Holker gardeners offer bee-friendly tips and advice
THE award-winning gardeners at one of the region’s most historic stately homes are urging people to follow their top tips to help protect the humble bumble bee.
Holker Hall, near Grange-over-Sands, is renowned for its beautiful grounds filled with breath taking horticultural displays.
Now, its head gardener Glyn Sherratt has said everyone can do something to help make the world a friendlier place for bees – even if they don’t have their own garden.
He is offering advice to enable people to encourage these vital pollinators to coincide with World Bee Day (May 20).
Glyn’s recommendations include growing native varieties of flowers and plants, sowing wildflower seeds in the back garden and staying clear of pesticides and chemical weed killers where possible.
Glyn, who trained at the renowned Kew Gardens in London, said bees play an essential role in the environment – not only in keeping gardens healthy, but in maintaining food supplies across the world.
“Bees are vital to our ecosystem and carry out the essential role of pollination,” he added.
“Their numbers are declining however which is a great concern.
“Fortunately, there are steps everyone can take to become bee friendly, no matter how big or small their garden, or even if they don’t have a garden of their own at all.
“Bee friendly plants can be grown in a container on a balcony for instance.
“Doing one small thing to help could actually have a big impact if as many people as possible take part.”
There were once 26 types of bees in Britain. A number have already become extinct, with others now found only in small geographic areas.
Bees move from flower to flower to collect nectar and pollen. In doing this they pollinate plants and vegetables.
The gardening team at Holker create meadowland every year to ensure biodiversity in the grounds.
This involves growing wildflowers in the acres of parkland surrounding the 400-year-old property as well as setting aside space within the formal gardens themselves for native species to thrive.
Glyn advised people to plant species such as lavender, foxgloves and borage – all loved by bees.
Leaving grass long during peak flowering periods is also beneficial, as is mowing grassy areas in the early evening where necessary when it is least likely to cause them harm.
And stricken bees found lying on the ground can often be revived with a drink of sugar and water on a spoon.
He said: “Bees are crucial, without them we wouldn’t have gardens like Holker.
“The good news is that everyone can do something to help improve the environment for them.”
Holker Hall and Gardens is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday every week.