Just the tonic!

As well as helping to design and create our anniversary Waun-Las gin, Gower Gin and Cheers Wine Merchants have donated £500 from the sales of their Môr Ladron Organic Rum towards important pollinator research.

Honeybees and wild pollinators are crucial in allowing us to pollinate crops that keep us healthy but, around the world, pollinator populations are declining.

The interacting factors of habitat loss, agricultural intensification, pests, disease and climate change contribute to these declines. Bumblebees, honeybees, solitary bees and hoverflies are essential to global wellbeing. The rapid decline of insect pollinators is a huge cause for concern.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is undertaking research that will help to understand the reasons for these pollinator losses and provide conservation guidance detailing information on the habitat requirements and foraging preferences of pollinating insects.

Our research will provide answers to questions such as: “Which pollinator-friendly plants in our gardens do pollinators like best?”

Abigail Lowe, PhD Researcher and Science Officer at the National Botanic Garden of Wales – Attribution (BY): Aled Llywelyn

By using the DNA contained within pollen to identify the plants from the bodies of pollinators, we are investigating where our honeybees are foraging, which plants hoverflies are visiting and more about the ecology of our wild bees. If we can find out what plants are most important for pollinators then we can help to ensure that these plants are available in the pollinators’ environment.

‘Plants for pollinators’ lists can be useful to help us choose the right plants but they are generally not based on real scientific data. At the National Botanic Garden of Wales, we have more than 5,000 different types of native and non-native flowering plants for our pollinators to choose from. We are in an excellent position to scientifically test which are best.

Dr Laura Jones, Science Officer at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Dr Laura Jones, Science Officer at the Botanic Garden, said: “To find out which plants pollinators have been visiting, we collect samples of pollen from their bodies or from the honey. We extract, amplify and sequence the DNA contained in the pollen using DNA metabarcoding techniques to identify its source. This funding will help us continue to detail exactly which plants are most important for pollinators and apply this information to make planting recommendations that we can all use in our gardens to support and protect our pollinators.”

Andrew Brooks, founder of The Gower Gin Company with wife Siân, said: “The honey rum is made by infusing barrel-aged organic rum with a special spice blend including vanilla, ginger and orange flower.  This is then blended carefully with artisan Welsh honey to create a delicious rum perfect for sipping or making cocktails.”

Dafydd Morris, owner/director of Cheers Wine Merchants, said: “We launched Môr Ladron Honey-Spiced Rum with the intention of not only making a great-tasting rum but also to support organisations undertaking important bee research and conservation projects, just like the National Botanic Garden of Wales.”

If you are interested in partnering with the Botanic Garden please get in touch with Owen Thomas, Fundraising & Development officer. Email: Owen.Thomas@gardenofwales.org.uk – Tel: 07414 771600

Môr Ladron – Gower Honey Spiced Rum – Attribution (BY): Jac Towler