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Help Bees .....

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  • Help Bees .....

    Whilst nosing through the Telegraph, found this article. Such a shame as bees are lovely things to have in the garden (and so is lavender so an even better excuse to plant some):

    Modern garden designs with few or no flowers and hybrid plant varieties are contributing to the demise of the native bumblebee, which has declined in some cases by 95 per cent since the 1960s, conservationists said yesterday.

    Gardeners at the Chelsea Flower Show next week are to be urged to grow traditional cottage varieties such as lavender, rosemary and geraniums - not pelargoniums - to provide nectar for bees to make up for the decline of wild flowers in farmland.

    The National Trust and English Nature, the Goverment's conservation advisers, are pressing gardeners to avoid modern plant hybrids, such as petunias and Mexican salvias - which are sterile and have no nectar - and to keep enough nectar-rich plants to nourish bumblebees all season long.

    There are now 21 native bumblebee species and six varieties of cuckoo bees, bees that dupe other bumblebees into looking after their young. Of these, six bumblebees remain widespread, while five are in serious decline with the Large Garden bumblebee, Bombus ruderatus, on the verge of extinction.

    The Large Garden bumblebee has suffered a decline of 95 per cent since the 1960s, as a result of the decline of wild flowers in the countryside.

    The disappearance of wild flower meadows and pastures has driven two bumblebees to extinction in Britain. Cullem's bumblebee, Bombus collamanus, was last seen in 1941. The short-haired bumblebee, Bombus subterraneus, was last seen in 1999.

    The decline of the native bumblebee, however, has coincided with the arrival of bees from Continental Europe as a result of global warming. England has gained Bombus hypnorum, which does not yet have an English name, as a result of rising temperatures.

    Bumblebees are the main pollinators of soft fruit, apples, pears, plums and vegetables and many ornamental and native garden plants, but unlike the honey bee, bumblebee colonies store only a few days' worth of energy reserves and are much more vulnerable to food shortages when flowers become scarce.

    Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust, said: "Without wild bees our gardens would be sterile places but we do not always give enough thought to how we manage our gardens to encourage these beneficial insects."

    "With over 15 million gardens across the country, gardeners collectively can make a huge difference."

    Conservationists say some of the least useful plants for bumblebees, along with sterile modern hybrids, are pansies, which have little nectar. On the other hand, the planting of red clover by organic farmers has led to a real boost for bumblebees.

    Bumblebees respond strongly to ultra-violet light, so they are most attracted to white flowers and also to purples, pinks, yellows and blues, so conservationists encourage the planting of flowers and shrubs with these colours. There are long and short-tongued varieties of bumblebee, too, so a garden that encourages bumblebees will have both shapes of flower.

    English Nature is encouraging people to visit its website,, for more advice on bumblebee-friendly gardens, or to call its inquiry service on 01733 455100.

  • #2
    PS: Isn't "Bombus Ruderatus" just a fabulous name for a Bee??


    • #3
      PS: Isn't "Bombus Ruderatus" just a fabulous name for a Bee??[/b]

      Yeah, almost onomatapeic!, (if that's spelt right)


      • #4
        Originally posted by Homer@May 16 2003, 4:23 PM

        Yeah, almost onomatapeic!, (if that's spelt right)
        Onomatopoeic according to

        "Buzzzzzz" "Hissssssss"

        Great names though!


        • #5
          Almost onomato-wotsit. Would be totally if you had a bee flying round going "there's no f*****g POLLEN!!!" or "I think your washing is S***!!" (very rude).


          • #6
            Yes with farming practices and use of pesticides our wild life is struggling, but i made my garden for wild life, F1 hybrids are okay in a few pots etc but are off no benefit, i sow seeds every september of the poached eggs plants, just plant in soil, containers and they are flowering by early may and they love it, my french lavender/some roses/clematis are flowering too so they will be getting well fed until the perennials get growing and flowering. I can sit in a chair for hours just watching bees taking the necter, a simple pleasure that is often spoilt when the gang start their noise at the back.


            • #7
              I guess by now you all know my views on wildlife!

              I love bees,

              when you are stressed you can sit somewhere and imagine you are in a cottage garden and the scent of the roses just filters to your nose.....

              with out imagining the buzz of the bees I am just not quite there!

              A 6foot collegue of mine is scared witless of buzzes as he calls them, he runs around waving his arms like a helicopter (sorry spinks)

              a real sight to see.

              and he is a gardener! and knows that he needs bees to make his stuff grow!

              I am always rescuing buzzes from the office before his shift starts!

              dont want them to get splatted!


              • #8
                I love those big fluffy bumble bees. In the summer I have my window opened almost permanently and at least once a day I get one buzzing around and then getting trapped inside. For some reason they don't seem to realise that if the flew down instead of up they'd get out. Silly bee's Oh, and one year a masonry bee built it's little nest inside one of the screw holes in my tape recorder which I used to have sitting on the window ledge. It would come every day and eventually filled up the hole. I didn't have the heart to move it. Not sure if its egg ever hatched though.

                "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


                • #9
                  just been getting excited!

                  the RHS chelsea show is starting tomorrow and dear darling Alan has given me a taster of whats to come!

                  bless that man!

                  have the urge to go out in the rain now and plant things!!

                  my sweet peas desperatly need planting out as they are now very leggy, still got loads of seeds to go in as well....

                  .....waiting for someone to but me a grow bag......mmmmm!


                  • #10
                    I've just watched the pre-Chelsea show. Did you see that part about exhibitors gluing the flowerheads on and painting dead trees green??? Hmmmm.

                    Bees are the bees-knees. I never realised they were endangered and am now more conscious of the ones that are in my little garden. Lots of the little ones and a couple (or it might be the same one) of the big proper bumble type floating about.

                    Been busy getting those fuscias in the hanging baskets today ....


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jeannie@May 18 2003, 7:19 PM

                      I've just watched the pre-Chelsea show.* Did you see that part about exhibitors gluing the flowerheads on and painting dead trees green??? Hmmmm.
                      I did!!

                      and I quite believe it to!

                      It is all very highbrow and I think it costs about a grand to get a pitch so dont relly blame them painting and sticking!

                      would love to go one year, on the last day when they sell everything off...

                      ...sigh one day I will have a garden bigger than a table top!!

                      actually its amazing how many types of plans I have squeezed in!


                      • #12
                        My little garden is 40 foot by 15 foot and is crammed with stuff - even a large flowering cherry tree! I prefer a smaller garden. Much easier to cope with. Just a couple of hours pottering and mowing during the week and the rest of the time is spent enjoying it.

                        I went to the Chelsea flower show one year and it was just heaving with people. It was so bad you couldn't really move freely and see stuff without either waiting in turn or elbowing your way through. Luckily the BBC does excellent coverage which makes up for it.


                        • #13
                          I also caught the item on the decline of bees.

                          We have foxgloves, clematis and various heathers which they seem to love??

                          I like those big round furry 'bumble bees'

                          as for wasps!!!

                          They get the rolled up newspaper every time!!!

                          "Take off and nuke the site from orbit- it's the only way to be sure!"

                          apologies if you are an "Aliens" fan

                          Posh Noodle - NOT for the likes of YOU!!