Bee Creative in the Garden!

Friday 31st March 2017

Red tailed bumblebee - Penny FrithRed tailed bumblebee taken by Penny Frith

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 is also disappearing at an alarming rate.

In response here in the south west Devon Wildlife Trust 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.

Family fun at Cricklepit Mill

Wild bee action pack 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 1 November 2017 as bees buzz during the gardener’s growing season and then look for nesting sites in autumn.

As part of Bee Creative in the Garden! Devon Wildlife Trust is also hosting two events at their headquarters, Cricklepit Mill, in Exeter. The mill has its own pollinator-friendly garden and on Sunday 25 June, the charity will be inviting the public to spend the day exploring this urban oasis in the heart of the city.

Staff and volunteers will be on hand to give wildlife gardening advice and offer tours of the award-winning garden. Families can also follow the exciting nature trails and see what wildlife is in the garden by taking part in some bug hunting! Visitors will have the opportunity to put theory into practice and buy wildlife plants at the event to take home.

At the start of the summer holidays, on Thursday 3 August, families are invited to visit Cricklepit Mill for Devon Wildlife Trust’s wild bee family fun day! Children can get arty in the garden with a range of wildlife crafts and explore the garden with nature trails, bug hunting and bee-themed games.

Help create havens for native wild bees

White tailed bumblebee - Chris Lawrence

Bee Creative in the Garden! is the theme for this year’s Wild About Gardens campaign – an annual joint initiative between The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS which aims 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.”

Rosie Workman, Communications Assistant at Devon Wildlife Trust, said:

“We want to encourage people in Devon to take action and help our wild bees. Whether you’ve got a window box, a wall or a back garden, it’s easy to create a bee haven and fun choosing bee-friendly beauties to plant.”

Wild bee-friendly gardening guide

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

Bee infographic

Enter the 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 or you can visit the Devon Wildlife Trust website devonwildlifetrust.org/whats-on

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.