Sometimes, we can get a little obsessed with keeping our grass nice and short in the garden. However, we couldn’t be any further from what is best for the wildlife that lives in and around the garden.
Now we are not saying that you need to turn your garden into a wilderness (although that would be amazing). it is simply not practical from a ‘using your garden’ point of view. And depending on the size of your garden, it may have an impact on what you are able to do in the first place.
Why let grass grow?
Whilst long grass may not look ascetically pleasing, it does allow for a whole world of insects to live in your own back garden. And whilst creepy crawlies may not be top of your list for sharing your garden with, many other animals will appreciate their existence, they are key to a healthy garden.
Where should you let the grass grow?
If you are thinking about letting an area in your garden go wild to attract the wildlife, you need to make sure that it is in an area that won’t be trampled on. Perhaps an area in the corner of the garden would be best suited to experimenting with growing your grass. No matter what the area that you are looking to grow, even a small space will be greatly appreciated by the wildlife in your garden.
How big shall I may my long grass area?
This is quite a common question that is asked. The answer is, any space that you can afford. Often, people believe that you need a huge area to give any benefit to wildlife but the truth is even a patch a couple of metres big will provide a great habitat for insects.
If you are not sure on where to put it or you are planning on letting the grass grow in an area the following year, leave some areas longer when cutting the grass. This will help you shape and visualise what the area could look like the following year. It’s the same principle to use when deciding on new borders but instead this will be a lush green habitat which your garden will love.
If you are able to decide on the area before the autumn, then why not add some extra bulbs into the grass for a truly stunning display in the spring. It will also help you remember not to cut the grass in that area or take away any temptation. A great way to introduce children into your new area.
When should I cut the long grass?
Let the grass grow all throughout spring and then cut it back in the summer, sometime between July and August. As you are growing the grass in spring, why not plant some crocus bulbs in there in Autumn and have a stunning display in the early spring.
What can you expect to attract to the long grass in the garden?
There are a whole of bugs that you can expect to attract to the garden. For example; beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, ladybirds, moths and butterflies. By introducing these into the garden other animals will have a rich source of food, especially bats, birds and hedgehogs.
How can I make long grass interesting for children?
Let’s be honest, if you have a long grass patch in your garden, you are not going to want the childeren to play in it. After all, the idea of having the long grass is so that nature can live in an area where it is undisturbed. So how can you make it interesting for children?
Firstly, no matter how big your area is, you can spend time with you children near the long grass area. Perhaps try to count the different number of insects that you can find. What is the largest insect and are there any tiny ones? Talk to them about the food cycle and how they benefit other animals that are living in the garden and how they can help pollinate plants in the garden.
If you have a large garden, you could always try and make a maze. Whilst this may sound a lot of work, once you have decided on where you want your longer grass, you just need to cut your path with your lawnmower. It needn’t be complex even something simple will have a great effect. You will be amazed at the amount of games a child’s imagination will come up with even with the simplest of patterns.
If you are looking for other ideas on how to encourage wildlife into the garden, check out our other post How To Encourage Wildlife Into The Garden