What are you doing for 30 Days Wild?

What are you doing for 30 Days Wild? Not heard of it? It’s the Wildlife Trusts campaign to encourage people to do 30 days of Random Acts of Wildness during June to help the environment.

Schools, groups and individuals are urged to do something to encourage biodiversity – as wide a variety of nature as possible – to thrive. It is to help tackle the climate emergency and particularly pollinators at this time of year.

One idea behind the campaign is that, whatever you do, it is habit forming. The campaign encourages participants to continue to do something for longer than 30 days. Or to take notice of nature for longer than 30 days at least.

One year, I interpreted the campaign not as doing something daily, but letting the “wild things grow” as it were, in a dedicated area.

I let a patch in a garden border grow without weeding or cutting it for the month. My plan was to help bees and other creatures to make use of the flowers, or the grass that went to seed. It helped that the growth had started in some fashion before June, of course. The patch grew to a couple of feet tall at least – and I left it for longer than one month. We certainly saw bees, butterflies and other airborne creatures in particular.

Having weeded that patch long ago, I had hoped that Bee Bombs, made from seeds that are on the Royal Horticultural Society’s pollinators list, would do the work this year. I bought these little sets of compacted flower seeds for relatives – close and further afield – for Christmas. We planted ours at home in spring, hoping they would grow in time for June. The packet said the items – bullet shaped packs of seeds packed into something that felt like clay – could take 18 months to bed in as they work themselves into the ground. At present, the patch is still bare. Maybe next year.

Meanwhile, if you and your family are out and about enjoying nature, it is easy to notice overgrown hedgerows as you walk along pavement, or areas of public grass that appear to need cutting.

Clearly not everyone has had the chance to tend their gardens in the past three months or so, even in lockdown.

But have you considered these might have been left to grow deliberately, whether they are private or public land? Last July, Surrey County Council agreed to review how often it would cut public verges. It would also review the time of year it did so, in order to maximise the benefit for spring and summer wildlife. To that point, urban areas were mowed four times a year and rural roads twice. Those that are under the county’s jurisdiction.

In May this year, readers of one newspaper not too far away narrowly agreed that verges in their borough should not be cut so often, to aid biodiversity. Some quoted the decline in numbers of insects and pollinators. Some respondents quoted the climate emergency and that nature needs all the help it can get.

In Reigate and Banstead, a five-week cycle takes place from March to October, according to the borough council’s website. It makes no mention of leaving out a mow in mid-summer. But if one mow is being left out, it would be great to think of it as an act of kindness for nature. Sadly, it might just be because Covid-19 has delayed cutting. Also, as one councillor mentioned in that Surrey council meeting last year, timings of cuts have to be mindful of pavement users as they avoid traffic areas. Or perhaps even traffic on major highways.

While that patch in my garden didn’t work this year, I have left many of the flowers to grow in June in the places that ultimately I don’t want them. This will cause me to do have to do more weeding later in the summer!

However, I draw the line at certain types of “weeds” growing, such as bind weed (that chokes other plants) and brambles. There are plenty of wild brambles elsewhere for our flighted friends to enjoy. I don’t want bramble roots to establish or propagate. The rest can go to seed – for now.