By Megan Slack
Monty Don, the beloved British gardener, and BBC Gardener's World host has transformed our green-fingered habits for years; however, his latest advice may be his most controversial yet.
The admired presenter has bad news for anybody who wants to create a pristine garden in time for the brighter seasons ahead, as he urges us to step away from our lawnmowers and let our grass grow freely.
See: Monty Don’s tips on getting the perfect lawn – and the mistakes you're making
In an interview with Radio Times, Monty suggested that the urge to keep grass short is a masculine 'obsession' that is all about 'control.' Instead, he encouraged gardeners to keep their grass long to preserve local wildlife and avoid burning unnecessary fossil fuels.
'Cutting grass burns lots of fossil fuel, makes a filthy noise, and is about the most injurious thing you can do to wildlife,' Monty explained.
'Letting grass grow, which is, after all, a pretty passive thing to do, is probably the single most effective thing you can do in any garden of any size to encourage particularly insect life, but also small mammals, invertebrates, reptiles.'
After confessing he enjoys walking barefoot on grass 'as much as the next person,' the gardener suggested that pristine and 'stripey' lawns are an 'obsession' for male gardeners in particular.
'Making a lawn that is pure grass without any filthy and foreign invading plants in there, making sure it's stripy and neat' was a mainly male obsession linked to 'controlling rather than embracing,' he declared.
Similarly, Monty also referenced the effect of lockdown and how spending extra time in the garden has made people more aware of the threat of global warming.
'People are noticing that it's a bit more flooded or it's a bit warmer, or the little flower whose name you don't know is flowering earlier than you remember it did five years ago. The net effect of that is to say, yes, this is happening in my life, on my doorstep, and in itself that's not a big deal – but that's the point.'
While Monty's advice may come as a surprise, he is not the first globally-admired gardener to urge people to step away from their lawnmowers. BBC's Springwatch presenter Chris Packham also made headlines at the start of the year after he labeled mowing 'a very bizarre habit.'
See: Take a tour around Monty Don's beautiful Longmeadow garden in Herefordshire
Chris also spoke against the mower's impact on the environment, explaining how allowing your grass to grow freely would be a 'win-win' for gardeners and the environment before sharing:
'If you have space, and you can give the lawn over to a wildflower patch, then you will see enormous riches as a result.'
While their advice certainly isn't conventional, we can't argue with their expertise. Will this be the summer of wild gardens and new wildlife habitats? Only time will tell.
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