Penrith Beekeepers News

Gardeners’ Question Time  Sunday 19th June

Enthusiastic gardeners gathered at Up Front Gallery last Sunday afternoon to present their questions to the panel of experts. The event was organised by Penrith Beekeepers Association to raise awareness of how bees and pollinators can be supported through more environmentally sensitive approaches to gardening.

Unfortunately, due to family commitments Eric Robson could not Chair the session, but Shelagh Todd (Head of Horticulture and Garden Design based at Lowther Castle Gardens part of Newton Rigg Training) was happy to rise to the challenge.  She managed to make the audience and the panel feel at ease. There was a lot of jovial banter between Shelagh and the panel which brought a great sense of fun and enjoyment to the proceedings. Shelagh acknowledged that the expert line-up of horticulturists on the panel, it made her job very easy. There were helpful and humorous references to bees throughout the afternoon.  The five horticulturists on the panel included:

Heather Birkett who is Senior Gardener at Acorn Bank Gardens. Heather was referred to as the  Queen Bee. Karen Roberts who is an independent Garden Designer & Fashion Designer. Karen was the Sewing Bee. Martin Ogle who has recently become a freelance Horticultural Consultant,  was the Drone Bee (a male bee).  Lyn Brunetti, an expert horticulturist who works as a hands-on gardener and part time lecturer in Horticulture at the School of Horticulture based at Lowther Castle Gardens. Lyn is always always buzzing with energy and is known as a ‘Busy Bee’  Louise Stoddart combines a variety of horticultural work with part time lecturing in Horticulture at the School of Horticulture based at Lowther Castle Gardens. Louise is just the bee’s knees when it comes to the world of horticulture”

The audience asked a varied range of questions, includingWhat’s attacking my peas? What hedge do I plant to attract wildlife? How do I produce a wildflower meadow? What flowers attract honeybees? Can you give hints on successfully growing plants using peat free compost. Why is my aunt’s waterlily not flowering? What’s wrong with my magnolia?

At the end of the GQT each panel member was asked to give the audience advice on what they should be doing in or gardens in June:

Karen advised a bit of pond maintenance & reminded everyone to net their strawberries to protect them from birds. Heather advised the cutting back of early flowering herbaceous perennials and reminded very one to regularly water and feed their plants. Martin suggested to take time to observe what’s happening in your garden. What’s looking good and note what’s not performing. Lyn was adamant that we should all be composting our grass clippings and cardboard boxes.  Finally Louise suggested we pour ourselves a glass of wine (or cup of tea) and take time to sit in our gardens and enjoy the flowers, scents, sounds, bees, butterflies, and other visiting wildlife.

At the end of the afternoon, four floral pots that had been donated by a member of Penrith Beekeepers Association were auctioned. The proceeds raised from the auction and other donations made during the afternoon will enable Penrith Beekeepers Association to send  the British Beekeepers Association £100 toward their appeal for support for beekeepers in Ukraine.  Ticket holders also had the opportunity to win a packet of ‘bee friendly plant seeds’ that had been donated for the occasion by Sutton seeds. The Chair of British Beekeepers Association, Stephen Barnes, who attended the event, congratulated the panel on the expertise that they had shared, their interest in providing advice on planting ‘flowers for pollinators’ and thanked Penrith Beekeepers Association for organising the event.

The audience were very enthusiastic and provided the following feedback;

  • Very informative – Thank you
  • Very professional panel and chair with lots of very good information. Lovely afternoon.
  • Very many thanks! Such and enjoyable session. (Ash)
  • Thanks for an informative afternoon. I would definitely come again, given the opportunity.
  • Very interesting and useful.
  • Great afternoon. Lovely panel. Thank you.
  • Very good presentation overall- care of detail like names, brining exhibits, bee theme speakers, table layout, timing good. I’d come again! Well done all round.