Last summer Colin Crosbie, curator of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Garden at Wisley, defended lawns in a radio debate, saying he believes having dedicated areas for grass is important for recreational and environmental reasons.
For instance, green spaces are good for mental health and lawns help absorb rainfall so less ends up flooding man-made drains.
He admitted that a fixation by some gardeners to water their lawns during drought has a negative environmental impact, and something they should move away from. He noted that there is actually no harm in letting lawns dry up. Yes the grass will go brown, but will soon green up after a good rain shower.
Mr Crosbie suggested that a mixture of lawns and flowerbeds is a great way to encourage biodiversity. Some birds, like blackbirds and starlings prefer open spaces to look for worms and insects. And some insects find grassy areas, particularly those that have been allowed to grow a bit taller, ideal habitat.
“We mustn’t lose our lawns,” said Mr Crosbie. “But we must also recognise that in future there will be less space dedicated to this fantastic garden plant, so we need to be clever in how we use grass to get maximum impact. Maybe planting a green roof on the garden shed with a mix of grass, for example.”
More info at www.rhs.org.uk/News/Radio-4-grass-debate