Edible Plants Bee Tea

It’s a grey day today, a good day for looking back to a warmer one in the summer when Bungay Community Bees joined with Lesley and the Libray Community Garden to host a Bee Tea. Each year the Library Garden central bed has a different theme and this year it is edible plants. In hindsight it may seem perfectly obvious, but many plants good for us to eat are also great for bees. However, this was as much about ‘border’ plants and herbs as it was about crop producing plants.

Bee Tea: chatting about plants

After a brief introduction to some of the issues involved with bee decline; largely habitat loss, insecticide use (in particular neonicotinoids) and intensive beekeeping methods, we enjoyed discussing gardening techniques and other ways in which bees/pollinators can be supported. A common theme brought up at several of our gatherings has been the use of public spaces such as playground/park margins and verges, it shouldn’t be so difficult to plant these areas and allow them to flourish before cutting them back. And sometimes it’s as much about leaving plants in place to flower, as it is about planting new ones.

Bee Tea: the central bed

Mark Watson created one of his rather special herbal tea blends made from bee-friendly plants and was kind enough to enlighten us about what he put in. Unfortunately we can’t remember the complete list, but anise hyssop, lemonbalm and spearmint were certainly involved. Mark’s teas and jellies are always delicious, but this was his best yet – but of course!  Bees are involved with pollination of many fruits and other yummy staples such as chocolate so it wasn’t hard to come up with biscuits and cake to accompany the tea, but my favourite was Lavender Shortbread made by Gemma (of Humble Cake). Which I’m happy to see is still on sale in the Three Willows and Earsham Street cafe’s (so go and grab some if you’re in Bungay…. Quickly).

Bee Tea: Mark introducing his bee friendly herbal blend



Bee Tea: tea and lavender shortbread, yum :)

While we mingled and chatted about various bee and plant related topics, including the benefits of top bar hives in ‘bee-centred’ beekeeping, we made bee and bug hotels which should now be gracing various garden corners around Bungay. Such a good way to use up old bottles, cardboard and canes. Don’t forget that a pile of old stalks and leaves can be invaluable to insects so tuck some away in a secluded corner or under the hedge… It was a lovely afternoon, one of those that affirms our purpose as a community group. So thank you all!

Bee Tea: Insect houses, great recycling!

Bee Tea: making hanging and ground insect houses

Bee Tea: making hanging insect houses


2nd Film showing : What children are we leaving our planet?

What children are we leaving our planet?

What children are we leaving our planet?


 FRIDAY 24th January 6.30pm for 7pm start


The film is 55min long, French with Subtitles.

£3 on the door (to cover room hire + film)

It was great to see so many people at the community centre in November for the screening of this film, which I feel particularly passionate about! The reasons being, I have two chidren who are at primary school and because the school the film is about is situated just near to where I grew up in La Drome, in Provence. Having been to school in France and not had a great time of it, it is so refreshing and inspiring to see how one headteacher, within a supportive community, can create such a great school.

L’Ecole du Colibri is situated in the agroecological community of les Amanins, a place of living, working and inspiring others by conferences, work days, seminars etc. The main ethos of the school is that of a cooperative method of learning and teaching. What really struck me about the film was the very common sense recognition that it takes more than being good at maths and english to become a happy, contented, well balanced human being! We are emotional beings and to recognise that and to allow time for the expression and understanding of emotions in a primary school setting is of such vital importance. Teaching children how to learn, how to learn together, hand in hand with how to deal with the conflicts that naturally occur when “living” and learning together. Coupled with time to relax, be outdoors, learn hands on and to be aware of and prepared for the world our children are growing up in, I feel this is what education should be all about.

If you missed the screening there will be another chance to see the film on Friday 24th January at 6.30 for a 7pm start at the community centre in Bungay. We will have an informal discussion after the film and there will be an opportunity to share some thoughts on how to take some of the ideas of the film to your local primary school, there will be copies of the film available to borrow.


Eloise Wilkinson

eloise.wilkinson@gmail.com / 07842897172

Wellbeing Walks – Visiting the Hedgerows – 12th October, 11am-1pm


Mapping Bungay is a year-long project based on a series of walks in and around the town, organised by Sustainable Bungay’s Arts, Culture and Wellbeing group. You can find out more about the project here. There is also an essay, written by Charlotte (Rewilding the Future) in the recent EarthLines magazine, you might like to check out for an overview. Meanwhile here are Mark and Tony on our summer walks.

Throughout the summer the Arts, Culture and Wellbeing group continued their monthly walks in and around Bungay, meeting up at the library, in a pub or on the Common, to decide on a route before heading off.

We’ve visited (and swum in) the river Waveney, explored the town’s play areas, relaxed on a hot July afternoon under the lime trees in bloom and walked over Bath Hills to Earsham on a Saturday in August, where we stopped at the Queen’s Head for a drink and an animated discussion about the industrial food system!

