Opinion: Do I dare to disagree with Monty Don?

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No Mow May is a popular gardening trend which advocates leaving lawns uncut throughout the month of May. The idea is to provide sources of food for pollinators and insects and this in turn helps creatures further up the food chain such as birds and small mammals. Leaving lawns uncut, for any length of time, to benefit the natural world is a lovely idea … in theory.

In reality the soggy long grass resulting from No Mow May can often lead to Jammed Mower June followed by Junked Mower July and subsequently Absent Mower August. Bear in mind that as benefits to garden wildlife increase, the bank balance can potentially decrease. Domestic mowers are made for cutting shortish grass, meaning the motor can strain, and even burn out, under the extra power needed to cut long, thick, grass. Are lawn mower manufacturers the real winners in this equation? (If you don’t mind the endless gnawing ache of stooping, a decent strimmer is better at handling long wet grass.)

“Leave grass long to attract small mammals” the sagely Monty Don advises. Hedgehogs and voles can bring their quaint story book personalities to the garden, making you feel as if you’re living in a magical woodland and a fairy might appear perched on a red spotted toadstool at any moment. In the reality of an urban setting, even a very posh one, the phrase “small mammals” is more likely to mean rats. What used to be called “vermin”. As well as their reputation for spreading deadly diseases (remember the Bubonic Plague?) vermin, particularly mice, can attract the neighbourhood cats, as many as four per night, each of them depositing a stinky poo parcel lurking within said long grass. Have you ever witnessed the fall out when barefooted children innocently run through long grass? It’s horrendous! I’m sorry Monty, you’re lovely and very wise about lots of things, but my grass will be mown and manicured in May and beyond.

Main Photo Credit: Wellington Silva via Pexels

Val Fraser

Val Fraser is a trained journalist with over 12 years’ experience working on staff in various demanding media environments. She has authored/edited thousands of articles including news, travel and features. Val has authored/contributed to nine non-fiction books. A regular columnist, she stepped up to the role of Digital Editor in September 2022 and is responsible for the Sorted Magazine website.
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