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. 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 disappearing at an alarming rate. In London alone, vegetated garden land the size of 2.5 Hyde Parks is lost each year*. The number of front gardens that have been paved over has tripled in a decade and over five million have no plants growing at all.
The charities will be arming gardeners with the advice, insights and inspiration they need to create habitats that support wild bees as they emerge from their nests in early spring to forage for food.
Gardeners will be able to download a wild bee-friendly gardening guide. Wildlife events and a ‘Bee Creative’ photo competition will also be taking place from 1 April to 1November 2017 as bees buzz during the gardener’s growing season and then look for nesting sites in autumn.
Bee Creative in the Garden! is this year’s Wild About Gardens campaign – a joint initiative to encourage gardeners to create wildlife havens for the many, once-common, native species.
Helen Bostock, Senior Horticultural Advisor at the RHS said: “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 wide variety of bumblebee and solitary bees.”
Ellie Brodie, Senior Policy Manager, The Wildlife Trusts, says: “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.”
Steve Ashton, People and Wildlife Manager, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust said. “ Here at Margrove Heritage Centre we have developed a Growing Wild garden which was totally revamped with the aim to create an edible and wildlife garden packed full with inspiration on new, easy ways to grow fruit and vegetables and features to attract as wide range of wildlife as possible including bees.
The wild bee-friendly gardening guide, ‘Get your garden buzzing for bees’, is free to download and contains lots of facts about the different species of wild bee, their lifecycles and how they nest, as well as practical steps gardeners can take to help them. It is available to download at wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk.
Enter our Bee Creative 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 and the category being entered – of their bee-friendly area, whether that be a tailor-made bee home, 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.
Our 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.