This year we have been experimenting with how we manage the grass in the Community Orchard and Wildflower Meadow.
This is a work in progress and our maintenance plans are likely to change as we decide on what will work best for us.
This year we cut the grass at the end of Spring and have left it long for the whole summer. It will be cut again in the middle of September.
There are many benefits to leaving the grass longer during the summer which will be explained below.
We hope that a slight shift in perspective will help in understanding that long lawns are not messy and unkempt, but a haven for wild life and essential to combatting climate change.
We support Stirling's Alive with Nature plan and have commented on the proposal here.
Long grass encourages wild flowers to grow.
The soil in Riverside is very fertile and this is a problem for many wildflower species who like less nutritious soil to thrive. Allowing the grass to grow longer decreases the fertility of the soil and allow more species to thrive.
In addition, keeping the grass long allows other more scarce flowers, such as orchids, to flourish. A lovely purple orchid was spotted in our orchard this year.
Having a varied food source in your grassy areas encourages a range of pollinators to visit - including butterflies, bees and birds.
Long grass improves the habitat for many mini-beasts
Longer grass is a perfect shelter and breeding place for many invertebrates that thrive in the darker and damper areas of our gardens.
Mini beasts such as spiders, the meadow brown butterflies, and moth caterpillars, use the longer parts of the grass to spin webs, lay eggs and roost in.
These creatures are all vital for a thriving ecosystem and provide and essential food source for many other creatures, including birds and hedgehogs.
Long grass and wildflowers are a great food source for birds, bees and butterflies
Having a variety of grasses and wildflowers give a food source to lots of creatures throughout the year, and the seeds at the end of the season are
Long grass is a great home for amphibians
Amphibians need shelter on land and long grass provides and ideal place for them to hide and the min-beast are a perfect food source.
Particularly in dry spells, long grass stops the desiccation of the smaller amphibians,
Less grass cutting also:
saves money on grass cutting
saves our natural resources (fuel)
saves our time - which can be spent on other activities supporting the environment