If you have been doing “No Mow May” this year and growing your lawn long, the next stage is observing the flowers that appear. Plantlife can help us work out how wildlife has benefited from the increased number of flowering plants!
Plantlife “Every flower counts” campaign offers a very simple way to count the number of common flowers in metre square quadrat. Then we can calculate a “personal nectar score” which really brings home the benefits of wildflowers to our wildlife! This should be done in the last week of May. Make sure you register here from 21st May to record your results!
You can find out more in this video
Botany skills are very useful when trying to monitor our green spaces for increasing biodiversity. This year I’ve signed up for a course to improve my skills. The course started with explaining a lot of terminology and covers how to use a flower “key” (in this case “the Wild Flower key” book by Francis Rose)
It’s quite a practical course, as a lot of time is spent first finding certain plants and closely examining them. You then need to demonstrate that you have the right species and understand the specific characteristics for the plant family, and then the specific species.
I’m learning a huge amount and it’s certainly made me more observant too! It’s not just the flowers that are important, but also the leaf, the stem, sometimes the seed pod. You also need to note the location you find the plant, the date, and finer details such as whether there are hairs on the plant, and even what type of hair!
If you would like to improve your botany skills, we welcome volunteers to assist with our surveys and observations. We can lend out equipment such as the “Wild flower key” book, quadrats for measuring squares, and a hand lens for close examination of plant parts. We are a friendly group and all abilities are welcome!
Greenhavens are also running a free Wildflower walk in Seaford this Saturday. You can find out more on their facebook page
Out in the field, there are different ways we can survey flowers. For example should we just count the number of different species, or also the number of each species? We could examine the entire green space (which could be very time consuming in a large space) or just select a small sample area?
The approach we use will almost certainly depend on how many skilled and “improver”volunteers we have to help us!
Do get in touch if you would like to help, or to tell us more about your “unmowed” wildlife haven! We would love to know your “scores”!