In the heat of August we helped locate our Annual Picnic by the site of Baldry’s Mill: Sally Harrington reports: “This was a first visit to this lovely part of Bungay common for quite a few people. There was a good turnout, and a lot of excellent food.We were lucky with the weather, though only one person was brave enough to venture in for swimming  – aside from the young men leaping  from a surprisingly high point of an alder tree!” On Car Free Day Tony Dawes led a group down the tracks towards the old railway station and encountered a dilemma with a horse (see full report below)!

Normanston_Allotments_Aug_056Part of the beauty of these walks is the focus of attention to place and time, taking notice of the season, for example, and how it feels to be in the areas visited. Our individual impressions are then talked about amongst everyone who takes part. These things are simple, but they do contribute to a sense of well-being and feeling at home. It’s making a space for them that matters.

Our next walk is a Visit to the Hedgerows in and around Bungay. We will be looking at the trees in their autumn glory, foraging for hips and haws and delving into the lore and history of these roadside ecosystems. Led by Richard (Suffolk Wildlife Trust) Vinton, alongside Mark (Plants for Life) Watson and Charlotte (52 Flowers That Shook My World) Du Cann this will be a treat for anyone who loves rambling and wants to know more about plants in one of England’s most valuable (and often threatened) sancturies for wild creatures, insects and flowers.

In the winter we’ll be making a map of the walks we’ve done this year. Everyone and anyone is welcome to these events! (Mark Watson)

A Wellbeing Walk for Car Free Day or Four Walkers and a Horse (and Rider)

578520_602051733181071_2097786065_nBreakfast was taken (with thanks for the free drink to the Buttercross Tearooms), the route was chosen, the walkers were ready and then the horse and rider appeared. A horse, coming for a walk on Car Free Day? What a splendid idea. One small problem – part of the route involved Outney Meadow and horses are not allowed. Bungay is almost unique in Britain in that it still has a Town Reeve. A person with not inconsiderable power and influence. One phone call later and we had permission to take a horse onto the meadow! The plan was to walk down Outney Road and over the footbridge onto the meadow by the golf club. The A143 is all that remains of the old railway line in Bungay and the station would have been just about underneath the footbridge. We were to meet horse and rider by the golf club but had not taken the cattle grid into account, which the horse could not cross. Plan B was then to ride across the bridge following the walkers only the horse had other ideas and refused to cross. Oh well, nice try.

The short walk through the meadow to the main entrance was accomplished without incident as was crossing the Old Railway Road, up Broad Street and into Nethergate Street. It was half way up that we encountered Richard Cundy, our powerful Town Reeve. He imparted the intelligence that Horse and Rider were to be found heading towards Falcon Meadow. Excellent, for that was where we were going.

We did indeed catch up with them on Falcon Meadow and walked to the Staithe by way of the weir. Fortunately, this time Horse was happy to cross the bridge with Sally leading the way. With the assistance of signage by the Riverside Centre, we could acquaint ourselves with another form of  Car Free transport, namely the sailing boats which once plied their trade from Lowestoft. We bade Horse and Rider farewell at the beginning of Staithe Road as we were to take a diversion around the island.

All that was left was Trinity Street then Earsham Street and into the Earsham Street Café for 10% off tea and toast (thanks Gemma and Mike). So that was it, a good walk on a Car Free Day with reminders of transport from yesteryear. Wellbeing at its best. (Tony Dawes)

Wellbeing Walk – Visiting Hedgrows, 12th October, 11am-1pm. Meet at Castle Meadow outside the marquee.

Images: en route to Earsham (CDC); Sustainable Bungay Annual Picnic (Lesley Hartley); horse, rider and walker, Car Free Day (Josian Meldrum)

Grow and Give, Produce Exchange, Sunday October 6th, 10am-1pm, Library Courtyard

grow&giveposter2013-001It’s been a difficult growing season from start to finish* but we’re pressing on with our regular autumn “Grow and Give” to help make sure none of that homegrown harvest goes to waste. Whether or not you have surplus to bring, do come along to the Bungay Library Courtyard* between 10am and 1pm on Sunday 6th October to see what’s available, and share a brew and a chat with fellow gardeners and foodies…

*The coldest spring since 1962 meant it was hard to get seeds germinated and seedlings growing. The driest summer since 1995 meant using valuable time & lots of precious water, or resigning oneself to poor yields. As erratic weather patterns become a seasonal norm, it’s becoming increasingly apparent what real effects climate change is already having. Sharing our produce, reducing waste, and coming together to talk about what and how to grow in these testing conditions is an important way of building resilience – a key aspect of the Transition Movement.

*Bungay Library, Wharton Street, NR35 1EL