Gardeners play vital part for environment

POLLINATOR Friends of the Earth has created a leaflet explainig how people can help bees and other animals
POLLINATOR Friends of the Earth has created a leaflet explainig how people can help bees and other animals
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I was recently cycling in Suffolk and at one point looked across a prairie-size field with no sign of life other than two massive farm machines.

This scene goes some way towards explaining the serious depletion in populations of common garden birds, bees and other pollinators.

Farmland without habitats with soil crushed by gargantuan machines and laced with growth promoters and systemic pesticides is not a place for healthy birds and bees.

Without this little insect British farmers would have to spend almost £2 million pollinating their crops and most of our wildflowers would be gone forever.

So far experts reckon 20 species of bee are extinct and a further 35 are threatened.

Fortunately, the EU has come to the rescue by banning bee-killing pesticides called neonics used by farmers to control certain types of pests like aphids and root grubs.

Millions of gardeners play a vital part in preventing extinction.

A total of 80 per cent of the population have access to a garden, an allotment and there are pots, window boxes and baskets.

Flowering herbs like marjoram, chives and thyme, as well as providing flavouring for the food we eat, are also popular with bees.

Fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, beans and strawberries are rich in pollen and then there are flowers and shrubs like foxgloves, echinacea, lavender and verbena are fodder-rich too.

Garden centres and nurseries have been quick to see the opportunities of selling bee-friendly varieties.

Keeping a corner as a wild garden creates a micro world of creatures that include a plentiful supply of food for wild birds.

An old wall, pile of rotting logs and a fruit tree past its prime are ideal habitats for the 200 species of solitary bees.

Friends of the Earth has been working with partner groups campaigning for a healthier environment to help bees and other creatures.

We’ve prepared a leaflet explaining how to play a part, which features 28 great plants for bees.

Please visit the website for a PDF document on everything you need to know at foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/20-things-you-need-know-about-bees-booklet-47366.pdf