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Jez's Notebook

Standing Room Only for Jez’s Talk at RHS Tatton Park Flower Show’s Bee Hive Theatre

Edged with bee-friendly flowers, which were awash with grateful bees, The Bee Hive Theatre at the 2018 RHS Tatton Park Flower Show

Jez was invited to speak on Friday 20th July at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Tatton Park Flower Show in their brand new Bee Hive Theatre.

Visitors from across Europe flock to the show to listen to some of gardening’s favourite voices from BBC Gardener’s World and BBC Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time.

With an estimated 65,000 visitors, the Bee Hive Theatre was a new addition to the popular Cheshire flower show this year to showcase everything about everyone’s favourite pollinator, bees. Including talks from renowned beekeepers and scientists, Gill Perkins from The Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Kate Bradbury, Jez’s talk was a huge success and although cut by organisers last minute from the original 45 minutes to just 20, it still drew a standing room only crowd as Jez explained his decision to purchase a derelict farm and re-instate it as a pollinator-friendly site, which has become home to their honey farm.

Jez’s energy and enthusiasm for nature and gardening, coupled with the photos of the bare concrete and grass farm when they moved in compared to photos of the huge amount of work they have carried out drew audible gasps and applause as he detailed the planting decisions they have made based on the needs of pollinators, why the best plants for your garden happen to also be bee-friendly, insights into the gardens they have created at the farm, including: rose borders, vegetable and fruit garden, jewel garden, cut flower and cottage garden borders, herb garden, wild flower meadow orchard, colour borders and a jungle/woodland area – as Jez explained that he is trying to create “the Harrod’s food hall for pollinators” or “Disneyland for bees”, the audience listened attentively, many taking notes.

Wrapping up, Jez explained why he believes beekeeping is the new gin and tonic, to much laughter and agreement from the audience present, and how “outside space owners” (Jez explained that for some people the thought of being a gardener was too much responsibility and if they didn’t identify with that title, tended to ignore gardening advice) were in the perfect position to make a very real difference to the decline of the honeybee and to pollinators everywhere, by simply thinking differently about planting and gardening.

Jez Rose is a broadcaster, award-winning author, speaker, bee farmer and tea drinker. He describes himself as an “unconventional gardener”. For more information visit www.JezRose.co.uk and for free planting advice for the best bee-friendly plants, in association with award-winning garden designer Adam Frost, visit the blog at www.BeesforBusiness.com

Honey – what’s in a name?

What is an acceptable amount of money to pay for a jar of honey?

The price of British honey is set to rise.

Brexit? European economics? Greed? Perhaps none of the obvious are to blame but without a greater public understanding of just how much goes into getting honey to your table, I fear honey may well go the same way as milk.

I grew up right next to a bovine farm and have met many dairy farmers in my time; they all have the same story to tell. It’s one of long hours, hard work and a

Is It Too Obvious? The Sentient Solution

The start of the vegetable season can’t come soon enough for me – an opportunity to get outside and plant, in this case, peas. Even if it means wrapping up in loads of layers but on a dry day that’s balanced by the natural daylight, fresh air and contact with nature.

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of the BBC show Gardener’s World – in fact, it’s the only reason we maintain a TV licence and every year when the licence renewal is up, I consider not renewing as Mrs Jez and I hardly watch any television, unless friends or colleagues are on. Every year I’m reminded of that Victoria Wood gag where she explains that the television license inspector came knocking on her door: “we’ve reason to believe you’re watching television without a licence and are fined £100”, to which Wood explains that she’s only watching Gardener’s World, to which the inspector replies: “oh, ok, call it fifty”.

Last year I remember watching our friend Adam Frost visit some community projects that were using gardening as a mechanism to bring communities together and to offer what was essentially distraction therapy for those who had suffered all sorts of different life traumas. Refugees who had been forced out of their country, witnessing (and in one case personally subjected to) rape, famine and destruction in the process. Children with learning difficulties and special educational needs who felt that they didn’t quite fit in; the recipients of bullying behaviour and feeling confused. Different nationalities; religions; social backgrounds and here they all were, together – gardening. Growing vegetables, flowers, herbs, fruit – together. No prejudice and in some cases not even a common language among them, however, despite the social, economic, psychological and behavioural extremes, Frost began to unpick their stories, revealing to us, the emotionally overwhelmed viewers, that here was nature, healing.

Some of these individuals had been to the most darkest places in their minds and souls: they had witnessed and been subjected to some of the most horrific examples of behaviour our species can exhibit. But with their hands in soil; preparing and nurturing new life in the form of plants and in turn enjoying the culinary benefits of their labour, there was solace.

If nature can help to heal and provide efficacious restorative opportunities for human health, wellbeing and behaviour when we are at our lowest and despite the most extreme of circumstances – just imagine what contact with nature could do for those of us fortunate enough to not be in those positions?

