At this time of year we begin to look at next year’s planting plan. What seed shall we try? How should our garden progress? Thus we grab those handy seed and plant catalogues with glorious plans in mind, sometimes admittedly on a limited budget, but we still want our garden to impress.
So spare a thought next year for our humble insect friends. Sadly, it is becoming apparent, that bees and bumblebees are in decline. Some species have already become extinct in the UK within the last 70 years. Einstein supposedly once stated that if bees died out, mankind would follow within four years. Whether or not Einstein did say this, the realisation is alarming if a little pessimistic.
Nevertheless bees in general are vitally important to the wealth of plants we have in the garden and in wider agriculture. They are vital pollinators as well as a welcome, familiar sound on a summers day. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is striving to halt this decline. According to scientists the only way we can reverse the current decline is to encourage farmers to introduce a 'mosaic of suitable habitat', from nest areas and hedgerows to wild-flower meadows. But at home we can contribute, growing many flowering plants to help the bumblebee. Choose plants which offer a high nectar content, such as, Bluebell, Clover, Scabious, Thyme, Lupin, Heathers and Hollyhock to name a few.
A full list can be found on the Bumblebee Conservation Trusts website. Also we can provide nest sites. There are a few differing designs, all of which can be found along with factsheets, again on the Trust website. You never know you may even win a 'BEE KIND' prize!
-- Guy Deakins