Normally I am pretty much a Ken Thompson fan, enjoying immensely and learning a lot from what he has to offer in the way of really helpful stuff for gardeners.
I would, however, like to register a bit of a protest about something Ken wrote in Telegraph Gardening on June 15 about the ecologically pointlessness of the gardening public buying-in bumblebee nest-lets to keep in their gardens and allotments – because what he had to say absolutely missed the point, I think, about why many gardeners (as opposed to commercial tomato-growers, for example) buy bumble bees in the first place.
It is surely all about the very simple pleasure the bees bring as they go to and fro from their little boxes (or their slightly twee ‘hives’).
Bombus terrestris, the buff-tailed bumble bee is our commonest species, apparently. And even though the little chaps we see around the place abuzz on the alliums or reeling drunkenly around on the sedums may not actually be ‘ours’, it is fun – and totally harmless – to imagine that they are.
And for households with children, a visibly busy bumble bee community can provide a useful reminder to the next generation of how important – and actually how gentle -are these charming little creatures whose presence we usually take for granted.
Only the silliest gardeners would imagine that by buying a box-full of bees they will be doing anything to save the planet or even much to pollenate our crops. And there are, after all, plenty of less responsible ways to spend money on your garden: on obtrusive garden lighting, extravagant and inappropriate ‘water features’ and colonies of nasty Chinese plastic meerkats and other atrocious nicknackery.
Nothing more to add. I leave everyone else to fight about the science.
- Bumble bees and their wooden ‘hives’ and lots of instructions for bee-ginners can be purchased from Dragonfli.
Image via Wikimedia Commons