Here you will find informal updates on our projects, top tips from our staff and volunteers on how to support bumblebees and interesting guest articles from our partners. Use the category buttons to filter the blog articles by topic.
This month’s guest article comes from Catherine, a gardener at Chenies Manor in Buckinghamshire. Read on to see her advice on making orchards better for bees…
If I had a large garden my dream would be to plant an orchard full of unusual old varieties of apples and other fruit trees. There are hundreds of local heritage varieties with different flavours, but sadly most are rarely available in supermarkets or greengrocers, so I would love to grow some of these in a wildlife-friendly way. As well as producing spring pollen and nectar for bumblebees and other pollinators, fruit trees also provide a useful habitat and food source for a wide range of wildlife.
We have another guest blog this week, from Bumblebee Conservation Trust supporter Eric Homer. Read on to find out what he did and see his results…
My wife and I are keen on helping wildlife and enjoy encouraging wildlife into our garden. We get a lot of pleasure seeing the birds, bees, butterflies, frogs, newts and insects in the garden, so last year we decided that we’d like to make the garden more bee friendly by converting the back garden lawn into a wildflower meadow, hopefully attracting more wildlife into the garden and helping the bees and other species. Our suburban garden is not large and the lawn only covered a small area, approximately 20m2. We wondered if a small area like this would have any effect, but we were not disappointed.
‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. When William Shakespeare wrote these immortal words in Romeo and Juliet, he suggested that all roses were the same (in respect of their sweet smell, at least). Indeed, in Shakespeare’s day, perhaps most roses were the same, or similar. But he wasn’t to know that over 400 years of selection and breeding of roses by horticulturalists would result in a stunning explosion of roses in many colours, shapes and scents. But in the pursuit of beauty, insect visitors of roses have been largely forgotten. Many varieties of rose are now off-limits for bumblebees and other insects, but why?
Throughout most of the winter, I’ve been away from the garden. Apart from the occasional tidy-up, there really hasn’t been much to do.
But with spring on the way, it’s time to get ready for another spurt of activity. Sometimes I find springtime simply too busy though. Before you know it, you’re trying to stay on top of the weeding, as well as trying to sow seeds and tend batches of seedlings (pricking out, watering and protecting them from slugs and snails can be a full-time occupation if you have enough seedlings!)
So my strategy for this year is to plan ahead, and avoid trying to fit everything into a few hours of work on a single fair-weather day in April (the usual scenario). The good news is that there is plenty to be doing.