Rosybee is located in south Oxfordshire and not far from Denman College which is the head office and training college of the Womens Institure. The WI have been great supporters of the 'bee cause' since they launched thier 'SoS for Bees' campaign at thier 2009 AGM. Based on this I thought it would make sense to and see if we could share ideas. Its been a very busy year but in October I finally managed to find time to contact their head gardener, John Towler, to offer some of my seasons-end stock. John is a real enthusiast about wildlife gardening and maintains Denmans garden with an inspired balance of providing masses of colour for the many visitors and sensitivity to a birds, beasts and insects. They even have a few bee hives tucked in under a group of fruit trees.
I was very kindly given a tour of the 14 acre garden; the long border is a joy for bee-lovers and I began to feel that my extra plants resembled the proverbial 'coals to Newcastle' but John is on a tight budget so I think my extra stock will find a good home.
John is particularly proud of his herb garden that has a sunny spot with tall hedging protecting it from the north to create a really sheltered corner. It comprises a set of lavender edged beds brimming with mature herbs that John has allowed to flower for pollen rather than keep tidy for the kitchen.
I have agreed to keep in touch with John and supply plants when I can as its such a wonderful
Based on this visit I have been inspired to work out a 'bee-friendly garden audit' that will allow me (or anyone else interested) to objectively assess to what extent a garden provides all round support for our buzzy friends. I am still working on the details but so far I think that Denman College will score a whapping 9 out of 10.