It was truly amazing that Europe voted to support the partial ban on neonicotinoids this week, not least because it demonstrates a shifting awareness and consciousness of the importance of pollinators. However, although the restrictions will help enormously, they will not in themselves stop bee decline.
We need to continue the momentum we have built up on the pesticides issue, but also we all need, urgently, to PLANT MORE FLOWERS!
We have lost a staggering 98% of wildflower meadows and grasslands in the UK since the 1940’s. It is difficult to change agricultural practices overnight, but it is easy for those of us with gardens to fill every available space in ours with nectar & pollen rich flowers.
Many people say they haven’t room for flowers because they are using it all to grow fruit & veg – but without the flowers to sustain the pollinators throughout their life-cycles….. there will BE no fruit & veg!
Others say they can’t afford to buy plants or seeds, but there is not a gardener on the planet who would not willingly and freely share cuttings or seeds from their established plants.
If you are wondering what to plant, just go to your local garden centre and buy whatever flowering plants are covered with bees…..or look in your neighbours’ gardens to see which of their plants are being enjoyed by bees and ask for a cutting, or seeds when they set seed.
My favourite website for information on attracting pollinators to your garden is Foxleas:
And my favourite book is the recently published ‘Plants for Bees’:
Brigit ‘Bee’ Strawbridge is probably best known as one of the stars of the very successful BBC series ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ and is an enthusiastic and very successful campaigner for the planet. Brigit has been a major influence in spreading the word about bee decline and the dangers of neonictotinoids throughout media outlets and social networking. She offers talks and workshops throughout the UK and has written a number of hugely inspiring articles for the national press and many environmental websites. You can follow Bee’s fantastic blog here.