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Gardening Hints - August

bumble beeThe expectation that three rows of strawberries would do us proud in the garden was dented by some of the fruit turning ‘wizzened’! They had not been properly fertilised! This was also the case with the plums and red currents. Although at the time of blossom weather conditions were poor for pollination, things improved when the apples and the blueberries were in flower. My concern now is for the peas and beans which have been showing poor results. I have seen few bees if any in the garden. Alternatively there are lots of bumble bees, our progress picking fruit being interrupted, as these little fellows return to their ground nests under the red current bushes.

Reports over the last 25 years have seen the bee population more than halve: their numbers have tumbled. Bill Turnball; newscaster and beekeeper raised the temperature on BBC 2’s Horizon programme. He gave some very cogent reasons, much of it still conjecture, why this had occurred. There was not a great deal of proof from the various experiments going on at this time, but time might tell.

Certainly the Varroa Mite which hit this country in 1992 was a definite killer of the domestic bee. Not only that’ the viruses they carry cause malformations in the bee’s body parts. A bit like the elm beetle carrying the fungus that caused “Dutch Elm Disease”. We know how devastating that is!

Pesticides seem to have a lot to do with it and the ban by the European Union earlier this year of the pesticide class of Neonicotinoids which arrived here in the 1990’s; despite resistance by the UK Government, did seem to indicate some strong evidence. Certainly the experience of German Professor Randolf  Menzel clearly showed the effect of disorientation on a bee’s progress to and from the hive, after the bees were exposed to this chemical, can only be described as staggering. A study by Sussex University has claimed that pesticide accumulations  in the soil and water, potentially damage a wider range of wildlife and the soil itself.

Saying that, the decline of the bee has been ongoing since the 60’s. Anyone reading Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” would be heavily swayed in the direction of chemicals by her thinking. Her persuasive arguments started a trend in America which spread to most of the world and was the beginning of the high reduction of chemical use in both Agriculture and Horticulture. This saw most of the pesticides cleared off the shop shelf until there is now hardly any choice to rid ourselves of pests and diseases in the garden.

Benzine Hexachloride (BHC), Mercury, Heptachlor, Dieldrin: all gone now, but so often reported in the remains of dead birds, investigated throughout the UK.

Urban environments seem to be bucking the trend on honey production and the Paris urban area produces twice that of the Paris country area. Inner London was shown to have its own success probably caused by the diversified range of plants and trees giving a long succession of flower production through the year.

Whilst experiments continue with bumble bees and the turning of field headlands into wild flower areas gives positive results, it is the mono-cropping of our agricultural land into prairie farming that is giving cause for concern!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Yorkshire Landscape Gardens   T: 01977689858
The expectation that three rows of strawberries would do us proud in the garden was dented by some of the fruit turning ‘wizzened’! They had not been properly fertilised! This was also the case with the plums and red currents. Although at the time of blossom weather conditions were poor for pollination, things improved when the apples and the blueberries were in flower. My concern now is for the peas and beans which have been showing poor results. I have seen few bees if any in the garden. Alternatively there are lots of bumble bees, our progress picking fruit being interrupted, as these little fellows return to their ground nests under the red current bushes.

Reports over the last 25 years have seen the bee population more than halve: their numbers have tumbled. Bill Turnball; newscaster and beekeeper raised the temperature on BBC 2’s Horizon programme. He gave some very cogent reasons, much of it still conjecture, why this had occurred. There was not a great deal of proof from the various experiments going on at this time, but time might tell.

Certainly the Varroa Mite which hit this country in 1992 was a definite killer of the domestic bee. Not only that’ the viruses they carry cause malformations in the bee’s body parts. A bit like the elm beetle carrying the fungus that caused “Dutch Elm Disease”. We know how devastating that is!

Pesticides seem to have a lot to do with it and the ban by the European Union earlier this year of the pesticide class of Neonicotinoids which arrived here in the 1990’s; despite resistance by the UK Government, did seem to indicate some strong evidence. Certainly the experience of German Professor Randolf  Menzel clearly showed the effect of disorientation on a bee’s progress to and from the hive, after the bees were exposed to this chemical, can only be described as staggering. A study by Sussex University has claimed that pesticide accumulations  in the soil and water, potentially damage a wider range of wildlife and the soil itself.

Saying that, the decline of the bee has been ongoing since the 60’s. Anyone reading Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” would be heavily swayed in the direction of chemicals by her thinking. Her persuasive arguments started a trend in America which spread to most of the world and was the beginning of the high reduction of chemical use in both Agriculture and Horticulture. This saw most of the pesticides cleared off the shop shelf until there is now hardly any choice to rid ourselves of pests and diseases in the garden.

Benzine Hexachloride (BHC), Mercury, Heptachlor, Dieldrin: all gone now, but so often reported in the remains of dead birds, investigated throughout the UK.

Urban environments seem to be bucking the trend on honey production and the Paris urban area produces twice that of the Paris country area. Inner London was shown to have its own success probably caused by the diversified range of plants and trees giving a long succession of flower production through the year.

Whilst experiments continue with bumble bees and the turning of field headlands into wild flower areas gives positive results, it is the mono-cropping of our agricultural land into prairie farming that is giving cause for concern!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Yorkshire Landscape Gardens   T: 01977689858


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