Candide Cuttings: Bumblebees in Trouble and Pyramids at BBC Gardener's World

Published on May 30th 2019

Bumblebees in Trouble

Bumblebees suffered heavily from last year's extreme weather, conservationists warn.
The UK witnessed everything last year: from snowstorms in March to droughts in the Summer, without doubt, 2018 was a tough year for nature.
A new report from the Bumblee Conservation Trust points out that these extreme weather conditions hit bumblebee species extremely hard.
The cold weather in the first quarter of the year meant that bees got a slow start to the year, only reaching full numbers in July. Experts suggest that queens were late out of hibernation and slow to produce large numbers of bumblebee workers.
The summer heatwave caused further problems. It wilted the flowers earlier and quicker, reducing the available food sources for bees. A combination of these two events meant that most species declined more quickly than usual.
Every year, bee colonies loose about 5 to 10 percent of their workers, producing new ones only in spring.
A person with a purple flower in a field
The organisation used data from a countrywide network of hundreds of ‘BeeWalker’ citizen scientists, who recorded bumblebee sightings through the spring and summer.
On a positive note, a small number of rare species had very good years in 2018. Warmth-loving species, like the Brown-banded carder bee (B. humilis), the shrill carder bee (B. sylvarum), and the Large Garden bee (B. ruderatus) did not experience much disruption and are likely to experience only a minimal loss in numbers.

Plant Pyramids

Breeders of over 80 new plant varieties have joined forces to create a 'Plant Pyramid' for BBC Gardener's World Live.
A store front at day
The monumental pyramid will showcase over 4,000 plants, including new varieties of Garvinea the garden Gerbera, Eating Apple, Sunflower, Pelargonium, Nemesia, Rose, Foxglove, Catnip, Alstroemeria, Echinacea and many more.
A close up of a flower
Highlights of the Plant Pyramid include:
  • Nemesia ‘Lady Penelope’, one of the most anticipated launches, with a delicious fragrance and seemingly never-ending summer blooms
  • Petchoa ‘BeautiCal’, considered one of the hottest introductions, with prolific, long lasting flowers
  • Begonia ‘Sweet Spice Bounty’, one of the most floriferous scented begonias. Until 2021, Breeders Kerley & Co will donate 50% of royalty income from sales of the plant to the David Colegrave Foundation, supporting training in horticulture.
A close up of a flower
Peter Seabrook, writer and broadcaster, will host talks on the Pyramid Stage. He and Steve Bradley will be presenting their favourite picks of the new launches.
Peter Seabrook said “This is the biggest floral display that I have ever planned and helped to stage. It is a unique coming together of all the UK’s most well-known seed brands and many international breeding companies.”
BBC Gardeners' World Live is from the 13th to the 16th of June at the NEC Birmingham. You can get your tickets now.
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