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Jo anne, Thanks for the link to the initiative to protect and promote bees. I’ve been personally endeavouring to protect/promote bees (and other wildlife) in my projects. Their idea of wild flower meadows certainly provides the nectar and I have recently been involved in 2 Council schemes in the borough to create wild flower meadows (more will follow as funds become available). I also have input into many environmental schemes throughout the country and there are some great initiatives that have favourably had impact. However, although I am a campaigner and champion for our natural environment, I was a bit concerned with the ‘campaign for bees’ targets. For instance, they mention Mesnes Park as having manicured formal lawns which isn’t favourable for bees and suggest wild flower meadows. This is rather uniformed thinking in respect of Mesnes Park being a Grade II listed historic Victorian Park and should be treated as such. Those huge lawns are over 150 years old and part of our unique heritage, locally and even nationally. Also, the huge funding from the HLF stipulated that the park was to be returned to the original intentions of its designer. In addition, what they have failed to acknowledge is the huge amount of annual bedding providing nectar throughout the year, along with hundreds of trees whose flowers are incredibly important for bees; particularly Lime trees. Mesnes Park in its present and indeed former state is providing much favourable habitat to an abundance of wildlife. Another of their targets is Alexandra Park – the park actually already has a sizeable flower meadow. However, there are many parks in the borough with neglected areas (due to budget restraints) and unresolved areas (former bowling greens, etc.) that could have the potential for bees and other wildlife if converted and managed accordingly. But there is great opportunity outside of parks too. Domestic gardens can attract bees with just a little thought; my shrubs, herbaceous perennials and herbs attract an abundance of bees. In fact last year they made a nest in my garden! Also there is an abundance of derelict land that could be temporarily adapted before developers move in. As I travel the country as part of my work, I see many derelict sites being cultivated by volunteer groups, plus some wonderful community gardens (the best I’ve seen is in Hearn Hill, London). I’ve seen places where local businesses put the funds up to transform spare land as it enhances the environment around their offices. What I’d really like to see is motorway verges turned into wild flora meadows… and there are thousands of acres of them. Anyone looking for good advice on bees and bee keeping should visit Manchester and District Beekeepers at Heaton Park, Prestwich. Their HQ is in the historic Dower House within the park and they are open to the public every Sunday afternoon (although closed presently).
Replied: 19th Mar 2021 at 15:59