Strolling in the garden this morning, I followed the sound of a busy bumble bee to where it was flying about the crocuses, aconites, primroses and snowdrops, feeding on nectar. It made me think how much I enjoy listening to their humming in the flower borders, from early Spring through to the first frosts of Autumn.
With all its myriad of flowers, our garden depends on the pollination of honey bees, who dash about hither and thither, and their distant round, furry cousins, the humble bumbles, who trundle slowly and gently collecting pollen and nectar. A decline in their numbers could cause large-scale changes to our garden.
Their greatest threat is from pesticides and any chemicals, which, if poured on the earth, would affect also the welfare of invertebrates, insects and the birds who eat them. As a nature lover, wishing to live in harmony with all the creatures who visit our garden, it’s important to me to be as organic as possible.
To this end, I grow as large a variety of pollen-producing flowers as the garden will hold, even leaving early dandelions here and there to feed the queens. In Autumn, my husband helps me gather up all our leaf litter to ensure we have a good supply to put under our hedges where a queen might choose to hibernate, and, in early Spring, build her nest. In return, the bees buzz about keeping me company, all the while humming their soothing songs, as we go about our separate business in the garden.
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