When I saw on Twitter that Kew Gardens (a Royal Botanical Gardens and botanical research institute, for non-UK readers) were giving away free packets of wild flower seeds, my first thought (after ‘FREE STUFF!’ – love a bargain) was, ‘I know people who will get on board with this’. The couple of months between ordering the seeds and receiving them had, to be honest, rather put the initiative out of my mind. I’d also failed to tell my husband, so he was welcomed home one day with: “I forgot to to tell you I ordered 100 packets of seeds! Where shall we plant them?” Plant some we did, the rest we distributed to eager hands – friends and colleagues glad to be easily enabled to be part of the ‘Grow Wild’ initiative.
‘Grow Wild’ is the biggest UK campaign of its kind, giving away packets of seeds to help people transform their locality with native, pollinator-friendly plants. According to the Grow Wild website we have lost 97% of wild flower meadows in the UK since the 1930s. I love how they describe it on their website: “we have lost….” Not just our already suffering bee populations (read more here about the billions (in pounds) of implications of this for our food supplies). Not just a nation, a government, a botanical gardens. We have lost them; we miss out when we lack their beauty and their diversity in our world. We lose out as individuals, but we can act as a collective. Kew Gardens is not just raising awareness; it’s empowering people to action. It’s not just about giving away seed packets. It’s about bringing people together; a community effort to reconnect with nature, and by doing so support the UK’s dwindling wild flower populations and threatened bees. There seems something fitting in community action to support animals that often exist and survive as a colony. Solidarity is key.
Coincidentally I borrowed a copy of Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry collection, The Bees, from my local library a few weeks ago. It covers a range of themes, including losses of other kinds, but the bees are a returned-to thread throughout. The ending of the poem ‘Virgil’s Bees’ particularly stayed with me:
are the batteries of orchards, gardens, guard them.’
Want to be part of guarding bees and wild flowers? At the time of writing, it looks like you can still order seeds from the Grow Wild website. You can also get involved in the Friends of the Earth Great British Bee Count.
I’d love to hear about what’s happening outside of the UK. Are you part of initiatives to support bees in your area?
Today’s soundtrack: Foy Vance // The Wild Swan
No seeds or library books were harmed in the making of this blog post.