Phenology – the study of periodic natural events in relation to the seasons and environmental conditions – is an important part of biological recording. Tim sparks, Martha Boalch and Judith Garforth discuss the relationship between first and last lawn-cutting dates and growing season, and explain how recording this information can provide an indication of wider environmental changes.
A revived national recording scheme for phenology in the UK was piloted in 1998, and it gained much impetus when the Woodland Trust took over its organisation in 2000. An autumn scheme was added to the spring one and the recorded events have changed, too, some being added when it was thought that they might be useful in the future (e.g. assessing fruiting abundance), others being dropped when it became clear that they were not working very well (e.g. flowering Primroses Primula vulgaris, which could be confused with garden polyanthus by the general public).