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Manicured lawns don’t cut it!

Reading an article in the paper this morning by Naomi Slade stating that manicured lawns no longer cuts it I would be very interested in other peoples views on this.
When we first moved here the lawn was overgrown and many wild flowers took over. It looked wonderful so we left it and just mowed a path through it. Sadly by the end of the summer it all looked a bit sad and we had to strim it down but worse was to come as the ground looked terrible afterwards and took awhile to come back again.
I have come to the conclusion that wild flower lawns look better and more natural in the field environment. The rest of my garden is heavily planted with flowers that attract wildlife so should I feel guilty about the choice I’ve made?
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  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,606
    edited July 2021
    In my opinion, no you shouldn't feel guilty. 
    Over the years, attracting wildlife to gardens has become very important, quite rightly. I have changed from just planting plants that l like, to planting ones that attract wildlife (but l still like).

    My OH likes a lawn that's mown short,with stripes. It's not perfect in spite of his best efforts, but it keeps him happy and it sets off the borders that are buzzing with bees, butterflies, moths, and lurking slugs and snails. Hedgehogs visit at night, and l have had foxes as well.

    Even if you just have a tiny patch of border that attracts bees etc. that is something. It can be tricky sometimes to strike a balance between attracting wildlife and having a garden that you like the look of, but it can be done.
    Our next door neighbour keeps his lawn comparatively short, but it contains a lot of clover (both purple and white), and is covered in bees.

    On this forum alone, we all have different sizes of garden from a window box, through postage stamp size, to several acres,and if they help even one bee, that's a good thing 🐝 :)
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 3,997
    No. You don't have to follow a diktat. It is your garden and will also be influenced to some extent by the style of your house and your street.
    You could compromise by mowing on the highest setting and keeping the edges trimmed. That way you would get to keep daisies, buttercups, clover and other flowers that can withstand grazing/ mowing but it would also be neat and clearly intentional and the grass would not suffer in the same way. If you chose to cut it a little shorter over autumn/ winter, as the flowers fade, there would be a slightly yellower lawn for a week or so, but it wouldn't look that bad.

  • I have come to the conclusion that wild flower lawns look better and more natural in the field environment.... should I feel guilty about the choice I’ve made?
    Of course they do. Wildflower meadows in small domestic gardens is another fad mainly promoted by the more virtuous of the gardening media..it too will pass.
    Never feel guilty about what you do in your own garden.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 4,987
    We did a garden visit recently,  where the garden near the house "bled" into the wider landscape of wildflower meadows.  The owners were at pains to point out that these meadows require as much if not more management than the rest of the grounds. Unless you have space for sheep, and you're cutting it for hay (you put the sheep in after cutting) it's a lot of work,   otherwise  strong grass species,  Dock, nettle,and other weeds will just take over. 
    AB Still learning

  • LynfromSeaLynfromSea Posts: 61
    AnniD said:
    In my opinion, no you shouldn't feel guilty. 
    Over the years, attracting wildlife to gardens has become very important, quite rightly. I have changed from just planting plants that l like, to planting ones that attract wildlife (but l still like).

    My OH likes a lawn that's mown short,with stripes. It's not perfect in spite of his best efforts, but it keeps him happy and it sets off the borders that are buzzing with bees, butterflies, moths, and lurking slugs and snails. Hedgehogs visit at night, and l have had foxes as well.

    Even if you just have a tiny patch of border that attracts bees etc. that is something. It can be tricky sometimes to strike a balance between attracting wildlife and having a garden that you like the look of, but it can be done.
    Our next door neighbour keeps his lawn comparatively short, but it contains a lot of clover (both purple and white), and is covered in bees.

    On this forum alone, we all have different sizes of garden from a window box, through postage stamp size, to several acres,and if they help even one bee, that's a good thing 🐝 :)
    Thank you Anni,
    I am passionate about plants and I’m fortunate that I inherited a beautiful garden from a plantswoman so I have a lot of plants that attract wildlife.
    One plant particularly attracts masses of bees is the Cotoneaster that grows up my wall. My neighbour has bee hives and he told me he can tell by the colour of the honey what bees are pollinating with the most.

  • LynfromSeaLynfromSea Posts: 61
    We did a garden visit recently,  where the garden near the house "bled" into the wider landscape of wildflower meadows.  The owners were at pains to point out that these meadows require as much if not more management than the rest of the grounds. Unless you have space for sheep, and you're cutting it for hay (you put the sheep in after cutting) it's a lot of work,   otherwise  strong grass species,  Dock, nettle,and other weeds will just take over. 
    I can well believe that! There’s not much point in putting all your time and effort into your herbaceous borders if that’s piling up behind you 😂
  • LynfromSeaLynfromSea Posts: 61

    I have come to the conclusion that wild flower lawns look better and more natural in the field environment.... should I feel guilty about the choice I’ve made?
    Of course they do. Wildflower meadows in small domestic gardens is another fad mainly promoted by the more virtuous of the gardening media..it too will pass.
    Never feel guilty about what you do in your own garden.
    I sincerely hope you are right Chris. Sometimes I wonder if people are seeing it as an excuse for not attending their gardens properly 😂
  • LynfromSeaLynfromSea Posts: 61
    No. You don't have to follow a diktat. It is your garden and will also be influenced to some extent by the style of your house and your street.
    You could compromise by mowing on the highest setting and keeping the edges trimmed. That way you would get to keep daisies, buttercups, clover and other flowers that can withstand grazing/ mowing but it would also be neat and clearly intentional and the grass would not suffer in the same way. If you chose to cut it a little shorter over autumn/ winter, as the flowers fade, there would be a slightly yellower lawn for a week or so, but it wouldn't look that bad.
    Our gardener only comes every second week so the lawn never looks immaculately manicured but it always looks lush.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,096
    You can have whatever kind of lawn you like, or no lawn at all. Each to their own. I like my grass cut quite short with tidy edges, to set off the borders which are packed full of flowers and well-used by bees and other insects (including the cabbage white caterpillars on my nasturtiums).
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,245
    Never feel guilty about your garden @LynfromSea.
    I'm also getting tired of people banging on about stuff as if gardeners alone are the problem with all the ills of the wider world, and it's up to us to sort it.
    I live in an area where there is farmland and hedgerows everywhere, and  small NT garden across the road. More than enough habitat for everything that's suitable for the area and climate. 
    I have a variety of plants to suit wildlife and myself, and that's all any of us can realistically do.

    Do your best to have a balance, and most importantly, enjoy it. No point otherwise  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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