I hope you have all been able to get outside and enjoy this proper summer weather most of us are having! If not it looks like you have still got time as the sun looks like its staying with us for a while yet!
July is a time for sitting back and enjoying what is around you, many flowering plants are at their peak blooming period, the trees and shrubs are dense and green and fruit and berries are starting to form. With all the natural food available it is also peak time for insect and minibeast activity, regardless of the garden space you have a quick look around should be able to find bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles and spiders.
Most people with lawns want to keep at least some of them short so that they can be used for recreation, i'm the same, I want a nice neat lawn as well in somes areas. However, whilst short lawns can be great for some creatures, they don't tick all of the boxes for our garden wildlife. For example, many creatures like grasshoppers, harvestmen, moths and butterflies need patches of long grass to complete their life-cycles. It is also important for birds like starlings and house sparrows that feed their young on invertebrates, this simple step can increase the natural food available. So, your mission should you choose to accept it is to help manage a healthy garden food chain by creating a patch of long grass to add to the benefits of short grass.
Now how you do this is pretty flexible, you could pick a small area in the middle of a lawn, leave some long grass in swathes around the edges of the lawn where you have shrubby borders or best practice is to create a patch (or patches) with curved edges. All you need to do is to stop mowing this patch from now until the following spring. If you give it a go and want to share your success then please post on our Greenfingers forum.
Just a couple of tips for the garden during the hot spell, don't be tempted to over cut your short grass, leaving it a touch longer will help it retain moisture. If it does go brown, don't reach for your hose, your lawn will bounce back when we get a shower. Birds will be looking to cool off so make sure you provide them with a shallow tray of water.
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