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Villagers get a buzz from wildflower project to help bees

PUBLISHED: 19:30 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:12 18 April 2019

Volunteers standing around the bed at the centre of the Elmswell maze, also prepared for wildflower seeds.

Volunteers standing around the bed at the centre of the Elmswell maze, also prepared for wildflower seeds.

Villagers near Bury St Edmunds are getting a real buzz from a project to plant wildflowers and help the bees.

Hard at work, lifting turf next to Elmswel Memorial Library.Hard at work, lifting turf next to Elmswel Memorial Library.

The Elmswell Wildflower project has seen plant and grass seeds planted at public sites around the village and in people's gardens to provide food sources for bees.

The scheme is the brainchild of Elmswell resident Jennifer Tooke-Marchant and the ElmsWild Flowers community environmental group.

Jennifer said the growing concern by scientists over the plight of bees suffering from loss of habitat had given her the idea.

“It had been bothering me for ages. There is so much development going on, meadows are just ceasing to exist and bees are really struggling,” she said.

Volunteers standing in the bed they prepared for wildflowers, next to Elmswell Memorial Library.Volunteers standing in the bed they prepared for wildflowers, next to Elmswell Memorial Library.

“I realised that there were so many grassy areas round here doing nothing and which could be put to good use - during the war every available bit of land was put to work growing food, and I thought the same could apply for bees because without them mankind will be in real trouble.”

Jennifer approached ElmsWild and together they identified four sites around the village - a verge outside the railway station, around the Elmswell village sign, outside the library and a children's mosaic on The Green alongside Church Road.

The project has been supported by Elmswell Parish Council, East of England Co-op and Woolpit Nurseries, who have helped with funding and supplies, and Jennifer said local people had really taken it to their hearts.

“We had great support from locals, with half a dozen local families with children joining us to remove turf, as well as a group of children from Street Farm Day Nursery,” she said.

“The adults got to work lifting turf and the children drilled holes in old CDs and DVDs, ready to hang them on nearby trees and bamboo canes to stop birds from snacking on the seeds.”

Elmswell Parish Council is now buying wildflower seeds to distribute to families in the village for them to sow in their own gardens.

Any residents interested in getting involved, or local businesses interested in sponsoring one of the public meadows, can find out more by visiting the ElmsWild Flowers website or by emailing them.

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