Anthony’s blog

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Early summer gardening for bumblebees

My garden has once again began to take on its summer colours. As the last tulips and dicentra go over and the final few muscari and daffodils get deadheaded, a new bunch of blooms are opening.

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Inspiring the next generation of conservationists

I’m including in this post a photo of my nephew, Jason. Jason is four years old, and lives back at home in Northern Ireland. So I don’t get to see him as much as I’d like to, but when I do go home, I spend a lot of time in the garden with him. There I show him the plants, tell him their names, and show him the wildlife to be found around the place.

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Getting ready for Gardening Scotland 2014

One of my favourite gardening shows, Gardening Scotland, is happening at the end of May, and there’s an awful lot to do to prepare for it! While the show gardens will now be sourcing their plants and adding the finishing touches to their designs, I’m busy organising our stand there. We’ll be there for three days, so that’s a lot of leaflets and displays to get ready!

Most importantly though, I’ve been getting in touch with some of our volunteers who live nearby, to ask them to help out. After I sent out my initial requests for volunteers, I was gladdened to see that so many replied to say they’d love to help out. For me it feels like the work we’ve been doing at BBCT over the past few years, to support and train our volunteers, has paid off. Many of these volunteers will have been at our training days in the past, and this is just the kind of thing we’d hope they’d enjoy doing. So now I have three volunteers per day, helping me to spread the message about the plight of the bumblebee to more people. Now all we need to do is pray for sunny weather!

Click here to visit the Gardening Scotland website.

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Blaeberry bumblebee bonanza!


My search to see the Blaeberry bumblebee (Bombus monticola) has featured in severeal of my blogs in the past. It started with my (unsuccessful) search in 2012, when I climbed hills that were well-known Blaeberry bee sites. Then I was extremely lucky to find a single male of the species last year, just as the summer came to an end. But this year I’ve hit the motherload!

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Gardening without peat

I’m rarely out of the garden in the spring and summer months. In fact, I’m writing this from my garden, and when I look in front of me I can see the lapis-blue muscari and narcissi dancing in the breeze. The saxifrages are just coming into bloom too, and a few tulips are budding. I do my best to have a garden full of flowers and wildlife, but I’ve been concerned lately with the amount of peat that goes in to producing compost for gardens. Peat is a natural material that has been built up over thousands of years in the boglands of the UK and the rest of Europe. It’s used in compost because of its remarkable ability to hold water and nutrients, making it a very attractive product.

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