Why is the bee population in decline and what can we do to help?

There are more than 200 different species of bee found in the UK – and it is no secret that their population numbers are declining.

beees

Different types of bee include bumblebees, honey bees and solitary/masonry bees. All of them play a key role in the pollination of commercial fruit, nut and vegetable crops across the world. Without bees, these crops would have to be pollinated through other (very costly) means, ultimately increasing the price of our supermarket fruit and vegetables.

The plight of bees is largely due to changes in the UK’s countryside and agriculture over recent decades. Areas which were once covered with wildflower meadows have now been destroyed to make way for more agricultural activity.

flower-meadow-wildflowers-meadow-spring-132727

Bees, especially bumblebees, pollinate wildflowers, allowing the flowers to reproduce and produce seeds. The wildflowers themselves are the start of a very complex food chain that helps to sustain birds, mammals and other insects – if the bumblebee population declines so will the wildflowers – and vice versa – affecting thousands of other species of wildlife.

Fortunately, efforts are now being made to help farmers provide bees with areas rich in flowers and nesting sites. If you’re a farmer or landowner, find out how you can help here.

Gardening for bees

We can all make a difference to encourage bees into our garden – even if you’re a beginner gardener or have a small garden, it doesn’t matter, just planting one flower can help!

lavender bees

The RHS’s website has a great list of wild and garden plants that bees love. Generally, bees are most attracted to purple flowers because that colour is most visible to them. It is also important to make sure the flowers you choose are not too narrow or tunnel-like, otherwise the bee will not be able to get to the centre.

The use of pesticides can be harmful to bees – it is better to use biological control or non-pesticide, organic treatments where possible.

dandelions

Flowers which we consider to be weeds such as dandelions are actually firm favourites amongst bees, so leaving one or two in your garden won’t hurt!

Insect Insect Hotel Bee Hotel Bees Wild Bees

You can also make a nesting site in your garden. This is particularly beneficial to masonry bees who like to nest alone in small holes and tunnels. Small tubes placed around the garden or holes drilled into pieces of wood are great ways to create a home.

Share with us how you’re helping bees in your garden!

Georgina

Exploring the beautiful gardens at Thrive

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Thrive gardens in Reading.

IMG_7066

Since 1978 the charity has been helping change the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health through gardening, and I found the scale of the work undertaken at Beech Hill in Reading truly remarkable.

I saw the Thrive Trunkwell Garden Project which is set in a Victorian walled garden next to Thrive’s head office.  It features five small gardens, known as the Garden Gallery, for people with specific disabilities.

Each garden has a name:

  • Hearts and Minds Garden – created for stroke survivors or people with heart disease
  • Out of Sight – created for people who have a visual impairment
  • The Journey – created for people recovering from a mental illness, particularly depression.  I found this garden a beautiful and inviting place to sit and relax
  • IMG_7060The Unexpected Gardener – a stylish garden for older people

unxpected gardener

  • Just for Fun garden – created for children and young people with special educational needs

Run by volunteers, the Thrive Trunkwell Garden Project enables disabled gardeners to develop their skills using a variety of plants and has areas for growing herbs, fruit and vegetables.  The site also includes a glasshouse and polytunnels, a bee border, a tree nursery, a large wildlife pond and a shop selling plants grown at the project.

Thrive therapists work with more than 100 disabled people each year ranging in age from 14 to 70 years.  The charity also runs gardening programmes in London, Birmingham and Gateshead helping people who want to garden at home, on an allotment or in a community setting.

The work the charity do is amazing, giving confidence and independence to all those that attend through gardening.

Aroonaa

My latest guest blog, now a couple of months in!

There are SO many different types of gardening equipment available. I realised this as I was writing up product descriptions for 13 new garden tractors. Lots of them were very similar, yet had slight differences which I had to outline – not being a garden tractor expert myself, it is harder than it seems to know what readers want to know about in just 100 words. Some of them even charge your phones whilst you ride them!

I’ve been delving into the world of gardening bloggers and podcasts, researching ways in which the Paskett PR clients can get their products talked about through a range of different platforms. There are quite a few of them out there, all offering their own tips and tricks.

The other week I used ‘Agility’ for the first time, which is a programme that contains newspaper, magazine and website contacts. You can then put together a personalised spreadsheet of publications which for instance, only talk about the latest gadgets or interior design. This is great for creating contact sheets for a client on places that their products may be able to get featured.

pexels-photo-60324

It’s a cliché, but no two days are the same

As you can see I’m always kept busy, which is great because even though I’m only here once a week I’m still learning lots about working in PR, and helping where I can with different research tasks.

