London is buzzing today with the sound of urban beekeeping. The Times has been to St Pancras to visit Kate Solomon, who's keeping 60,000 bees on her rooftop; the busy little blighters have made 12 jars of honey in 6 weeks, and the paper reports the flavour has "no hint of diesel fumes". Uh, we'd bloody well hope not (does the Times think bees hang around car exhausts?). The Telegraph lands a plum job visiting the Fortnum and Mason hives, which are painted the F&M sage green. Is this taking branding a stage too far? Anyway, their rooftop honey will soon be on sale for a tenner a jar and they're not expecting it to taste of diesel either. "We expect notes of chestnut and lime, to reflect the trees in the city," ponced one of their grocery buyers.
All this beesiness is part of a campaign by Natural England to get more people keeping bees. As we all know by now, our bee population is in decline, prompting worried mutterings about disappearing foodstuffs. The conservation watchdog wants people to turn apiarists on their roofs, gardens and balconies, perhaps using a new plastic beehive called a beehaus. No, really. And if the fetching garments aren't your thing, you could follow Kew Gardens's example and grow bee friendly plants like lavender and forget-me-nots. Assuming you have some outside space in this concrete jungle of ours.
Last Updated 05 August 2009