The Blooms for Bees team wants to improve bedding plant recommendations to support pollinators.
The new Blooms for Bees project is looking for citizen scientists to take part in an experiment to assess ‘Mignon’ dahlias, to determine their value for bumblebees and whether the various colours differ in their attractiveness. Many bedding plants have been bred for appearance, often to the detriment of their value to pollinating insects, and the Blooms for Bees team wants to improve bedding plant recommendations to support pollinators.
You will be provided with seed for purple, red and white dahlias, and asked to grow three plants of each colour. You will need to monitor the flowers in each colour group for five minutes, at least once a month, and take a photograph of each visiting bumblebee that you see. You’ll be able to report your observations using the free Blooms for Bees app, available on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets from April and featuring an identification guide for all of the UK’s 25 bumblebee species. If you do not have a smartphone or tablet, you can submit your photos online.
Blooms for Bees is a lottery-funded partnership between Coventry University, Garden Organic, the RHS and Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which aims to promote and improve gardening for bumblebees. To find out more and sign up for the dahlia trial, go to http://www.bloomsforbees.co.uk/Enjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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