Gardeners asked to contribute to survey

Britain’s garden and greenhouse enthusiasts are being asked to take part in a new "citizen science" survey.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the Open Air Laboratories Project (OALP) is looking for information on the nation’s hedgerows as it seeks to keep tabs on the UK’s biodiversity.

The team is particularly interested in what is occurring in hedges in urban areas, including in parks and open spaces on public and private land.

OALP Biodiversity Observatory head Jonathan Silvertown explained that a lot is known about hedges in rural areas, but there is a knowledge gap when it comes to urban environments.

"They might be even more important in urban areas where natural habitats are more scarce," he said.

Those wishing to take part should study a three-metre stretch of hedge and report on its appearance and number of flowers, fruits and nuts.

Details of any insects or other animals should also be recorded, including holes and burrows.

An online map is to be created, with the survey rating the importance of each hedge to help build up a database of important areas for biodiversity.

In other news, the RHS has revealed that six urban parks across the country are to share a £10 million grant for restoration projects.