We’d admit that our relationship with bees has been rather fractious of late. On a recent photographic mission to shoot some hives at Barrington Court, the fuzzy residents of our subject matter took umbrage at our close proximity to their wooden abode, scrambled their most aggressive squadron and went on the offensive – resulting in multiple stings, massive swears and a whole bunch of useless, blurry pictures*
Of course, we can forgive them for their barbed misdemeanours, and are clearly more than happy to welcome them (and their pollinator pals) into our own gardens to work their magic. It can be tricky striking a balance between your own gardening needs and that of the various visiting (and resident) wildlife – this book aims to guide you in the right direction.
There’s plenty of practical, easy fix ideas for the pollinator friendly gardener to consider, from the reduction in mulching borders (bad news for burrowing bees) to the construction and installation of ‘insect hotels’**. A nice touch is the ‘ask the experts’ sections, which bolster the flowery talk with a spot of science. Add to this the liberal sprinkling of pollinator facts and it makes for a breezy, readable, fact-packed resource.
One thing to note is the North American focus. Not entirely surprising – it’s an American book after all – but it does mean a few sections will have little relevance for readers residing in the western hemisphere.*** Likewise, the excellent pollinator friendly plant list needs to be used judiciously, but look closely and you’ll find plenty of UK friendly species lurking among their American cousins.
Whether you are an apian-enthusiast or an aspiring butterfly-buddy, there’s plenty here to get stuck into. If you were a bee, think of this book as a bright, inviting, pollen-packed flower. Dive in and lap it up.
Pollinator Friendly Gardening is written by Rhonda Fleming Hayes, and published by Voyageur Press.
* Nick was the closest to the hive, and watching him flee from the scene with his hair full of bees had me crying with laughter. However, the hilarity came to an abrupt, painful end when a ‘lone wolf’ decided to extend the field of battle and scored a direct hit, right between my own, tear-streaked eyes.
** I’ve stayed in a few of these.
* ** There’s a lovely section on hummingbirds, but unless a mother of all storms sends a few across the Atlantic and down through the Bristol Channel, I’m not expecting to see them in my garden anytime soon.
Thanks to the publishers for sending us our review copy