A interesting report from Andrew on a trial at National Botanic Garden of Wales:
“On the fungus walk last week at the NBGW, we all walked round the main entrance of Principality House. One of the lawns outside it has been mown in a way I’ve not seen before, with concentric rings of short mown lawn alternating with un-mown rings of longer grass containing all sorts of meadow plants.
I asked Bruce Langridge about it, and he said it was something they were trying out for the first time on this lawn. I thought it looked very interesting, and wondered if it might be one way of trying to find a compromise that would satisfy people at the two opposite ends of the spectrum of opinion on how areas of amenity grassland should be managed – (i) it should be a short-mown lawn which is tidy, and (ii) it should be just mown at the end of the season like a hay meadow.
I get the impression sometimes that one of the objections to leaving areas of grass uncut is that it shows that nobody has done any work to maintain it, that the council tax has been paid so why hasn’t the work been done? Would evidence of gardening work having been done go some way to satisfying those concerns? I think the concentric rings of mown and unmown grass here is much more imaginative than just mowing a rectangle in one half and leaving the other half. You can still walk around on the short lawn grass even when it’s wet without needing your wellies, but half the area of the lawn is species rich and good for not only the plants that inhabit it, but all sorts of invertebrates, birds and small mammals, that you’d find in meadow grassland. And because you can walk around easily on the mown paths, you can have a close look at what’s in the rings of longer grass as you go.
Does anyone else think this might be an idea to suggest to local authorities? Especially if appropriate signage went with it to explain why long grass, (with other species growing in it, mown and taken away at the end of the season) isn’t untidiness, it’s a rare and important habitat for of wildlife. The short-mown rings would reassure people that the area hadn’t just been forgotten about.”