Throughout my childhood, my weekends would often be spent at my grandpa’s house. Warm, kind, smart and funny, my grandpa was at the heart of all of my most cherished memories.
After the Second World War, Grandpa became a gardener for the local university grounds. Having witnessed a lot of trauma during the war, he submerged himself in the joy of growing and nurturing flowers and plants. Even many years later he could tell you the Latin name of any flower!
Always compassionate, when a young man with learning disabilities was struggling to find employment, Grandpa was only too glad to offer him an apprenticeship. Years later, this man attended my grandfather’s funeral to let us know that he was still working at the university!
Every summer, Grandpa and I would spend hours in his beautifully kept garden and soon it became tradition to plant a sunflower each year and measure it each week to see how tall it had grown. It was during this time that I learnt the importance of bumblebees and how, without these small insects spreading pollen, that nothing would grow at all.
My grandpa taught me not to be afraid of bees, as these beautiful insects were the centre of our entire eco-system.
Because of this I have always loved bumblebees and when my grandfather sadly passed away not long before my wedding in 2017, we decided to gift sunflower seeds in memory of him and to help support the sadly dwindling bee population.
Earlier this year, when reading through a journal left to me from him, I found an entry from the summer of 1997 where he writes about teaching a 6 year old Cerian (me) to help a struggling bumblebee with a tiny bit of sugar water! If you ever see a bumblebee which you suspect is struggling and there are no bee-friendly flowers around, mix 50/50 white sugar and water to give the bee a one-off energy boost, providing the carbohydrates it needs to fly.
If you would like anymore information on Bee conservation and ways you can help out, please visit the Bumblebee conservation trust website https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/.