Writing a book about bees has been on Lori Weidenhammer’s mind for a long time. So when Victory Gardens for Bees was finally published this spring, she was, needless to say, pretty happy about it. “I so much believe in the cause,” she says. “I work with children a lot, and I wanted to share gardening culture with them. But when I meet university students these days, who are pulling a carrot out of the ground for the first time in their lives, I know we still have a lot of work to do.”
The book is really a guide to amateur (and neophyte) gardeners living in urban settings, where planting can be a challenge, both in terms of space and simple knowledge of what to do. “Individual gardeners, no matter what the scope or scale of their garden, will create a true trickledown effect in terms of the health of the planet, of themselves, and of course, the bees,” says Weidenhammer. In her book, the Vancouver author also outlines easy ways for gardeners to help provide safe and flourishing environments for bees, including which plants and fruits are most beneficial to their population. Approximately 90 per cent of the world’s nutrition can be attributed to the little pollinators, but to date, over 10 million hives have been destroyed due to various stressors.
Weidenhammer’s passion for bees, and her well-founded concern for their existence, is central to the book, which takes its name from the Second World War Victory Gardens. “Bees are nothing to be afraid of,” she says. “I often simply sit still in my garden and count bees. They make their own kind of music, and each has its own unique sound, like each snowflake is unique.” The buzz is used by bees to help pollinate flowers, so sonic biodiversity has become a crucial element in helping to reverse the worldwide trend of carnage. The so-called “bee crash” is very real, and Weidenhammer points to the main culprit: “Pesticides are deeply implicated,” she says. “I have my moments of despairing, but overall, we push forward, just focus on individual gardens in each backyard. Every one of them makes a difference for the better.”
Up next for Weidenhammer is a “children’s book of some sort. I have not fully thought it through yet. But I know education and sharing information is so important to upcoming generations of kids. And to the bees.” And that’s something to buzz home about.
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