What a year! 2023! Plus, a VERY Happy Finalist

It’s been a pretty full on year with lots of great events, walks, talks and workshops. It’s hard to select the peak of the season, I’ve loved every minute of it all.

In May I helped organise a Pollinator Festival at the Botanic Gardens of Wales, then I hot-footed it up to RHS Wisley to tutor two workshops about Garden Bees. What a great experience.

Then there was Herb Fest at Jekka’s Herb Farm in July, such a wonderful mix of herbs, cooking and artisan businesses, I love taking my bee tours around the herbetum, it’s such a perfect place to see which plants are magnets for the different pollinators, and now there’s a new and fabulous herb garden too.

Lloyd of the Flies at RHS Wisley.

The finale of summer was a full week at RHS Wisley working with Aardmann Animations and the amazing Lloyd of the Flies. I took my interactive pollinator table to the Clore Learning Centre at WIsley to show the children (and the adults) the insects that inspired the new Children’s ITV series. It was such a brilliant week and I came home buzzing.

There was a very important visitor at RHS Wisley in 2023

Autumn kicked off with the Bee & Pollination Festival at Bristol Botanics where I staged my interactive nature table and took Bee Safaris around the magnificent borders within these gardens. With the help of Elisa Hartley we found a beautiful Queen Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum) to show the group!

Elisa Hartley finds a Queen BumbleBee Bristol Botanics Image: Jean Vernon

Then I spent a magical day with the children at Stapehill Primary School who were working on a project about bees. We had a bee focussed assembly and then each class came to look at the nature table.

The Garden Media Guild Awards 2023

The icing on the cake was to be shortlisted for the Garden Media Guild Environmental Journalist of the Year 2023 sponsored by The Beth Chatto Educational Trust. This culminated with a fabulous lunch and awards ceremony at The Savoy Hotel in London. It was an amazing day, not least because I was sitting next to Rachel de Thame for the whole event.

What a delightful surprise. Rachel was shortlisted for Journalist of the Year. We didn’t win our categories, but were both very happy and contented finalists.

Jean Vernon was short listed for the Beth Chatto Environmental Award 2023

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