Gardening activities are, for me, the most obvious

Making Our Mark – the forgotten premise of leaving a legacy

In the worlds of architecture, grand garden design and world peace, the likes of Antonio Gaudi, Capability Brown and Mahatma Ghandi all acted with the intention of leaving a legacy: something of value for others to benefit from. Across many areas of society, there are historical examples of acts with the intention to promote the greater good and leave something of benefit for others – to leave the world a better place for having been here.

From

The Culture Claptrap – why is culture not more important?

Ask any CEO, anyone with the title “Head of”, a Brand Manager or anyone in human resources and they’ll all tell you – no matter what industry or organisations type they’re from – that culture is key.

And why wouldn’t they? They’re hardly going to say: “we don’t really care what working environments are like; we’re far too busy for that investing in product and margins – people should put up, shut up and bloody well get on with it”, are they? Yet organisations don’t need to verbalise that as actions speak louder than words: what we do – or don’t do – often has a greater impact that words.

The dreary impact of a lack of focus on environment.

I’m still hearing

Do Rabbits Get Screen Fatigue?

Just some 100 years ago I’d have been locked away for being insane. A statement that might not be especially surprising to many reading this but I do talk to myself. I’d never noticed before but Mrs Jez does like to point out just how much I chatter to myself and to the dogs, and the bees and even the vegetables. I don’t expect an answer, so in terms of a assessing myself on some informal madness scale I think I’d score fairly low – unlikely to show you my knife collection at the bus stop or crumble Rich Tea over my head but I might say “hello” in a lift.

Sometimes I surprise myself with my seemingly inherent ramblings: “oh Jez what are you doing?”; “let’s take this caterpillar off of your leaves you poor plant”; “oh Mrs Bee, come on now get with it”; “Mr Weed you’re beginning to annoy me” – those are just this morning’s. But yesterday’s was a real corker and even surprised me.

Walking to the vegetable garden I asked myself – no one else around, not even

How To Make Them Remember

I set out to write this blog post this morning, as part of my bid to share with you some of my top tips on speaking and presenting every day this week – I’ve been doing so all week on social media, however, I quickly was distracted when I heard about the passing of my good friend and mentor, Eugene Burger. A name, I know, will mean nothing to almost all reading this – but that’s okay because Eugene is going to remembered here and I’m going to share my top tips simultaneously as without Eugene, I wouldn’t have learnt the real meaning and power of today’s tip.

Eugene was a story teller; a magician; a performer; a humble and mightily learned man: selfless and verily dedicated to the art of creating and maintaining mystery.

I perhaps pay too much attention to those no longer living but I can’t help it: it reminds me every day just how lucky I am to wake up; to be. Eugene shared that same philosophy: life is

Tales from the Farm – The Hungry Hungry Caterpillars

Through no one’s fault but my own, we’re battling an infestation of caterpillars and white fly in our brassica bed. I HATE caterpillars.

“TV’s favourite gardener”, Monty Don, inspires Jez Rose, a frustrated behaviourist and amateur gardener, to grow a new life, as detailed in Tales from the Farm. Monty Don’s book inspired Jez to buy a farm in the countryside, create his own garden and write about the joy, obsession and mud.

If you’ve been following this blog and our journey, you’ll know that Mrs Jez and I applied to the Soil Association to licence our farm as organic. We’re currently in the “conversion” process, which means we document our planting, growing and management activities and have inspections to ensure that we’re upholding organic farming principles – essentially not putting any nasties into the ground like pesticides, fungicides etc.

We’ve found the whole process quite cathartic and learnt so much over the past 6 months, not just about organic gardening and farming but about food, soil, the ecosystem and just how critical it is for us to be aware of where our food comes from and exactly what we’re putting into our bodies.

We’ve been happily plodding along and enjoying the steep learning curve (having never grown anything before, let alone organically). Until this past weekend when

Supercharging Your CSR

TOP 10 TIPS FOR SUPERCHARGING YOUR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Simple, thoughtful planting benefits your local environment, employee wellbeing and brand awareness, too.

Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is al the rage. It has been for a while but for too many organisations it’s simply lip service. That’s not necessarily a big problem but it is a really wasted opportunity to make your brand stand out, enliven your organisational culture and benefit from strong altruistic action. Just last week I was asked to share my top tips for CSR, so here are my Top 10 Tips to Supercharge your Corporate Social Responsibility whilst helping make the world a better place, too…

1. Aim to engage

Listen to the Bees – Work In Silos!

Honeybee hives can teach organisations a lot about efficient and efficacious models of teamwork.

You may – or may not – know that Mrs Jez and I are beekeepers

As we launch the nationwide expansion of Bees for Business, I’ve written this short article on what observing the honeybee teaches about working more effectively, communicating better and more efficient teamwork in your organisation.

During the peak, summer season the average honeybee hive can