It's time to let nature take over. Don't mow - let it grow!
Once in a while, the best way to help wildlife is to do nothing, put your feet up and let nature do the rest.
All we're asking you to do is to leave your lawn and let it grow - surely this is the easiest way to take a step towards your bronze, silver or gold level of Wild Challenge?
Letting the plants grow a bit unruly, especially if you have a lawn, is actually a big help for insect wildlife. The mini jungle created by long grass gives them a safe haven to hide in, and if there are wildflowers in there, it's good for bees too. Long grass is also fun for us to play in. See if your patch grows long enough for you to hide in!
If you want to be more creative you can mow interesting shapes into the grass. If you're lucky enough to have room, you could even mow a maze!
Are you doing this activity as part of your ild Challenge? Find out how you are progressing – are you getting closer to gold?
Did you know: there are more than 11,000 different species of grass in the world!
What you will need
- If you are going to start making shapes on the lawn, you'll need a lawnmower and a grown-up to operate it.
- If you want to sow some extra flowers in the long grass, you'll need some wildflower seed! They can look amazing in the summer.
- Camera or smart phone
- Decide which areas of your lawn you want to let go wild! It could be all of your lawn, or just some of it. Even a small area of uncut grass will give a great wild home to nature.
- Give your mower a rest! You can give your mower a rest for just a few weeks or for several months - the choice is yours. Here are the different techniques to try.
- The temporary meadow. At a beginner level, just let your lawn grow naturally for maybe a month in May or June, and mow as you normally would outside that time. Enjoy the dandelions and daises that take the opportunity to come out in bloom!
Creating a meadow
- Create a spring meadow. If you want to have an even bigger impact for wildlife, don't mow your lawn at all in the spring until the end of June or early July. Then mow as normal until the grass stops growing in late autumn. This is the kind of meadow where you can plant colourful spring-flowering bulbs such as Snake's-head Fritillary. The bees and butterflies will love them!
- Create a summer meadow. Mow once in late March or early April and then leave it until September before mowing once or twice in the autumn. If there has been a wet spring, you might need to mow the lawn into May. This will minimise the risk of a messy untidy looking lawn in mid-summer.
- A-maze-ing paths. If you mow a border around your blocks of longer grass so that they have neat borders, or mow paths through the middle, it can look really smart!
They can be straight paths in a regular pattern, curving paths, or even a mini-maze!
These paths are good for wildlife too! There’s evidence that creatures actually like using the short paths to move through the meadow, darting into the longer grass to get food.
Enjoy your garden
- Special added ingredients. If you want to make it even better, why not try sprinkling wildflower seeds over the lawn in autumn. Come spring and summer they should have turned your wild patch into a beautiful meadow full of colour. The bees, butterflies and lots of other insects will be in minibeast paradise!
- Appreciate the difference you’ve made. On a warm day in summer, get down at ground level and look closely, listen for the sounds of nature and sniff the plants around you. Discover what flowering plants were in your lawn all along but never had the chance to flower, such as clovers and speedwells. In high summer, your special patch of wild lawn should be home to butterflies, and if you're lucky, grasshoppers! A whole host of great creatures will be appearing to say thank you! Why not get even closer to the insects? Lie down with your head in the grass, imagine you are an insect, observe the towering stalks and leaves around you and view things as if you were a tiny bug!
- Don't forget to tell us when you have completed the activity! When you mark the activity as complete, you will be asked to upload a photo, drawing, painting or description of your experience to help earn your award.
Completing the activity
Use the 'Mark as complete' button at the top of this page to tell us you've completed your activity. You'll need to show us what you did by uploading a photo of what you saw or your family on the look out! Alternatively, draw or paint what you saw or upload a description of your experience.