Thursday, 17 August 2017

‘Don’t mow, let it grow’ for
the bees and the butterflies

A bee-friendly corner near West Square in Askeaton (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Patrick Comerford

While I was visiting the Hunt Museum last week and the exhibition of paintings by Jack B Yeats and Paul Henry, I noticed a small grassy area that is set aside and known as ‘The Bee Loud Glade.’

This is a wild garden and the name and sign are the inspiration of Sarah Hughes and the junior infants class at Our Lady Queen of Peace National School in Limerick.

Nearby, in a shaded corner on one of the wings of the museum, is a sign that declares: ‘Warning. Live Honey Bees.’ Behind a screen is an apiary that is part of the Limerick Urban Beekeeping Society project. Visitors are warned of the possibility of being stung and the sign advising people who know they have allergic reactions to bee stings not to enter the area.

For a time, I stood in awe as I watched the bees busy at work behind the screen.

‘The Bee Loud Glade’ at the Hunt Museum in Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Back in Askeaton, since the weekend, I have noticed how there are many areas of open grass that are not mowed or that allowed to grow for weeks on end as part of a scheme to manage them for wildlife.

Some of the signs declare: ‘Don’t mow, let it grow.’ They say: ‘This area of grass will be cut on a 6-weekly rotation to allow clover, bird’s-foot-trefoil and other low-growing plans to blossom. This will provide food for bees and butterflies where closely mown grass does not.’

There are signs on the east end of Church Street, east of the Rectory, near the West Square, and by the swimming pool, close to the banks of the River Deel.

‘Don’t mow, let it grow’ … a patch for the bees and the butterflies near the Rectory in Askeaton (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

Near the corner of the road to Nantenan and Rathkeale, a sign says: ‘bee friendly, annual plants for pollen & nectar.’ A similar sign nearby says: ‘bee friendly, perennial plants for pollen & nectar.’

Some of the signs are sponsored by local businesses, others have been designed by schoolchildren and in schools.

During a late evening walk in Askeaton yesterday, I wondered whether I am living in the most bee-friendly town and county in Ireland.

‘Managed for Wildlife’ … close to the River Deel in Askeaton (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2017)

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