I noticed at Uni the other week that the Derby Internship Programme has lots of new roles being advertised ready for April. I would definitely recommend an internship to anyone to truly get a feel for the environment that you want to work in. It also gives you work experience which will look great on your CV!

Olivia

If you don’t like the view consider growing a hedge

House developers from the South have managed to acquire several fields around my home and have started work on building 140 houses. Both local authorities unanimously rejected the application and more than 3000 local people in and around Uttoxeter signed a petition against it. But the developers went to appeal and a planning official from Bristol who clearly knew Uttoxeter like the back of his hand – not – said yes, destroying these ancient fields.  The area is known as Oldfields.

…Hey ho, so much for history and local democracy.

So, what to do? There is a very old traditional hedge that separates one of the fields from our view and this will be terrific in the summer, when in full leaf. But as I write the vision of diggers, dumper trucks and workmen is all too clear from our home – not to mention the noise.

Creating screening hedges

IMG_0551

My wife and I have taken lots of advice and settled on a three-pronged approach. I have bought a quantity of black thorn which are about 18” high. I need to know where the real gaps are when the hedge is in leaf so, I have planted them in large pots that currently stand in a sheltered walled garden. I shall put them out strategically into the hedge in the summer.

Phase two is a line of 35 leylandii that will fill in another gap. These were planted a couple of weeks ago, and are two meters high and pot grown and, assuming the rabbits leave them alone, they will develop into a dense view and noise absorbing hedge that I shall top off at about 20 feet.

To add some green contrast to the leylandii we have planted a double row of laurels, again I shall leave them to mature to a hedge of about 15 feet high. Between the leylandii and the laurels is a gap of about eight feet and I shall plant this out with various trees that I am growing on from seedlings. These include beech, sycamore, holly and birch.

We recognise we are late in starting this project but hope that within a few years we will have some protection from the view of the houses – and they from us.

Graham

Re-raising Lazarus the Prunus tree

Following Storm Doris we lost four trees in our Staffordshire garden but one of them – a very mature Prunus – has been renamed Lazarus.  It crashed down onto the lawns and was in a terrible mess.  The root ball was about four meters high.   I spent hours cutting off the top and all the branches leaving the main trunk which, at the root, was half a meter diameter.

Using my battery powered chain saw, and staring at the top and thinner end of the trunk, I cut up into useful log lengths.  The main trunk divided into two so there was plenty of cutting up. After a couple of hours my back was aching so I decided to step down into the hole behind the upturned root ball and began trimming off the main roots.

Suddenly, there was a creaking noise and very gently the root ball and remaining trunk, which is about three meters high, began to tip backwards.  I had to jump out of the root hole very rapidly or would have been partially buried.  Now, the remaining trunk, free of any foliage or side branches, is sitting in its original hole and looks rather like an American Indian totem pole.

img_0548

It will be very interesting to see if it re-roots itself and continues to grow.  Watch this space!

Graham

It’s now my 6th week as a Paskett PR intern!

These past few weeks have definitely flown by as there has been lots of interesting things that I have been involved in here as part of the Paskett PR team.

Last week I was lucky enough to go along to Warwick so that I could see for myself what a client meeting consists of. It was great to see the amount of ideas that get bounced around between everyone! I found that everything has to be organised and planned well in advance in order to make the biggest impact on the upcoming releases and campaigns.

No two days are the same

My time in the office has been spent carrying out various different research tasks. From finding the craziest, biggest hedges, to looking for people who might be interested in using the space in a window unit at a shopping centre. The exercises have definitely been varied.

One of the things I have been doing today is some writing for competitions that will be going in The Sun. I have realised it can actually be quite hard to cut down product descriptions for gardening tools – they have so many details and specifications, even for a fork and spade!

As I carry on with my internship I am looking forward to writing some press releases, and perhaps even seeing some of my work being published. Getting feedback from clients on research that I have done for them will also be rewarding, knowing that I am actively partaking in helping the team.

Keep an eye out for more of my intern updates!

Olivia

Are increasing badger numbers a factor in hedgehog decline?

pexels-photo-208941

There was an interesting article in The Times on Monday (6.02.17) “Hedgehogs go missing from gardens” discussing recent research carried out by the magazine BBC Gardeners’ World.   It highlighted the dramatic decline in these delightful animals in our gardens and total numbers have plummeted from 36 million in the 1950s to less than a million by 2003.

Continue reading

My first day as a Paskett PR intern!

Hi, my name is Olivia and I am currently doing an internship here at Paskett Public Relations – this is my first day. Exciting!

Right now I’m in my third year at the University of Derby, studying a joint honours degree in Professional Writing and Media Studies. These subjects have allowed me to delve into the world of Journalism, script writing and PR, which is something that I have had an interest in since gaining some experience whilst in sixth form.

Continue reading