Growing biodiversity in Living Lawns
A trial at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) is showing how ‘flowering’ lawns can be created to provide habitats for wildlife and become more colourful and attractive at the same time.
The project, part of the Edinburgh Living Landscape (ELL) strategy to improve the city for nature, has resulted in the creation of two successful trial plots at RBGE providing a low sward that can be used like a traditional lawn but with many more flowers. The cutting height is around 5cm and plants that will flower below this height have been sourced from Scotia Seeds – a supplier of Scottish native wildflowers.
A past trend in society towards perfectly green and uniform lawns has resulted in a few grasses dominating and low-growing flowers, sometimes referred to as weeds, being removed. An immaculate lawn provides no resources for bees, flies, moths, butterflies, wasps and beetles which rely on a rich diet of pollen and nectar and there is little structure for insects and other invertebrates to shelter.
Leonie Alexander, Urban Biodiversity Project Officer for ELL, explained: “There are lots of benefits from having a living lawn. There is less management because the lawn is cut at a height that enables a wider variety of plants to grow and flower so there is more time between each mowing. A living lawn will provide local pollen and nectar resources for insects and of course, people love to see flowers.’’
The RBGE Living Lawns can be found beside the Modern Range Glasshouses lawn.
What is a Living Lawn?
How to create one:
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