Knoll Gardens was buzzing with activity last Saturday as hundreds of people spent the day with experts learning all about the 250 species of bee that live in the UK.
Honey lovers enjoyed tasting a selection of local honeys, whilst expert-led garden walks and talks helped visitors of all ages to begin to tell the difference between bumblebees, solitary bees and the more recognisable honey bee as well as identifying some the the best plants to grow to encourage more bees into your garden.
Knoll’s owner, Neil Lucas said, ”It has been wonderful to host so many highly knowledgeable people in the garden today and to know that there is a lot we can all do to help reverse the decline of bees across the country. We are already planning a rather special bee house here at Knoll, and I have spoken to many visitors today who will be doing the same, on a smaller scale, in their own gardens. I’d particularly like to thank Richard Comont from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Jane Adams of Dorset Wildlife Trust for their invaluable support”.
Internationally renowned for its naturalistic planting Neil’s gardening style also provides shelter and nesting material for a vast range of animals including bees and he has two top tips when it comes to choosing bee-friendly garden plants. “Try to avoid plants with double or densely-petalled flowers, not only may they lack pollen or nectar but they can also be hard for insects to access. And try to ensure you have plants in flower from early spring right though until late autumn.
“For many of us the buzzing of the bees is the sound of summer, but these incredibly industrious creatures, some no bigger than an ant, are also responsible for pollinating around 75% of the world’s food crops,” said Neil. “ It really is vital that we all do what we can to help them.”
‘Beautiful bees and glorious gardens’ was organised by the Knoll Gardens Foundation, a Wimborne-based charity which promotes the sustainable gardening ideas used at Knoll to help others support wildlife in their own gardens.