This Sunday, 5th June, it is World Environment Day so I thought it was a very apt time to post about this.
Yesterday I went to visit the Bee Garden we started 18 months ago in one of our local parks and, as you can see from the pictures, it is positively blooming! I spotted lots of bees, of varying species, which is truly wonderful. The Bee Garden itself draws lots of attention in the park and a few people stopped to talk to us who remembered us tending to it in the past. It looks beautiful but it is also a great talking point to remind people of the plight of the bees, whose numbers are dwindling rapidly. More and more people are becoming aware and are supportive.
The point of the Bee Garden is to create a wildflower area to reintroduce some natural feeding habitat for bees. Thus, it is not a cultivated garden and shouldn’t require a lot of maintenance. We obviously cleared the ground to begin with (lifting turf and digging out more invasive plants) to make room, but other than the initial sowing of seeds and clearing of some weeds at the end of last summer we have left the Bee Garden to do its thing. Nature knows how to put on a good flower show!
We need more wildflower areas out in green spaces and the countryside, but our own gardens are also a fantastic place to provide food for all kinds of bees. More and more garden centres are highlighting bee-friendly plants so be sure to add as many of these into your garden as possible. Not only do they create a stunningly beautiful natural space for you to relax in and enjoy, they provide vital pollen and nectar. Think long-term too: make a commitment to maintaining a bee-friendly garden year after year.
Bees are absolutely vital to our ecosystem, and our food production. They pollinate so much of our fruit and veggies. Without them, it would cost the UK alone billions of pounds EACH YEAR to hand pollinate. Who wants that?! Not me, and I bet not you either!
Bees are precious, tireless and beautiful. We should honour them.
Plant native species, wildflowers and trees that bees love to feed on. Skip the pesticides – they aren’t good for anything! Buy local organic fruit and veggies as much as you can because then you know that bees haven’t been harmed whilst pollinating that food for you (nor the soil and other wildlife).
NOTE: The government is slowly allowing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides again. These were held under an EU-wide ban for years because of the horrible effects they have on bees and other pollinators, attacking their nervous system before killing them. Please take a moment to sign the petition to reinstate a full ban on these dreadful chemicals: here
Paying attention to nature gets you back in synchronicity with the planet, which is always a positive. Making an effort to support our bees helps to ensure a better future, which is definitely a positive! Supporting the bees is a win-win!
I work with my local Friends of the Earth group and on my own to help the bees. If you are in the West Midlands area and interested in getting involved, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Facebook page Friends of the Earth Dudley & District. I am absolutely thrilled with how our Bee Garden is thriving this year!