by Camilla Ridley
Chelsea Flower Show may look a little different this year, but we’re buzzing to ensure sustainability takes centre stage. Here's our innovative new collection to help save Britain's bumblebees from extinction. And here’s how you can help...
Launching our new Bee Beautiful campaign at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 to help save Britain's bumblebees. Kat Farmer @doesmybumlook40 wearing our new Ridley London statement tailored velvet Opera Coat in the unique commissioned Bumblebee Garden floral print designed by Emma Mawston.
I hope you are all well and enjoying the sunny September days, which are absolutely perfect for Chelsea Flower Show which starts on Monday. I can not wait, and am lucky enough to be attending the press day on Monday and am looking forward to seeing the incredible garden designs and catching up with friends like @diamondhill2012 who has created the incredible Garden of Hope with the BBC One show. I’ve had a sneak preview and it’s really something! We’re also launching a really important new environmental campaign at Chelsea on Monday with The Bee Conservation Trust which I really want to tell you about.
The campaign has been supported by leading influencers including (top) glamorous gardening guru and BBC Chelsea Flower Show presenter Rachel de Thame (Middle Left): Camilla with Rachel at Chelsea Flower show press day on Monday. Middle Right: Fashion and lifestyle Influencer @louiseroe in our versatile Ridley London printed floral cotton Willow Shirt Dress. Bottom: Our eye-catching window display brings the Bumblebee Conservation Trust's campaign to life with Emma Mawston's @emmamawstondesigner Bumblebee Garden print
You may already know this, but over the last 80 years bumblebee populations have rapidly declined In the UK, with two species now extinct, and 8 on the extinction watchlist. Bumblebees (not to be confused with the bees that make honey) are prime pollinators and a key component in our natural ecosystem. If this decline continues, the high cost of pollinating plants ourselves could lead to rapidly increasing prices in fruit and vegetables, not to mention an accelerated deterioration in natural habitats and a further increase in the rate of climate change. According to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the cost of hand pollinating British crops alone has been estimated at £1.8 billion annually.
So you can see, this is a pretty serious issue facing us all right now and here at Ridley we knew we needed to do something to help raise awareness and crucial funds for habitat conservation and restoration, Bumblebee population monitoring, ongoing education, and the other vital areas of work that The Bumblebee Conservation Trust carry out.
(Top) Detail of Emma Mawston's development process of the Bumblebee Garden Print. (Left): Kat Farmer @doesmybumlook40 with Michelin Star chef, Raymond Blanc @raymondblanc at the Chelsea Flower Show. The Will Bees Bespoke Rucksack and Clutch bag (right) featuring the floral print by Emma Mawston @emmamawstondesigner.
To help, we’ve teamed up with award winning fabric designer Emma Mawston and the amazing British made accessories label Will Bees Bespoke, to create a special collection of clothing and accessories featuring Emma’s incredible new Bumblebee Garden Print. And we’re launching these at Chelsea this year with the help of our friends Kat @doesmybumlook40 and the ever glamorous @racheldethame, look out for them both on the BBC’s coverage this week. And there will be more information in store about the campaign and what you can do to help. Will’s range of British made bags are absolutely stunning and can be personalised. And as you would expect everything is completely ethical and sustainable and all of the Ridley collection can be customised for your perfect fit including our amazing statement full length opera coat which both Rachel and Kat will be wearing this week. Most importantly, we’re giving a percentage of sales from the collection to help the Bumblebee Trust. Safeguard our Bumblebees and our environment.
Busy Bees; the team behind the Bee Beautiful Campaign (Left to right) BBC presenter Rachel de Thame, print designer Emma Mawston, Will Bees @willbeesbespoke and Kat Farmer in front of Will Bees Bespoke stand at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. You have the opportunity to purchase and see the stunning bags and purses being individually personalised at the stand this week.
So what can you do to help?
First of all, take a look at the collections on either of our websites and do get in touch if you have any questions. It’s all for a very important cause. Secondly, learn more about the facts and issues surrounding this and spread the word! I’ve included some key facts below and more information can be found on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s website. You can even go directly to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and volunteer or pledge a donation. A donation of just £16 supports the Trust in planting 15m² of wildlife habitats- this is around the size of a sitting room! This is a really really important issue and without everyone getting involved, we could be in for a very bleak future without our bumblebees. As well as supporting the trust, there are some things you can do at home to help these clever creatures. These include planting more flowers, shrubs and trees, letting your garden grow wild, cutting the grass less often and thinking twice about where you use pesticide.
The Trust is currently:
- Creating and restoring wildflower habitats in the areas where rare bumblebees need it most
- Creating landscape-scale conservation projects around the UK
- Employing more conservation staff, and creating and delivering more innovative projects to help bumblebees
- Giving land managers, farmers and local communities’ practical advice on enhancing biodiversity for the benefit of bumblebees and other wild pollinators
- Working with schools to inspire the youngest audiences about the wonders of nature and the amazing lives of bumblebees
- Conducting surveys, called BeeWalks, to better understand where our bumblebees are and where they are not.
Thanks so much for your help and support.