Flowering bee lawns integrate low-growing flowers into mowed turfgrass to increase the availability of bee forage. They also maintain many of the aesthetic and recreational functions of the lawns in urban green spaces. Common cultural preferences for uniform, green, grass-monoculture lawns may pose a barrier to widespread adoption of flowering lawns. However, a growing body of literature suggests that there may be a higher degree of acceptance of lawn alternatives, such as grass-free lawns or urban meadows, than previously thought. We examined park visitors’ perceptions of flowering lawns at four parks in Minneapolis, U.S. through an on-site questionnaire survey using photos. When first asked, 97.2% of respondents supported implementing flowering lawns in public parks. Informing participants that flowering lawns are designed to provide bee forage had a polarizing effect where strong support increased yet overall support declined slightly. Positive perceptions of bees and of flowering lawn appearance were the only two significant factors associated with support for flowering lawns in both pre- and post-informational intervention logistic regression models. Similarly, aesthetics and benefits to bees were the most frequently stated perceived benefits. When asked about concerns, the most frequent responses were ‘no concerns’ and ‘reduced recreational use of lawns’. For public land managers who wish to add flowering lawns to their suite of green infrastructure options to increase forage availability for bees, our findings suggest there is widespread public support. Public engagement should be carefully crafted to address concerns about flowering lawns and reinforce existing positive perceptions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Chris Desjardins for his advice and Amanda Meyers, Yuffie Hu, Samantha Volkmeier, and Karsten Lennarston for their invaluable help in the field. We are grateful to our reviewers for their insightful comments. Thank you to Ian Lane and Barry Van Dusen for allowing us to use their photographs. Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Dr. Kristen C. Nelson’s research is supported in part by NIFA McIntire-Stennis 1000343 MIN-42-051.