I’m working to eliminate my lawn, little by little. My back yard is half taken over by creeping purple ajuga, which requires no mowing. I do have a lawnmower – a quiet, non-source-polluting electric one. (The energy source from our electric utility is still mostly nuclear and gas, and we can’t put solar on our roof without cutting down our big maple tree, so that’s not an option.) I have also planted flower and vegetable gardens in various spots.
Every spring my scientist-husband and I disagree about when to mow. I want to let all the spring flowers in the grass fade on their own, rather than kill them, and he always wants to mow as soon as the grass gets a little long.
I’ve always had science on my side, as it’s clear that bees and other pollinators will benefit greatly from feeding on these yummy first flowers of the season. Now there’s a movement behind the science that homeowners around the country are getting behind, and I am, too.
This wonderful article in The New York Times is about No Mow May, when homeowners are asked to let their grass (and weeds) grow for the month of May before tidying up in June (or not). When Appleton, Wisconsin, became the first city in the country to participate, researchers found that No Mow May lawns had five times the number of bees and three times the bee species as mown spaces. The idea has since spread to many other states. If it's not already in Connecticut, I plan to bring it here.
With bee populations plummeting, this project is more than just a good idea – if enough of us do it, it might actually help save the bees.