Help save the Shrill Carder Bee

Shrill Carder BeeI’ve blogged about this chap before. It’s the next species of Bumblebee likely to go kaput, and is particularly close to my heart because I we supposedly live in one of its last bastions. I’ve got everything crossed that we might see them in one of the meadows we’re working on. One of the best charities we support is The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and I was pleased to be Tweeted by them about a project for Shrill Carder Bees in Wales. They want to create wildflower-rich habitat (yes please!) to support rare bumblebees along a new 10km path in the Pembrokeshire National Park. Live For The Outdoors has drawn up a short list of 6 “eco projects”, of which this is one, from which the public votes a winner. Their favourite project gets 30,000 Euros from an outfit called the EOG Association for Conservation. The other choices are absolutely worthy but the BBCT scheme is absolutely urgent. Please vote for it here. Thank you.
Related Posts: Bumblebees

Flower of that Ilk

Charles Flower, who I visited today with Dr. Pippa Rayner (the BBCT’s inexhaustible Conservation Officer), is an unusual mix of absolute charm and studied determination. He was an early evangelist for wildflower meadows and has been working with enormous enthusiasm on promoting them for over 30 years. His Wiltshire farm is a joy; immaculate and beautifully concieved. He is very much a farmer and very much habitat rather than species driven, so his views are consequently well rounded and informed by the real world; one of his current concerns is the lack of underplanting in woodland schemes, for which there is no provision in Stewardship schemes. I commend you to his lovely book, Where Have All The Flowers Gone?, which explains a difficult subject clearly and in typically practical terms. As he points out, this is the problem with meadow creation; meadows are hugely alluring to folk, but they are put off by the mass of apparently conflicting advice about their establishment and management. There is no “one size fits all” answer to individual sites and circumstances. That’s the whole point.

Help for Bees

BBKA Calendar
BBKA Calendar
Today we’ve launched our historical herb collections, some of which might sound frivolous (Plague Garden?), but all of which actually have a serious intent. Although they’re a bit of fun, the collections’ historical context allows us to promote some unusual and half-forgotten herbs and native plants, and true species rather than less useful modern cultivars. All good stuff for pollinators, which is why half of the profit we make on them is going to either the LASI at Sussex University or the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. There are lots of good plants in the British Beekeeper’s Association 2010 (there’s a depressing thought) calendar as well, which I had a sneak preview of today. It seems like an ideal stocking filler for the beekeeper in your life, but perhaps more importantly there’s a lot of gardening advice here and information for anyone with a general interest in helping wildlife. Nice photos too. Profits all go to the BBKA; you can pre-order directly from them here.