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The Bumblebee Flies Anyway
A memoir of love, loss and muddy hands
'Wonderfully intense and honest - a poignant manual of how to grow hope against the odds.' Chris Packham, TV presenter and author of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar
Finding herself in a new home in Brighton, Kate Bradbury sets about transforming her decked, barren backyard into a beautiful wildlife garden. She documents the unbuttoning of the earth and the rebirth of the garden, the rewilding of a tiny urban space. On her own she unscrews, saws and hammers the decking away, she clears the builders' rubble and rubbish beneath it, and she digs and enriches the soil, gradually planting it up with plants she knows will attract wildlife. She erects bird boxes and bee hotels, hangs feeders and grows nectar- and pollen-rich plants, and slowly brings life back to the garden.
But while she's doing this Kate's neighbours continue to pave and deck their gardens locking them away, the wildlife she tries to save is further threatened, and she feels she's fighting an uphill battle. Is there any point in gardening for wildlife when everyone else is drowning the land in poison and cement?
Sadly, events take Kate away from her garden, and she finds herself back home in Birmingham where she grew up, travelling the roads she used to race down on her bike in the eighties, thinking of the gardens and wildlife she loved, witnessing more land lost beneath paving stones. If the dead could return, what would they say about the land we have taken, the ancient routes we have carved up, the wildlife we have lost?
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Shines a light on the simple brilliance of life. -- Chris Packham, TV presenter and author of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar A moving, unpretentious account of starting again. -- Patrick Barkham * Guardian, Books of the Year * A truly inspiring account of transformation, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway made me simultaneously want to read on to the final page, and rush out to my garden. -- Melissa Harrison, author of All Among the Barley Bradbury makes a passionate plea for us all to follow her example - to ditch the decking and fill our own outside spaces, however small, with plants. -- Jane Shilling * Daily Mail * Reading this book made me itch to get out into my own garden and peer under piles of dead leaves to look for beetles. A moving tribute to the space Kate Bradbury creates and her skill as a gardener. -- Alys Fowler * The Garden * A glorious thing that is part autobiography, part gardening book and part fierce invective against the sterilisation of our urban landscapes when they are an increasingly important haven for wildlife. * Amateur Gardening * Quirky, passionate and endearing, an inspiring account of bringing a tiny garden back to life. -- Dave Goulson, author of A Sting in the Tale and Bee Quest A beautiful story of a garden brought back from the dead. -- Eleanor Morton * Countryman * A very personal story of love, loss and rebirth. -- Fionnuala Fallon * Irish Times * It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me mourn the loss of our green spaces but have hope for the wild places that remain. There is no louder, fresher voice for the value of urban wildlife. -- Jules Howard, zoologist and author of Sex on Earth Bradbury 'unbuttons the earth' and lets the bumblebees, foxgloves and sparrows return at their own pace. A rallying cry for the wildlife garden. -- Louise Gray, author of The Ethical Carnivore This is an important and timely book. I defy anyone who reads it not to want to do more to help their local wildlife. -- Brigit Strawbridge, wildlife gardener and bee campaigner A gorgeous - and informative - read. -- Penny McCormick * The Gloss * A wonderful and moving book about how a slice of nature at the backdoor offers refuge not only to the city wildlife but to the garden too. -- Alys Fowler, author of Hidden Nature and The Edible Garden This is a beautiful, heartfelt book of hopeful wildlife gardening in the face of declining habitats and life's tendency to trip us up when we least need it. * Amateur Gardening *