Growing gift to help pupils bee happy in nature

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A commercial nursery has been sowing seeds to encourage the gardeners of the future by providing plants for local schoolchildren to cultivate.

In support of National Children’s Gardening Week, Johnsons of Whixley is donating 180 lavender plants – one for every pupil – to Tockwith Church of England Primary Academy.

Children took them home to plant with their parents over half term, which coincides with the gardening week (May 25-June 2).

Youngsters will also learn about how plants and trees play a vital role in attracting bees, and why bees are so important to the food chain.

It is estimated that around one third of the food we eat every day relies on pollination by honeybees, such as avocados, broccoli, celery and squash.

The school itself is home to a colony of honeybees, that in their first year provided a 40lbs crop of honey that was sold to make £111 towards new bee suits for the children. All Year 4 pupils have lessons in beekeeping and observe the colony in action.

And to support the bees that inhabit the company’s grounds, Johnsons launched a Trees for Bees initiative earlier this year, planting trees, wildflowers and shrubs at the company’s apiary.

In the height of summer, up to 800,000 bees inhabit the company’s grounds to collect pollen; however, Johnsons wanted to encourage bees to continue to visit this later into the year when many species stop flowering.

Johnsons of Whixley’s sales and marketing co-ordinator Eleanor Richardson said: “We hope that by giving each pupil something to take home and grow, we can capture children’s enthusiasm.”

“We are always keen to spread the message about the vital help that bees give us and to encourage a better understanding of how we can help to boost the bee population.”