This the story of how, over the course of a year, Alys, the Guardian gardening writer, learns how to keep bees; and Steve, the urban beekeeper, learns how to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. Part beautifully designed coffee-table book, part manifesto, this collection of engaging letters, emails, texts, recipes, notes and glorious photos creates a record of the trials, tribulations, reward and joys of working with, rather than against, nature. And along the way, the reader picks up a wealth of advice, tips and ideas for growing food and keeping pollinators well fed. For lazy gardeners to novice beekeepers (and everyone in between), this is the best rule-breaking, wildlife-friendly, guerilla, urban gardening insect-identifying, honey-tasting, wax-dripping, epistolary how-to book you could ever hope to own.
Alys Fowler likes growing food and flowers. Her flowers are a bit too far away for Steve's bees, so she's keeping the pollinators of Birmingham happy instead. She has written four books, presents gardening programmes on TV (including her own show The Edible Garden) and writes for the Guardian. She likes wild swimming, riding bikes and cooking.
Steve Benbow runs the London Honey Company which he set up twelve years ago from the roof of an ex-council block in Tower Bridge. It now has hives on the roof of Fortnum and Mason, Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery. Random House published his first book The Urban Beekeeper in 2012.