We can’t mow the sodden lawns we’ve got just now so we’ve a chance to look at different mowing regimes to make them attractive.

If you have a long-established lawn that hasn’t been dowsed by herbicides, it may contain a surprisingly large seed bed of wild flowers that would emerge without a strict mowing regime. On the other hand, a new-build with a clay base to the garden would probably be less hopeful. But even here, you might be pleasantly surprised.

So why not resist mowing some of the lawn for a few weeks and find out what plants are in your lawn? This will of course benefit garden wildlife, but the plants themselves are also worth enjoying.

For several years, the charity Plantlife has been running a citizen science project, No Mow May and it invites gardeners to eschew mowing in May. The charity collated the observations of volunteers and listed the flowers most commonly identified. Among many species, the most frequently seen were daisies, meadow buttercup, forget-me-not and white clover.

Why not ration your mowing next month? You could have a closely clipped sitting place and clearly defined paths but leave a second area for a few weeks to see what plants emerge and after a month or so, give a high cut which wouldn’t damage low-growing plants.

If you have space, and fancy the idea, you could leave a third area uncut for several months. At the end of the summer, flowers would be over and the grasses starting to flop, making it look a bit tatty, so you then cut and remove the vegetation, using a grass trimmer.

If you have a new lawn containing only one or two grass species, they wouldn’t produce the attractive seed heads we associate with wildflower meadows. You’ll simply have to high cut every few weeks and consider resowing with a wider selection of grasses.

Each growing regime benefits different suites of creatures and plants, not only making everywhere more wildlife-friendly, but more interesting to watch.

When dividing up a lawn this way, you need to clearly delineate each area. Just as lawns must always have neat edges, each mowing area has to be clearly defined. Otherwise, it will become a mess. Gardens are cultivated places and shouldn’t look untidy and shambolic.

The Herald:

Plant of the week

Viola odorata ‘Melanie’ is a sweet violet with a strong scent and bright carmine red flowers that stand out on the greyest spring day.

Violets have fallen out of favour with gardeners but I love to grow them in one of the many semi-shaded spots in my garden.