70 days.
- Contact Friends of the Earth for a great Bee Saver Kit in return for a minimum donation of just £5, including seeds, a garden planner, a bee spotter guide and other goodies.
- Get your personal plan of 6 nature-helping activities from RSPB.
- Join our mailing list below for news and updates on how we are supporting bees and biodiversity here in Swansea.