Above: Mayor Peter Mann (left) with Dr Lionel Smith, Biological sciences researcher from Reading University
(middle) at the Reading University grass free lawn. Below: DWT's Joy Wallis and Dr Lionel Smith looking at a grass free lawn,
Close-up of a grass free lawn including vetches and trefoils. All photos © Joy Wallis
The Mayor of Dorchester, Peter Mann, has announced his support for growing a ‘grass free lawn’ in Dorchester’s Borough Gardens as the subject of the 2014/15 Mayoral Appeal.
In a project supported by Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT), Dorchester Town Council, The Heritage Lottery Fund, and the Gardens Group, both wildlife and people are set to benefit from a lawn grown from a variety of different flowering plants, rather than grass. Members of the local community are being invited to collect their free seeds, compost and trays to grow plants at home, which will be included in the grass free lawn at Dorchester Borough Gardens next year.
DWT’s Community Conservation Officer, Joy Wallis said: “A flower lawn such as the one we are aiming to create has been proved to be 50 times more beneficial to bees and butterflies than the standard lawn. This is something to be encouraged, as all our pollinators are struggling to survive at the moment. Watching happy bees and butterflies is also beneficial to our well-being too!”
The Mayor of Dorchester, Peter Mann, said: “I am delighted to give my support to this exciting project. Not only will it will add further interest and colour to our beautiful Borough Gardens in Dorchester, but also attract large numbers of bees and butterflies, recently in sad decline. This is probably the first such project in any town in Britain and I very much hope that it will involve large numbers of all ages from our local community. The results will be for us and future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”
Free seed trays, peat free compost and seeds will be available for collection from Poundbury Gardens Centre
Those who contribute to the grass free lawn by growing plants at home will be invited to attend the ‘grand planting day’ in Dorchester Borough Gardens on Easter Monday, 6th April 2015. Free seed trays, peat free compost and seeds will be available for collection from Poundbury Gardens Centre in Dorchester, (DT1 3RT) on 12th and 20th September 2014 from 9am to 6pm.
"Anyone with some space for a few seed trays in your greenhouse, conservatory or even on your windowsill can take part. You don’t need to be an expert."
Joy Wallis added: “Anyone with some space for a few seed trays in your greenhouse, conservatory or even on your windowsill can take part. You don’t need to be an expert. The benefits of a grass free lawn are not just for wildlife, but they also look stunning, there will be something in flower all year round and they need very little cutting and weeding.”
For more information about the grass free lawn scheme, contact Joy Wallis on 01305 264620 or . Donations may be sent to the Mayor’s Appeal, c/o The Mayor’s Secretary, Dorchester Town Council, 19 North Square, Dorchester, DT1 1JF, or Dorset Wildlife Trust, Grass Free Lawn project, Brooklands Farm, Forston, Dorchester, DT2 7AA.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.