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THE BEES NEED YOU
A lot has been said over the past few years about the plight of our bee population but it took a few facts in a leaflet that fell out of one of my gardening magazines to really drive it home to me.
One awful fact is that in the last fifty years bee numbers have almost halved. To add to this currently in Britain we are losing bees faster than any other European country. As I write a quarter of the UK’s bee species are on the red list of threatened species and yet none are protected by law – WHY?
Bees may appear small and insignificant but however inconspicuous they are these hard working little creatures are absolutely essential to our well-being. Whilst going about their every day business they pollinate over 75 per cent of our crops which means that in turn we can enjoy our favourite fruit and vegetables. Can you imagine a world without strawberries or apples? All of our crops need bees and other pollen carriers to grow. Another fact is that without bees the availability of vitamin C would drop by 20 per cent and we can all appreciate the seriousness of that.
What we grow in our gardens can be hugely important. If you have an area for wild flowers all well and good but if not look out for what the bees in your own garden seem to prefer. In my garden I grow lavender (a great favourite) and linaria purpurea and this the bees adore. It’s a real cottage garden plant with spires of tiny purple flowers that attract bees all day long. They prefer single flowers that are nectar rich and usually this means the old varieties, not today’s F1 hybrids which however beautiful are usually sterile. This doesn’t mean you can’t grow them just find room for the simpler ones as well.
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