The year kicked off with Alison giving a successful Tedx talk at Warwick University on the Urban Buzz; why we need to create bee-friendly cities to benefit both humans and pollinators.
Our work with corporate clients Grosvenor Estates and KPMG allowed us to put some of this thinking into action. We were not only teaching beekeeping in Mayfair and Belgravia but raising awareness with head gardeners from Eaton Square to Canary Wharf about the importance of year-round forage for bees in cities and the need for bee habitats. And by partnering with roofing company Wild about Roofs we were instrumental in getting lavender roofs installed as a retro-fit on Grosvenor properties in Mayfair.
We have also helped a law firm and its gardner to change their planting scheme to begin transforming its large roof terrace into a haven for bees. Will see the initial results in late spring.
We worked more closely with River of Flowers, creating bee pastures, wild flower meadows and fragrant walks on the Clapham Manor housing estate in south London with the help of Lambeth council and some fabulous local residents; young and old.
We also created an attractively packaged Urban Bees and River of Flowers pollinator seed mix which will be on sale this coming spring.
Urban Bees continued to support the Honey Club in King’s Cross with meet-the-bees sessions at the Skip Garden for Global Generation’s young people and business members of the Honey Club. Brian also inspired many construction workers on the King’s Cross development with his stories about the amazing workings of the bee hive. Some of which was captured on film.
Taster days at Camley Street Nature Park continued to prove popular. We also ran a few at Regent’s Park this year as well, including one all day out-door course as it was such a warm September day.
The highlight of the year for the bees was without doubt the delightful weather. After a few bad years, the spring and summer of 2014 couldn’t have been better; an early warm spring, followed by a a long, very warm summer that carried into October giving bees the chance to collect an abundance of ivy pollen and nectar before the onset of winter. They also produced copious amounts of delicious honey after the disappointing yields of previous years. As a result, 2014 King’s Cross honey should be available well into next year.
The other good news was the launch of the government’s pollinator strategy. While it fails to call for more independent research into bee-toxic pesticides, and has little clout when it comes to turning the countryside and cities bee-friendly it does make some good suggestions and government produced this great ‘call to action’ video.
We will have to wait and see what impact the first year of the temporary EU ban on some bee-toxic pesticides has had in 2014.