The plight of the bee has been mentioned again and again in the news over the past year: they are suffering and dying, and soon there might be none. As a beekeeper it is a subject dear to my heart.
At this time of year there are few nectar plants around, and so certain types are vital for the bees survival, one of those being the Dandelion. It seems though that the Dandelion is a plant that most people loathe, rather than love. In the past couple of weeks there have been articles in the national press highlighting a massive increase in their numbers, with people complaining about them ruining their lawns and gardens. It seems to me rather strange that on the one hand we should have campaigns running to save the bees, and on the other hand be trying to remove their food supply from our surroundings. Perhaps Nature has seen that the bees need a helping hand and has thus produced masses of Dandelion blooms, and man is one again trying to thwart her.
Personally, I find the Dandelion to be a beautiful flower, and I try never to disturb it in my garden, being happy to give it pride of place alongside my garden blooms. Not only do I love to see the blooms, I also love to see the seed heads, and I can never resist picking one, blowing on it and saying "He loves me!" then another blow "He loves me not!", on and on until the seed head is bare, finding out with the last breath whether I am to be loved or left: a remnant from my childhood days.
Not only is the Dandelion a food plant for bees, but over ninety other species of insect make use of its wonderful nectar supply: a golden gift from the Gods. So next time you see a Dandelion, rather than pull it up, spend sometime watching and admiring this delightful flower and marvelling at what a blessing it is to the insects of this world, especially the delightful Honey Bee.