Lockdown diary: In praise of flowery lawns…

As our country is (thankfully, but belatedly) locked down in an attempt to tackle COVID-19, we must start taking simple pleasures from the brief spells we are permitted to stretch our legs. Gardens and parks are the main bits of ‘the wild’ most of us are likely to encounter for a few weeks, at least. But they can provide much to lift the spirits, even those seemingly sterile grassy patches in the middle, the lawns.

In almost every lawn today, Nature’s service stations – Dandelions and Daisies – are at their best. You might want to be out in your garden, and time may well be hanging heavy on your shoulders, but please don’t spend that time mowing the flowers off. Instead, perhaps spend time sitting and enjoying the insects which use them?

And on any warm(ish) day, those insects will be both manifold and manifest. Butterflies, perhaps best thought of as mobile garden flowers, are likely to include Peacocks and Brimstones nectaring at the Dandelions, while the earlier-emerging flowers that have precociously gone to seed are already being investigated by seed-eating birds, especially Goldfinches.

Then the Daisies, the humblest of flowers, but a great nectar and pollen source for smaller insects – flies and solitary bees and wasps in particular. Too many see the sight of a green lawn bestrewn with the sparkling faces of flowers, feeding an array of beneficial insects, as a challenge to their mastery of their patch – but surely the one thing this viral escapade can teach us is that we are but a part of Nature, not its master, and we should value and protect it accordingly.