I don’t think most people realise (myself included until fairly recently) just how critical insects like [honey] bees are to the human race – and how serious it would be for you and me if we lost them. To give this some perspective, it’s estimated that one third of the food we consume each day relies largely on pollination by bees – I guess you could say that’s the equivalent to one entire meal that you consume, every day. Things like… apples, asparagus, blackberries, cauliflower, cherries, chives, COFFEE, cucumbers, garlic, gooseberries, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, pumpkins, raspberries, strawberries and sweet potatoes all rely on – or at least acutely benefit from – bee pollination. So when you learn that bees are in serious decline, hopefully you too will feel inspired to help, because losing them would be, well, catastrophic to mankind.
Pollination is one thing, but bees also make HONEY. I never really had honey when I was growing up, but I’m making up for it on my porridge these days! From honey – people who brew beer – clever people – are able to make honey beer! Like a lot of beer styles, this is an altogether new one for me.
A few months ago I stumbled across Hiver Beers on Twitter. I work in marketing (and used to be a photographer) so naturally have an affinity to great branding, nice design and strong imagery. I challenge you to visit the Hiver website and not be struck by all of the above. Having managed to persuade Hannah (the founder of Hiver) to host Craft Beer Hour Tuesday 16th June, she kindly sent me some samples to try. Yesterday with the sun shining, I decided to get out in the garden and investigate what was in the box.
These photos are of a samples pack which includes a range of beautifully designed literature that wouldn't come with every order – but all of the information contained within is available on the Hiver website. Nevertheless, you can get a real sense for the love and care that has been developed around this brand, which by the way, devotes 10% of all profits to pollinator charities and urban space projects.
What can you do to help save the bees?
Hannah’s business card contains wildflower seeds, which means like any seed, it can be sown – and grown! So that’s exactly what I’ve done – and you can too. By planting seeds and nurturing them (with very little effort) you can do your bit to help save our bees. Even if your outside space consists of a window ledge, you can sow wildflower seeds in a small pot – or even more easily – buy young plants at your local garden centre that are already in season. Follow some simple instructions like keeping them watered (but generally not too much) and keep them in a sunny position. If you’re interested, there’s plenty of easy to follow information on websites like Gardens World and the RHS.
Below I've simply used some "crocks" (broken crockery) in the bottom of a small metal bucket, with plenty of holes drilled in the bottom for drainage. I've then added some compost, prodded a hole for my seeds (in this case a business card!) and then covered it over with an extra layer of soil. I've added to that a little water and left in a sunny spot. Hopefully we're through the worst of the frosts, but just be mindful that severe frost might damage your seedlings, so they may need bringing indoors overnight if the temperature drops. Experiment – have fun – and help save the bees :-) And don't forget to buy some honey beer too!
Hannah will be hosting Craft Beer Hour on Tuesday 16th June. Woe betide anyone who doesn't have a Hiver beer to hand!
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