One of my favourite local places to go for a stroll is the University of Leicester Botanic Garden. I have frequently visited the Garden for many years and have lots of fond memories there right back to primary school! I now work for the University and am happy to be linked to this beautiful natural space. I am even more happy to know that the Botanic Garden is “home to almost half of the total number of bumblebee species native to Britain”.
Back in June you may have read my Bee post about their decline in the UK which is largely due to changes in agricultural practices, the removal of flowers from the landscape, the loss of habitat and exposure to harmful pesticides. And although this general decline is occurring in bumblebee species, bee populations in the Botanic Garden are actually thriving! Bumblebee survey and identification workshops have been held within the Garden over the last few months and the results have revealed that eleven of the twenty-four species of UK bumblebee reside there, seven of which are social bumblebees and four are cuckoo-bumbles.
I actually spotted and photographed many bees and pollinators there this summer too, which you can view on my Instagram account.
© Pollinators at Botanic Garden
The Botanic Garden is a lovely place to visit and relax and is one of the most diverse gardens in the region with a herb garden, woodland and herbaceous borders, rock gardens, a water garden, special collections of Skimmia, Aubrieta, and hardy Fuchsia, and a series of glasshouses displaying temperate and tropical plants, alpines and succulents. Guided tours are offered as well as education and adult learning programmes, workshops and special events such as the LRWT Wild about Gardens Week, which last year was all about bat conservation! You can even become a Friend of the Garden to promote and support the development of the Garden’s plant collections and amenities.
The Botanic Garden is free to enter, although it does accept donations. It is open throughout the year, seven days a week (except 25th December, 26th December and 1st January), 10.00am to 4.00pm (5.00pm in British Summer time).