CHAPMANSLADE village has been doing their bit to create a more bee-friendly environment following the advice from the Soil Association, who say the bee is in danger of extinction.
At the beginning of April, Adam Oakley, Charlene Ridler and Neil Miller, ably assisted by Frank Lake who in his time has been an enthusiastic beekeeper, joined forces to start a Village Voice Initiative arising from the Parish Plan, which has recently been adopted by the Chapmanslade Parish Council. Other villagers are joining the group, who call themselves ‘Bee Friendly Chapmanslade’ (BFC for short) all the time, including Katy Bootcamp, Jaimie Shore, and Ian and Sue Ridley.
The group explore and promote bee friendly practical activities that individuals and the community can do in and around the village.
To date this has resulted in a session at the Village Hall planting wild flower seeds in compostable pots for volunteers to cultivate and plant out either at home or alongside one of the village’s many footpaths.
Also, five wildflower mini-meadows have been planted at the Chapmanslade Memorial Recreation Ground and the group used Facebook to disseminate information to villagers such as ‘Reasons not to weed’ and ‘How to build your own bee house’.
The group said, “We have so much to learn, but among the many things we have learned while searching for information on bee protection/encouragement, one thing stands out: the importance of not weeding dandelions. For years many of us have routinely beheaded any dandelions sprouting in our gardens, then prised out the roots, which inevitably regrow with added vigour.
“We now realise this war on dandelions robs bees and up to 50 other insects of one of their favourite sources of pollen. If you don’t want the garden covered in dandelions, one answer is to continue to prise up the complete plants, re-site them in their own corner or plant pot, and delay beheading them until the flowers are about to die off.
“The BFC group were really pleased to see so many villages of all ages turn out for their first sowing of wildflower patches on the memorial playing field. Adam Oakley of Oakley Garden & Estate Machinery, Frome, did a great job with one of his machines preparing the ground, removing turf, clearing stones, sowing, stamping and watering the ground, whilst the children watered anyone who didn’t move fast enough!
“The result, five patches of wildflower mini-meadows. The hope is that within a few weeks the village can look forward to the sight of blooms attracting bees.
“In the near future the BFC group want to organise a ‘Build a Bee House’ workshop.”
‘Bee Friendly Chapmanslade’ says “Three cheers to Barters Plant Centre for supporting the group and for donating pots, carry-trays and pitting compost.
“Barters have lots of bee friendly plants for sale and the staff are very happy to show you which plants are best for your garden, and tell you how best to look after them.”
To contact the Bee Friendly Chapmanslade group, use the contact tab on www.chapmanslade .org.uk.