Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Parish Life - July 2015

A couple of months ago, I was about to take a shower, when I paused to hear a strange kind of humming from the ceiling above my head. It wasn’t consistent, but more like an intermittent “Buzzzz...bzzzzt....bzz.................bzzt....” This noise continued, day and night, and became louder and even more busy as time went on. We have had wasps’ nests in the loft, but this noise was different. I could find no evidence of a nest when I explored the attic, but by observing the outside of the house, I discovered that we had Tree Bumblebees as lodgers. These insects do no damage to the framework of the house, but enter through spaces that have been discovered by mice. Apparently, the bees get very excited by the smell of mouse urine and follow the trail, establishing a colony where the mice have been (in more ways than one!) By the end of the season, there can be a colony of 300 – 400 individuals.

I am quite proud of the fact that the garden around our house is very “bee-friendly” with lots of nectar-providing plants. Sadly, many of the pretty bedding plants that are on sale in Garden centres do not provide accessible nectar, having been bred for their floppy, attractive petals. Begonias, petunias and the more elaborate dahlias are not good for bees. Single dahlias, verbenas, heucheras and many herb plants such as lavender, rosemary, chives and borage are very bee-friendly. Fruit plants, for example, apples, plums, quinces, strawberries and raspberries, are much loved by bees and give us the added benefit of something sweet to eat.

In St. Giles’ churchyard, we are still addressing the issue of providing good nectar sources. Betony, Scabious (Devils’ Bit and Field), Nettle-leaved Bellflower and St. John’s Wort will all be in evidence in July. The flowers are of varying sizes, which suits different insects with short or long tongues, to access the nectar. We have two work sessions in July, as it is the busiest growing season; we shall be carrying out our usual maintenance tasks, as well as enjoying refreshments and good company. Tools and gloves will be available. Please come and join us in some open-air exercise and care of the environment. The dates for your diaries are Saturday 4th and 25th July, 9.30 a.m. to 12 noon. Come to one session, or even better, two, to see the haven for wildlife that surrounds the church.

No comments :

Post a Comment

If you have any questions about to coming along to a session or the work we do at the churchyard, or if you just want to comment on what you've read here - we'd really like to hear from you.