Sunday 21 July 2019

Positive buzz: Bloom festival inspires gardeners to go wild for bees

Full bloom: Denis Flannery in his ‘Bee Positive’ show garden at Bloom in the Phoenix Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Full bloom: Denis Flannery in his ‘Bee Positive’ show garden at Bloom in the Phoenix Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Gardeners are being encouraged to "bee positive" about dandelions and embrace the wildflowers to help save our native pollinators.

A third of Ireland's species - including 77 solitary bees, 21 bumblebees and the honeybee - are at risk of extinction.

The 'Fingal Bee Positive' garden is one of the simplest yet potentially most influential spaces at the Bloom festival this year.

Denis Flannery, park superintendent for Fingal County Council, is clear we need to do much more to save our bees.

"We wanted to change the perception of dandelions with the garden," Mr Flannery said.

"I know a lot of people still view dandelions as weeds and associate the wildflowers with an area of garden that's unkempt. The immediate reaction for some people is to pull them but I'm hoping with this garden people will start to leave them where they are.

"Dandelions are attractive to bees as early in the spring the wildflowers are a pinch point. Bees are just coming out of hibernation, they're very hungry and need to reproduce."

The garden, sponsored by the local authority and Technical University Dublin, is designed to encourage all garden lovers attending the festival to include pollinator-friendly green spaces at home.

Mr Flannery said: "There's huge growth and development so with spaces like this we are trying to secure the future of pollinators."

Bloom begins on Thursday at Phoenix Park, Dublin - see bloominthepark.com.

Irish Independent

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