I’m doing my blog post a day early this week because today is endangered species day. Now we all know you’ve got the ‘sexy’ endangered species, your tigers and pandas (disclaimer, I am not attracted to pandas) but I think it’s important to remember the endangered species who are a little bit closer to home.
We had bees on our land in Cornwall, this is me with them! It was an amazing feeling being able to handle them. Your body has a reaction to the buzzing, like a primal electricity going over you.
The symbol of Manchester is the bee and in the wake of the arena bombings a lot of people in Manchester got the bee as a tattoo. As I’m sure we all know, bees and other pollinators have had a pretty raw deal recently. Meadowlands are in sharp decline, monocultures dominate the countryside and we use poison to grow our food. There are a huge amount of challenges facing them, and we depend upon them for our own survival. They are rapidly becoming the most important endangered species of all.
Not only are they struggling because of large agricultural practices and destroyed environments, but even individual gardeners are creating a hostile terrain. Immaculately mowed lawns with no flowers and round up on the dandelions are all doing their part to hurt out bee friends. Often we feel like there is nothing we can do to help with large scale problems like this, but to put it into perspective the land taken up by gardens in the UK is bigger than all of our nature reserves. We have the opportunity as gardeners to make life easier for these guys as they are facing huge threats.
It doesn’t take a lot to make somewhere useful for pollinators and I think as a city Manchester should focus on getting bee friendly. This is something I’m going to focus on for this year, and hopefully by next endangered species day I’ll have helped make some spaces in this city better for bees.