"Never ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself" said Eleanor Roosevelt and with that advice in mind, I have decided to take Plantlife's Say No to the Mow challenge by making a No-Mow Zone in my own back garden.
For those who have not heard of it, Say No to the Mow is a bit like a botanical Movember: both involve allowing a hirsute patch to flourish where normally you'd keep it cropped short. But instead of the hair on your upper lip, Plantlife is asking you to spare a small "No-Mow Zone" of lawn from your mower's blades this summer. Then as it begins to flourish, you can download a free ID sheet featuring fourteen key wild flowers and enter which ones you spot online. The results will form a blooming great map of the UK, showing what’s in flower and when.
But first things first: Where should I put my No-Mow Zone? Plantlife botanist (and passionate gardener) Dr Trevor Dines suggested choosing a spot away from the beds.
The grass here has not been mowed since last autumn. As a rule of thumb, the longer its been since you last mowed your patch the more likely you'll get wildflowers. March is a key cut-off month as plants are beginning to sprout for the spring, so any mowing that occurs later could stop some in their tracks.
Now I need to mark it out. Here's what I'll need:
There's no limit to the size or shape of your No-Mow Zone. You could make it the entire lawn or spell out your name. We say the ideal size for a No-Mow Zone is 2m squared, but as I've only a small garden I'm opting for 1m x 1m. Using the tape measure I place a peg at each corner:
With the pegs in place I then apply some string to keep that hungry mower at bay...
A finishing touch: my No-Mow Zone security guard. Would you mess with a gnome like this?
And there it is! Ready to flourish.
Next stop downloading my free ID sheet and adding what pops up to the online map which of the wildflowers pop up.
Joining me and my gnome in Saying No to Mow? We'd love to hear how you're getting on. Share your stories, sightings and photos with us on Twitter adding #saynomow.