Book Review: Attracting Garden Pollinators by Jean Vernon

Ade and I were delighted when Pen & Sword Books recently sent us a copy of Attracting Garden Pollinators, the new book from the award-winning writer and bee expert, Jean Vernon. A champion of the “exploited, underpaid and generally under-appreciated” creatures upon whose crucial efforts our fragile existence depends, Jean’s latest book shines a spotlight on our unsung garden heroes, offering valuable suggestions on how we can all make our gardens more pollinator-friendly.

So many of us are still, largely, ignorant of the breath-taking diversity of pollinating insects in this country and the hugely important role they play. As Jean observes early on in the book, the growing awareness of the plight of the pollinators tends to focus on the decline of honeybees, which of course need our support, but what of the other two hundred or so species of bees? Not to mention the moths, wasps and flies that are commonly dismissed as pests, yet are integral to our food systems and to maintaining the delicate equilibrium of our environment? Everything has a vital role to play.

Struggling against the relentless challenges of climate change, toxic pesticides, urban spread and habitat loss (I was horrified to read that since the 1930s, an estimated 99% of the UK’s ancient wildflower meadows have been destroyed), pollinators desperately need our help. Jean makes a strong case for many maligned species (prepare to soften your hearts towards cabbage white butterflies and green bottle flies!) and offers extraordinary insights into others, such as the wasp that crafts miniature Grecian urns, or the common hoverfly that masquerades as Batman. Yup, you read that right!

Written with humour and compassion, and an excellent companion to her best-selling debut, The Secret Lives of Garden Bees, Jean Vernon’s new book, Attracting Garden Pollinators, encourages us all to look closer, pay attention, and appreciate the huge contribution these tiny creatures make, before it’s too late.  

Available on Kindle and in hardback from all good bookshops. Signed copies are available from the author’s website.

(If buying from an online retailer, I recommend Hive, which not only has the perfect moniker for anyone buying a book about pollinators, but pays its taxes and supports independent bookshops.)

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