Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Bring back the bees! (with thanks to some Friends)

I love guerrilla gardening and I really ought to do more - as you know I haven't been well this year at all, but the anarchist in me wants to get there and plant wildflowers again on the dead industrial area near my house!! Who shall follow me and take up arms full of seeds!
I am passionate about local wildlife and so when Friends of the Earth contacted me about the plight of the bee I was more than happy to promote their campaign. I have seen local honey for years, the last I heard the hives had been attacked by a disease. I love bees themselves - here, this is a picture I took of a little bloke at the plots last summer; he has so sleepy in the sun, but there were kids screaming and poking at him. Well he got moved to my big blooming Echineachea and those kids haven't come back to our plot (I was firm but fair in my words!!) He's gorgeous, I hope he was okay :)

But if you are more the person who likes grown adults dressing up like bees and acting the maggot, here you are. The Friends of the Earth Bee Cause launch today, haha - great suits! Here they were 'creating a wildflower meadow in the shadow of the Royal National Theatre, London, to highlight the need for more bee-friendly habitats.' I think this may have been noticed by one or two people :)

Here's the link to whole album of fun photos -

But for all the fun - it is a serious issue, here Friends of the Earth (who I have no affiliation with other than a love of nature) got Reading University to give them a hand with some facts for you..... Here is their Press Release.
Friends of the Earth gives away 10,000 free packets of seeds to encourage bee-friendly gardens
It would cost the UK £1.8 billion every year to hand-pollinate crops without bees – 20% more than previously thought – according to new research launched today by Friends of the Earth as it unveils a new campaign to save the bee.
The new figure – which would inevitably be passed on to consumers in rising food costs – comes from research conducted by leading bee experts at the University of Reading on behalf of the environment charity as it launches The Bee Cause to call for action on bees before it’s too late.
In recent years Britain has lost over half the honey bees kept in managed hives and wild honey bees are nearly extinct. Solitary bees are declining in more than half the areas they've been studied and some species of bumblebee have been lost altogether.
Bees and other pollinating insects are responsible for most of our favourite fruit and vegetables. One reason for their decline is a shortage of natural habitats, so Friends of the Earth has outlined simple steps people can take in their gardens to help provide it:
  • Sow bee-friendly seeds and plant bee-friendly flowers in your garden such as mixed wildflowers packets, single-flowering roses, open and flat-headed flowers like verbena and yarrow and tubular-shaped flowers such as foxgloves.
  • Create a place to nest for solitary bees by piling together hollow stems and creating a ‘bee hotel’.
  • Try to provide a small amount of rainwater in a shallow birdbath or tray which honeybees need to keep their hive at the right temperature.
Friends of the Earth is calling on David Cameron to commit to a bee action plan to save bees and save the country billions of pounds in the future. To support this action and find out what else you can do to help bees, join The Bee Cause and claim a free packet of wildflower seeds at
The campaign is supported by celebrity gardener Sarah Raven. Sarah said:
“Now is the perfect time to get out in the garden and it's not hard to make a few changes to make life a bit more comfortable for bees.
“Without bees, we'd all be in serious trouble and our diet would be, without so much veg and fruit, incredibly dull. I’ve backed The Bee Cause and would encourage others to do the same.”
Paul De Zylva, Nature Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:
“Imagine a world without strawberries, apples or even coffee – bees are about much more than honey and our food supplies will be in trouble if they bite the dust.
“Unless we halt the decline in British bees our farmers will have to rely on hand-pollination, sending food prices rocketing.
“But there are a few simple things we can all do to help – planting wildflowers in your garden or herbs in a window-box is a great way to provide food for bees and help them thrive.”


  1. I love bees too and plant lots of things that I know they like! I don't go as far as dressing up as a bee though!

  2. Hope you sent those kids away with some sympathy and understanding for bees? Was it fear, or fun? We currently have those gorgeous metallic blue-green bees.

  3. Oh yes im already preparing for a wild flower meadow this year .... well i've got trays of wild flower seedlings filling up the house awaiting a trip to the plot. FIngers crossed we'll be bee friendly this year :)

  4. love you ladies xxxx
    anyone who has a soft spot for bees is a friend of mine (through you were anyway!!) xxxxxxx

  5. Well done on highlighting what is a really important issue.
    A plot neighbour keeps bee hives so I know all about the problems.
    I do all I can on the plot to encourage bees, and judging by the numbers I see I'm doing quite well.
    Flighty xx

  6. Love your photo of that bee. I've been trying to think of ways to encourage them at the allotment: I'm planting hyssop and sunflowers at the end of each row of plants/fruit, and I've planted a line of lavender at the front of the plot. I'll put some early nectar like pulmonaria and snowdrops in as well.

  7. I got enticed by Monty Don on gardener’s world last Friday to plant a wild flower plot in the veg garden and got some seeds this weekend… I too love bees and have fond memories of my uncle keeping bees when I was little – there is nothing better than fresh honey and I am forever telling the kids how we would all starve without bees!! I just need to weed the patch and plant the seeds now!!!


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