We are lucky enough to be involved with the Shorthaired Bumblebee Project. This was set up to try and reintroduce the extinct (in the UK) Shorthaired Bumblebee (bombus subterraneous) to the east of Kent. We have attended most of the bee releases every year (the queen bees are brought over from Sweden and quarantined until deemed fit enough to release in the wild in Dungenness) and also donate seeds to the project and supply their promotional seed packets to raise funds.
This garden party took place in a garden in Kent on a lovely sunny day last week. The purpose was to raise awareness of bees and how to garden for them. There were 2 sessions and in the afternoon one that I attended there were around 30 fellow bee enthusiasts! A stall was set up to buy bee merchandise and books and plentiful tea, coffee and cakes were supplied. Guests were encouraged to walk around the long and well-stocked garden and information posts were to be found with lots of information about the plants, how to create a meadow etc etc.
Dr Nikki Gammans, head of the Shorthaired Bumblebee Project and trainee intern Lucy Witter gave informative talks about bees and how to grow wildflower meadows for them – even a small unmown patch of your lawn will be of benefit to bees and other insects, so you don’t need acres to have a meadow!
A patch of Winter Savory by the patio area was a honeybee magnet!
A reminder that so-called weeds are beautiful and essential for our butterflies, bees and other insects.
We were also taken to the garden next door which had a small meadow area. They also helped the bees by providing bee nest boxes for solitary bees!
At the end of the day there was a raffle and I was very pleased to win a Lavender plant, also fantastic for bees!
To find out more about the Shorthaired Bumblebee Project and their work, please visit their website.
Written by Teresa Sinclair