My Mini Meadow

Team Wilder member, Janette Stroud, from the Isle of Wight, stopped mowing her lawn last Summer. Within weeks, she found her garden was teaming with insects and a higher diversity of plants.

How to give up mowing and gain a meadow

Last year I decided to give up mowing the lawn at the end of May in response to various sources encouraging people to give wildlife a chance. By the end of June, I had a lovely mini meadow where my sterile lawn used to be!

I began to get excited when I started counting the species of flowers and grasses, not to mention insects. I don't have enough knowledge to identify everything, so I invited Sue Blackwell, from the Natural History and Archaeological Society (a group to which I also belong), to visit. We both enjoyed making a growing list of the species we identified.

Here's what we found: White clover, red clover, daisy, dandelion, ribwort plantain, scarlet pimpernel, common mallow, black medick, spotted medick, red valerian, common sorrel, common mouse-ear, petty spurge, common cat's-ear, smooth sow thistle, purple and pink toad flax, smooth hawksbeard, common ragwort, field forget-me-not, dove’s foot cranesbill, Canadian fleabane, thyme leaved-speedwell, creeping buttercup, procumbent yellow sorrel.

Last, but not at all least, was knotted hedge parsley which Sue asked me to report to the society as it was rare. A total of 26 species from not mowing at all! Doubly rewarding.

And here are the grasses we found: Timothy, perennial rye grass, cocksfoot, meadow fescue, wall barley, Yorkshire fog, common bent, and smooth brome.

34 species of plants in all.

Butterfly in Jan Stroud's Wildlife Meadow

© Janette Stroud

In addition I have seen Meadow Brown and Painted Lady butterfly, two species of hover fly, a ladybird, common woodlice, ant nests, Common ground hopper (I think), a common carder bee, many buff tailed bumble bees and a large bumblebee which I haven't identified.

That's 10 insects and 1 crustacean.

My meadow brought a new dimension into my life. In the middle of October I mowed the lawn back again. This replicates old farming methods of cutting hay and then grazing livestock. It accommodates the life cycles of wildlife. If the neighbours don't understand - don't worry. The wildlife will thank you if it could. I hope this might persuade some of you to try your own experiment and that you also get some pleasure from the results.

I shall be doing the same next year.

Janette Stroud

Isle of Wight

Wilder Future team walking into sunset

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