Carbon dioxide removal and no-cut May

David Beeson, 24th may 2021

Firstly, an article from The Guardian:

This looks at a trial, about to start across the UK, into the most effective ways of removing atmospheric carbon dioxide – critical in reducing Global Warming. Worth scanning to give your day some optimism.

We fitted solar PV panels some 11 years back (2010), and they have generated 27 000 KW hours of electrical generation. We added them to our roof in the early days of mass PV sales and they paid themselves back in about 8 years, and the 12 panels now give us £1500 in cash each year. That is more than our energy costs of running the gas and electricity for the bungalow. It was a long-term project, yet has paid off and the money should flow in until the end of the 25 year contract. (Terms and conditions have since changed, so check current data if you wish to follow our direction!)

As John pointed out in the last article, it has been a dire month for sunshine but a great one if you desire lots of rain. Our plants are almost a month behind when compared to 2020, and our Summer Meadow will grow really tall this year with the growth-stimulating rainfall. Currently that meadow is quiescent with the decline of the cowslips and bluebells and the orchids yet to show their colours. Not so the Spring Meadow and our no-cut Main Lawn, both are swathes of buttercup yellow.

You may have read my Water Meadows* article on this site. This was a development in the 1700s to flush comparatively warm river water over flood plain meadows to stimulate early year growth of grasses. This increased growth fed sheep when food was scarce and increased agricultural output. It was an expensive yet very effective. Well, rainfall is having the same effect on my grass … although not a sheep is in sight! The compost heap will eventually be the recipient, and much of the trapped carbon dioxide will end up, for a time, in my flower borders. Indeed, our horrid clay-over-chalk soil has moved from potting-clay to lovely fertile soil over the years with the adding of composted humus.

The no-cut May (for lawns) has been well publicised in the UK yet I have not seen another yet. Hopefully it will catch on eventually, especially with people with larger gardens. It would be less attractive to those with a minute patch and football crazy children. Perhaps you know otherwise?

The Spring Meadow has a different cutting system to other parts of the garden. It is uncut from October until late June. Hence, different flora with more orchids and meadow saxifrage surviving. We also have Tulipa sylvestris growing there.
Orchids do grow here, but they are cut down and do not flowers … except if they are extra special!
This greater butterfly orchids surprised us by setting itself in the lawn about seven years back. It will not be cut!
Lawn diversity
A red version of the common May tree with an aspen, still to leaf, beyond. We plant aspens and bird cherry saplings to enhance the diversity and tree and shrub content of the eco-garden.
A wren has nested by our patio window.
Spotted orchid in the border. Planted!

And now for something totally different. About twenty miles west is where the UK army plays tanks and shooting at each other. The Salisbury Plain Training Area. It can be biologically wonderful. Wild bustards, marsh fritillary butterfly in clouds and orchids.

Part of the Salisbury Plain Army Training Area – can you spot the green-winged orchids?
Tens of thousands of orchids.
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