Monday, 18 May 2020

Citizen science for the lazy!
Every Flower Counts Photo: Plantlife

Citizen science for the lazy!

Want a great excuse not to mow your lawn? If so, Plantlife is asking for help to make sure that 'Every Flower Counts' when it comes to providing nectar and pollen for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. Put quite simply, plants need pollinators and pollinators need plants, but both are in sharp decline. Since the 1930s, we have lost nearly 7.5 million acres of flower-rich meadows and pastures meaning that now just 1% of the countryside provides this floral feast for pollinators.

To balance this, habitats such as lawns have become increasingly important. With 15 million gardens in Britain, our lawns have the potential to become major sources of nectar. However, no one has ever quantified this resource before. This is what Every Flower Counts aims to do: work out how many flowers are on our lawns, how much nectar they're producing and how many bees they can support.

Taking part is incredibly easy! Simply refrain from cutting your lawn (or even part of it) for the rest of May to give plants like clover, daisies, dandelions and selfheal a chance to flower.

Then, between 23rd and 31st May, count the flowers on small sections of your lawn and find out how many bees it can support as well as discovering how to increase the number of flowers in your lawn in time for future surveys, for example when it is repeated for a week in the summer, between 11th and 19th July.

Don't worry if you've recently mown your lawn. Plantlife still wants to know what you have flowering. In fact, your results will be even more important as they will help to show how normal patterns of mowing affect flowering and nectar production. But, the more wild flowers you have - and the more types of wild flowers - the more nectar will be produced. If you leave areas of your lawn unmown, you're likely to have many more wild flowers and lots more nectar.

From your results, Plantlife will calculate a National Nectar Index to show how lawns across Britain are helping to feed our pollinators. They'll also reveal the top ten lawn flowers in Britain.

Full details and instructions for carrying out the survey can be found on Plantlife's website at: