New trees will provide valuable habitat for bees at Arboretum

11 December 2015

Four trees that will provide a much-needed habitat for bees have been planted at the Arboretum, thanks to a project inspired by Stafford beekeeper Geoff Hopkinson.

Geoff who is aged 87 and was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2012 for services to beekeeping, provided the Tetradium daniellii trees, which are also known as Chinese Bee Trees.

The trees which are large, quick growing hardwood trees that flower profusely from late August to October, were planted by Geoff and three other local experienced beekeepers, who have all have military service in their background.

As statistics show the number of bees is declining, partly due to the loss of flowering plants that provide food for them, the new trees, which are rich in pollen and nectar, will provide much-needed habitat.

Geoff secured Chinese Bee Tree seeds from the Morris Arboretum, in the US, in the early 1960s and has since supplied the trees across England and Northern and Southern Ireland.

 Dave Battersby, President of the South Staffordshire Beekeepers Association, who helped to plant the trees with Geoff, Dennis Anslow and Keith Winstanley, said: “The loss of flowering plants that provide food for bees is one of the key issues blamed for their decline in Europe, the US and other parts of the world.

 “It is vitally important to create new habitats for bees and we felt that the Arboretum, with its wonderfully preserved natural surroundings, would be a fitting place to do so.”

 Our Managing Director, Sarah Montgomery, said: “The Arboretum’s 150-acre site comprises a variety of natural habitats including emerging woodland, hay meadows, riverbank and marsh, which each have a wealth of flora and fauna.

 “We are passionate about preserving these wonderful habitats for wildlife, as well as educating children and adults alike about them. We are, therefore, delighted to have Chinese Bee Trees planted on the site.”