Call to help protect bumblebees

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and The Wildlife Trusts have joined forces to urge gardeners to do more to help protect bumblebees and solitary bees, heroes of the pollinator world.

The Bee Creative in the Garden! Call comes as bees are under increasing pressure largely due to loss of habitat. The charities will be arming gardeners with advice, insights and inspiration to enable them to create habitats that support wild bees as they emerge from their nests in early spring to forage for food.

In the countryside, 97% of lowland meadow has already been lost and the dramatic decrease in suitable habitats isn’t just confined to rural areas. The network of 15 million gardens that once formed ‘green corridors’ for wildlife are also disappearing at an alarming rate. The number of front gardens, for example, that have been paved over has tripled in a decade and over five million have no plants growing at all.

Gardeners will be able to download a wild bee-friendly gardening guide and wildlife events and a ‘Bee Creative’ photo competition will also take place from 1st April to 1st November 2017, as bees buzz during the gardener’s growing season and then look for nesting sites in autumn.

 

Senior horticultural advisor at the RHS, Helen Bostock, stresses how a healthy garden is buzzing with bees and other pollinators: “By providing nesting sites and growing nectar and pollen rich flowers gardeners can and do support a variety of bumblebee and solitary bees,” she said.

Senior policy manager at The Wildlife Trusts, Ellie Brodie, explains that anyone can take action to help wild bees whether you have a wall for vertical planting, window box or back garden: “It’s easy to plant a bee haven and fun choosing between bee-friendly beauties such as borage, foxglove and honeysuckle,” she says.

Why not enter the Bee photo competition! Gardeners, gardening groups and schools are encouraged to share how they’ve welcomed wild bees into their gardens by posting a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #wildaboutgardens – with the category being entered – perhaps a flower-packed border or a wall that bees have made their own.

A list of the wildlife gardening events taking place can be found at wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk from the 27 March – please note that more will be added as the season progresses.

The Bee Creative in the Garden! campaign will culminate in Wild About Gardens Week which will run from 23 – 29 October. This will be a fun-filled week of special activities focused on how to help bees survive the winter ahead.

Photo credits: ©Jon Hawkins, Surrey Hills Photography.

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