Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions
(mostly from passers-by while we’ve been working at the gardens)

Why do you need to garden especially for bees?

Bee populations have been declining rapidly over the last few decades, mainly because of habitat loss, the effects of industrial agriculture and the use of pesticides and herbicides (which destroy many plants that provided nectar and pollen), and disease. For more information, see the blog

 How many of you look after the gardens?

The regular team consists of four residents from the road running behind the gardens, but we have occasional group sessions with South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth members, e.g. to use weed wands on the paths to destroy weeds by heat (rather than using herbicides, whose safety is constantly being questioned, and which leave the paths looking untidy while the weeds die).

We also have various groups helping us survey the wildlife and wild flowers throughout the year, and the local preschool help us water, and look after one of the beds.

Why do you use mulch round some of the plants, and what do you use?

 We mulch to keep moisture in the beds, so we don’t have to use too much water; it also keeps weeds down, which saves on volunteer time and keeps the beds looking tidier. Generally we use a peat-free potting compost (New Horizon) 50:50 with two-year-old leaf mould.

If you don’t like plants grown in peat, where do you get them from?

Mostly we grow our own now, many of them from cuttings of plants put in when we dug out the gardens in 2014; we have also transferred from the team’s own gardens a number of plants that really attract bees, like the pulmonaria, coreopsis, penstemons, hyssop, geums and Michaelmas daisies (which are flowering now, in mid-July – it’s been a crazy year).