In many parts of the world, changing agricultural and horticultural practices have altered the landscapes of both cities and countryside. Viewed from the air, much of western Europe’s countryside is dominated by ever-larger fields, maximizing the use of arable land for crops and leaving little room for meadows or hedgerows. In gardens, where paving or manicured lawns have replaced less formal planting, bees and other pollinators find fewer flowers to feed on and limited natural spaces for shelter.
While researching how to improve biodiversity on farms, Geoff Coates, Senior Agronomist for Sustainable Agriculture and Stewardship at Syngenta, observed the importance of providing flowering margins on the edges of cultivated fields. “Field margins put back into the landscape the vital pollen and nectar that all bee species and pollinators need to complete their life cycles,” says Geoff. “It’s basically bed and breakfast for pollinators. It’s food for life, while we grow food for ourselves in the same field.