BBC presenter Alys Fowler is urging gardeners to make use of their time off this Easter by making their gardens more bee-friendly, in an effort to help essential species threatened by habitat loss, pesticides and climate change.
Fowler, best known for her role on the long-running British TV programme Gardeners’ World, has provided advice for those with green fingers to make their backyard more accommodating for bees as part of Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign.
Her tips include planting nectar and pollen-rich flowers, providing a clean source of drinking water in a shallow bowl, and allowing edible plants such as coriander and rocket to flower so that bees can enjoy them, too.
Gardeners can also build an easy-to-make “bee hotel”, with instructions available on Friends of the Earth’s website.
“The government must strengthen its plan to protect bees and other pollinators – but gardeners have a key role to play, too”, she said.
“Taking steps to make your garden bee-friendly brings in other beneficial insects and wildlife too, helping your garden to find its natural balance. When the balance is right, there is no such thing as a pest problem, meaning less work for you.
“In return, bees will pollinate your fruits and vegetables, giving you more strawberries, apples and tomatoes to enjoy.”
A recent EU study revealed that the plight of Britain’s bees is one of the most desperate in Europe.
As key pollinators, many species of bee provide essential services to the global economy, yet they are under threat from pesticides, habitat loss, climate change and disease.
In March, the government opened a consultation over the UK’s National Pollinator Strategy, aimed at protecting bees and another insects.
The consultation will run until May, though campaigners have strongly criticised the government’s draft policy, arguing it is too lenient on pesticide use.
“Green-fingered gardeners are usually green-minded too, so this Easter we hope they’ll make their gardens bee-friendly to keep Britain blooming and help protect these crucial pollinators”, said Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins.
“But we need the government to take action as well by ensuring its upcoming National Pollinator Strategy is strong enough to protect our bees from all the threats they face.”
Photo: William Warby via Flickr