I've not had much success in the garden this year; I've not had the time to dedicate to growing lots of veg, and to be honest I've really missed the evening watering and the gentle therapy of digging, but I did manage to get some flowers planted - I always choose the ones marketed as 'bee-friendly', because the thought of living on a planet where bees have declined by 50% in the last twenty-five years is frankly terrifying. We've got several large lavender bushes, a huge (I'm talking tree-sized!) fuchsia, towering 6ft hollyhocks, laden with palm-sized pink flowers, and some deep purple and pink veronica, and I also added some bishop's weed, trailing lobelia, alyssum and nasturtiums. The RHS have a brilliantly comprehensive list of plants and flowers that are perfect for our pollinators, and can be found at any good garden centre or DIY store - you can find it here.
The plight of the bees is something that people are starting to take more seriously, and quite rightly; bees are largely responsible (with some assistance from butterflies and other insects) for pollinating flowers and crops - they're natures way of providing us with food, and without them, we're looking at a very bleak world with rising food prices and increasing chemical use. Taylor's Tea, famous for their incredible fruit and herbal flavours (we've been drinking the sweet rhubarb every summer for years!), have dedicated their most recent campaign to saving the lives of bees everywhere, with their 'Grand Beedapest Hotel' - it's one of the most impressive and intricate things I've ever seen, so do make sure you watch the video below!
When they got in touch and asked if we wanted a bee hotel for the garden, I jumped at the chance (they also included a few boxes of tea, a beautiful handmade mug, a beeswax candle - my favourite! - and some wildflower seeds); we nailed it to a small piece of dowel, and nestled it amongst the lavender, mint and hollyhocks ready for the bees to move in. Bee hotels are vital for the survival of lone bees - while most tend to reside in a hive, there are a few that choose to go it alone, and bee hotels give them somewhere to nest and shelter. They're also great for urban bees that live in cities and towns, because they replicate the natural environment that they choose to live in.
I think this is probably one of the best campaigns I've come across in a long time; you all know I'm mad for nature and the environment, so this really made me smile. For more information on any of Taylor's wonderful teas, or the campaign, head to the website - you can even win a trip to Kew Gardens!
Many thanks to Taylor's of Harrogate for collaborating with me on this post. I was honoured to be included in the campaign!