Why are grasslands important? They are part of our cultural and natural heritage and are home to a wide range of wildlife including wild flowers, mushrooms, bees, flies, beetles, spiders, moths, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians. , small mammals, bats and birds. They also provide other environmental benefits such as carbon storage, water retention to prevent flooding and habitat for crop pollinators. However, many grasslands have been transformed into monocultures or grasslands, resulting in a decline in biodiversity and loss of species for bees and butterflies.
o, what can we do as gardeners? Just letting your lawn grow will create a meadow. Many gardens adjoining houses in areas where our country’s student population lives achieve this look very easily! A poorly maintained garden is a delight for wildlife as it allows for multiple habitats.
The gardens of abandoned properties are often healthy harbingers of thriving native wildlife, places of refuge for brilliant pollinating shrubs such as buddleias and lilacs.
And if a lawn is left to its own growth patterns, the magic can happen. Meadow grasses, which make up a large part of our lawn seed mixes, can reach their full potential and produce flowers. They might not be the most colorful or inspiring flowers to us, but they are teeming with pollen for creatures like moths and bees.
In the more controlled environments of our gardens, we can even, at this time of year, undertake an experiment and let part of our lawn grow. Just pick a spot, decide not to cut the grass, and see what happens.
In addition to the expected height and flowering herbs, you might be surprised at what appears. You can expect daisies, clovers, dandelions, speedwells and buttercups, but depending on your soil type, you might also spot orchids, cuckoos, daisies or bellflowers.
However, in general, the grass dominates and tends to chase away wildflowers. To encourage the flowers you love, you may need to reduce the vigor of the grasses by introducing semi-parasitic plants such as rhinanthus (rattle) and euphrasia (eyebright). Scatter their seeds in late summer and fall on short grass. You can also introduce flowers by sowing wildflower seeds or root ball plants. Keep the meadow long all summer and delay mowing until September to give the wildflowers time to sow. Remove the clippings, otherwise they will rot and over-fertilize the soil, which will favor grasses over flowers. It will take a few years to find the right balance.
But if you want to keep your lawn pristine, you can always convert a bare patch of land into a mini meadow. You might want only one species to dominate – a patch of ox-eyed daisies can be stunning, or I recently saw a dazzling combination of bright red poppies and bright blue cornflowers by the side of the road. Or you can select a mixture of wildflower seeds. These can be planted in the spring or later this year in early fall, resulting in earlier flowering next year. In general, wildflowers like poor soil, so your bed preparation will mainly consist of removing stones and weeds, and raking to a thin layer before sowing the seeds.