For various reasons – baby birds, rain, dealing with calamities – I have not mowed the lawn for about a month. Those of you who work so hard to get a perfect patch of pure green grass may wish to look away now. Allowing the grass to turn to seed might look pleasantly meadowy, but it is not good for hayfever sufferers!
However, when it is not tipping down with rain or blowing a gale the various blooms adding colour to the lawn also provide a useful source of nourishment for bees and other insects. They especially love the clover.
I think this is ribwort plantain, Plantago lanceolata, herbalists use a tea made from it to treat coughs. The seeds are eaten by birds such as goldfinches.
The purple flowers are self-heal, Prunella vulgaris. The leaves can be used to staunch wounds, a herbal concoction can also be made which has anti-inflammatory properties.
The taller white yarrow, Achillea millefolium, was also used as a blood stauncher, hence its alternative name of soldier’s woundwort. If all the grass pollen causes a nosebleed then you can stuff a yarrow leaf up your nose to stem the flow. It is also used as a companion plant as it attracts predatory wasps which in turn kill pest insects thereby protecting the crop.
I love the deep orange of this “lawn weed” and its name; fox-and-cubs, Pilosella aurantiaca. Apparently bees cannot see this colour, but it is also reflecting UV light which does attract them.
The rest of the lawn is colonised by these tall dandelion-like flowers which I think are some sort of hawkweed, Hieracium, there are many different varieties. There is also a blue dot of forget-me-nots in there.
Like dandelions they also produce the fluffy seed heads that are such fun to blow on.
There is also something else growing on the lawn, but I shall save that for another post. Although I feel I really must get around to mowing the lawn before we lose sight of the squirrel!