In order to write this one properly, I had to get myself tip top and in Bristol fashion. You’ll know why soon. Cheerio!
Since I began Mind Your Dirt back in October of 2014 there have been so many wonderful connections made from all over the world. People of like-mindedness and equal fervor in global stewardship have reached out to share ideas or simply talk shop. I’ve helped a woman in Mozambique find a way to save her coveted coastal coral tree. I’ve received amazing support from students at the University of California San Diego. I’ve had countless amazing correspondences with so many people in need of inspiration, tips, or just to talk shop. My recent post about the poor monarch butterfly needing a new wing has created an outpouring of support from the scientific community as well as families around the world all determined to come up with a design and material for synthetic prosthetic wings. Very cool!
I’ve been so energized to continue this little experiment by so many of my readers and there’s no signs of it slowing down. So thank you one and all. For your support, your guidance and just for being you! I love you all dearly. I’m writing this today because another amazing connection has been made through Mind Your Dirt.
Last week I was contacted by a representative of Taylors of Harrogate.
Taylors of Harrogate is a Yorkshire-based family business devoted to the craft of outstanding tea and coffee since 1886. Tea experts at Taylors of Harrogate have decades of experience in seeking out the very best teas from the top gardens in the world and skilfully blending flavour-packed fruits and herbs to create beautifully balanced infusions. Using premium ingredients carefully sourced by Taylors and certified by the botanic experts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Taylors of Harrogate Fruit and Herbal Infusions range and Green Tea range are both blended to deliver pure and natural flavour. Taylors is proud to be a founding member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which helps producers meet internationally recognised standards.
Taylors of Harrogate has just completed a wonderful project that promotes the care and conservation of pollinators. Specifically honey bees. They’ve just released this campaign today and they’ve asked Mind Your Dirt to collaborate on their amazing project! What providence.
They stumbled upon my post about making your own bee hotel and wanted me to join the cause. Which is quite an honor for little ol’ me. But it says a lot about the changing tide of good stewardship that I keep raving about. It gets me all excited. By the way, if you missed that post, check it out!
If building your own bee hotel doesn’t suit your fancy (although I can’t imagine why, I had so much fun making mine!) there are many places to buy one for your yard! Here’s a few… (shameless plug warning)
Taylors of Harrogate partnered with Kew Gardens (who can boast the worlds largest collection of living plants by the way) to created something that is nothing short of spectacular! They’ve built the most amazing luxury bee hotel ever! Also while creating great a homage to Wes Anderson. It makes my hotel look like a decimated flea-ridden two bit motel. But I don’t mind being shown up for such a wonderful cause. Although, admittedly, I may have another agenda here.
You see, I have two hopes for this collaboration. First and foremost, to help spread these conservation efforts into everyone’s backyard and provide safe heavens for these essential pollinators. But also to come one step closer my lifelong dream of getting knighted! Anything to garnish attention towards that impossible dream would be smashing! Partly because I’d like to be referred to as Sir James Gielow, but I also want a sweet sword! Does it come with a sword? I know, I know: silly colonists can’t be Sirs. I can dream can’t I?
I digress m’lords and ladies! Back to tea and bee hotels! Just take a look at the video they’ve made that shows the Grand Beedapest Hotel. Prepare to have your mind blown!…
Completely amazing isn’t it!? I was so giddy watching this. Not only for the sheer awesomeness of the craftsmanship, but also for the shout out to Wes Anderson! One of my favorite directors. Here’s an example of my love for him:
And here are the details of Taylors of Harrogate’s luxury hotel:
A wee bit more elaborate than my humble bee hotel, but a great way to gather support and inspiration for a noble effort! Now for full disclosure: I should mention that I may get some tea out of this collaboration. But you can as well if you visit them over at their page! That’s right, they have a free sampler just for my readers! …And everyone else in the world that visits. But my readers will get the tastiest of the samples*! And this time I swear none of us Yanks will dump a bit of it into the Boston Harbor! Cross my heart. Unless, of course, there’s any taxation without representation going on…I digress. Again.
So why has Taylors of Harrogate done this? Is it merely to sell some tea? No, it’s because they are a company that realizes that without pollinators not only are they out of business, but the whole world is out of business. You see, without pollinators our food supply would become very limited. You like eating things right? Imagine not eating things and you’ll begin to grasp the significance. Now I’m hungry.
“Bees pollinate one third of every mouthful we eat and they contribute around £651 million per year to the UK economy. We are all in agreement that we need our hard working friends but also, right now, that they need us. We’re delighted to see Taylors of Harrogate launching this fun and captivating campaign to help draw attention to the plight of pollinators in such a unique way.”
-Tim Barsby from BeeBristol
Taylors of Harrogate wanted to find a way to help inspire action with us city folk!
“Bees are so important in helping to provide great flavour, but less attention has been paid to show how urban areas can be made more pollinator-friendly. The aim of the bee hotel is to not only educate and entertain, but to also inspire action. From the Peppermint Leaf Gym for a complete wing work out, through to the luxury Sweet Rhubarb Suite with its decadent rhubarb sugar water bath and UV disco, their every need will be taken care of.
Many people may be unaware that some of our favourite fruits, including apple and cherries all depend on insect pollinators, including bees. We want to raise awareness of this issue and encourage everyone to get more deeply involved and help create a network of real bee hotels, starting in their own back gardens.”
–Kate Halloran from Taylors of Harrogate
Research led by the University of Bristol* has found that when comparing the number of bee species living in urban and rural areas, there were on average 9.3 species (per km2) in urban areas, compared to only 7.3 species (per km2) in farmlands.
*Baldock KCR et al. (2015): Where is the UK’s pollinator biodiversity? The importance of urban areas for flower-visiting insects. Proc. R. Soc. B 282: 20142849. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2849
Dr Katherine Baldock from the University of Bristol, comments:
“Bees need two things; food and a suitable nesting site. Both of these can be found in UK cities, although our research shows that urban areas can host high numbers of bees, as well as many different species, there are still many ways we can improve our towns and cities for bees, other pollinators and wildlife in general. Bee-friendly flowers in gardens and public places provide crucial pollen and nectar sources and bee hotels provide important nesting sites.”
Here in the United States we have a very similar issue with our pollinators. In fact, we have much more lax regulations regarding chemical usage and agriculture. I won’t get into that now, but you’ve heard my rants in the past. The point is that pollinators desperately need our help in most of the world. You and I can do our part by not only controlling our chemical footprint but also providing safe wildlife habitats in our own backyards (or even small apartment patios) to help give pollinators like bees a leg up.
We owe it to them. For more information on what you can do to help, check out Taylors of Harrogate’s site and Mind Your Dirt’s articles on wildlife habitats and homemade bee hotels! YOU have the power to make a difference and WE have the power to save the bees! Go and do the good and noble work my gentle warriors!
*Okay, so maybe it’ll be the exact same samples as everyone else. But tea from the UK is going to be better than Liptons any ol’ day. So pip pip and tally ho guvna! Buy the way, I’m still checking on whether or not Taylors will ship to the states as their sample request form seems like it doesn’t have an overseas capability. If that’s the case, I’ll let you know and amend this post. It should be fine though.