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The Bumblebee Flies Anyway: Gardening and Surviving Against the Odds

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  204 ratings  ·  38 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 17th 2018 by Bloomsbury Wildlife
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  204 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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K.J. Charles
I did not expect a book about wildlife gardening to make me cry. This is extraordinary: the tale of a woman, a decked, concreted, crappy patch of worthless city garden, and her mission to bring it back to life by attracting bees, birds, insects and wild plants. It's not the usual gardening writing when everyone plans stuff and has magic perfect soil and twenty acres and an unlimited budget. This is the kind of gardening you do when you're drunk, or you decide to randomly scatter seed like a rebe ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My partner half-jokes that when we retire and finally buy a house in a much cheaper area, he'll pour concrete over the yards. No mowing, he says.

Just two days ago some inspectors came through our work compound and said, these dried-out succulents are a fire hazard. We'll have to come through and pave over everything. What about the ground squirrels, the little lizards that sun themselves on the sidewalk, the sparrows that live in the bushlike tree outside our building? Fuck them, I guess. I can
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Moving to a new home in Brighton was a little bit daunting for Kate Bradbury, but it was the right time in her life to do it. The only problem was that space outside her back door was a barren and lifeless decked yard. The decking wasn’t in that great a condition either, so one day she decided that the whole lot had to come out and ventured out with her screwdriver.

Removing it took a little while and it revealed the stuff that had been left underneath that needed clearing, but in the end, it is
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The reading of this book couldn’t have been better planned as I continue to add wildflowers and water bowls and dried leaves to corners of my back yard while my next door neighbour just finished razing everything in her back yard and is preparing it for a built-in pool and concrete pad to the fence line 🙄😡😫
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
When I heard that The Bumblebee Flies Anyway was about reclaiming a decked over garden for the wildlife, I thought this is my kind of gardening book. When we moved into our house, the small garden (front and back) had been covered in concrete paving and gravel, not a bit of green in sight except for the occasional resilient dandelion. Why do people hate living things so much?

When Kate Bradbury moves to Brighton her budget is tight but she manages to find a basement flat with a small patch of gar
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful book took me out into nature and back to my childhood. I wept for all that I had lost and forgotten, all it led me to find and remember and all that which it helped me see for the first time. There is so much love in these wonderful words, not just for wildlife but for family. Kate Bradbury has a wonderful vision for the future - of all the gardens in Britain joining hands to nurture new life. I am fully inspired to do my bit to make that come true. And to pass on all that which m ...more
Asha - A Cat, A Book, And A Cup Of Tea
The first thing I noticed about this book is that Kate has a very unique writing style. This reads like a diary, almost, with a lot of run-on sentences and half-formed thoughts. It's beautiful to read, once you get used to it. Her descriptions of the garden are extremely evocative, from the sunless, unloved little concrete box she buys, to the life-filled, colourful garden she creates - it feels as if you can see it at each stage. I wish there had been pictures, but in a way, I can see why there ...more
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this book even though it fell apart and lost it's momentum towards the end. This however was understandable because of the author's need to spend time with her brain injured mother [aneurism] and to report that exhausting part of her life accurately.
It brought back to me all the years I was able to keep a British garden and provide some of the plants needed for wildlife - partly because I am not naturally a tidy gardener - and now I feel glad that I did the right thing. However times ha
Now I want to rip even more tiles out of my garden than I already have.
Sue Frances
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely book. It makes you feel like getting outside and tending to your own plants and trees. I, like Kate, love Bees and have a Bee hotel and have leaf cutter bees in my garden. If you like nature and gardening you will like this book.
Sara Owen
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational, educational, uplifting, sad, thought-provoking. Brilliant!
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-and-earlier
What an inspiring book! Telling the tale of an unloved garden being nursed back to health, mainly for the bees, birds and butterflies to enjoy, we are taken through the process with all its ups and downs. Interwoven with this is a personal story. The author has a passion for gardening and for all the creatures that rely on it. She takes their welfare very seriously and goes to great lengths to nurture them. She is particularly interested in bees and I found it fascinating. I didn't realise there ...more
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Currently I seem to be reading much on the outdoors and this was a little gem - grabbed spontaneously at my favourite Bookshop and read over the last couple of days to curb my withdrawal symptoms at poorly Scottish Weather keeping me out of my garden due to cold and damp causing a serious flare-up of my Arthritis.
Whether you are an avid nature seeker, part time flower enthusiast, garden addict ( myself included this year especially ), looking for something different to give your children to read
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was given to our book group to read and review as an ‘extra’ in addition to one of our monthly titles. On seeing the title and initial strap-line I was dubious as to whether it was ‘my thing’ and assumed I would be wading through the pages for the sake of book group, rather than because I really wanted to.

How wrong was I?! This book is utterly charming and I was captivated from the start. The book is written, or reads anyway, like a diary or journal and this makes the reader feel very engag
Karen Venn
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The 'Bumblebee Flies Anyway' brings both hope and a warning. It highlights the follies of 'easy gardening' by illustrating the negative affect that a sterile environment can have on us and also the benefits that accrue when a garden is brought back to life by, for example, the removal of decking.

As the book progresses we see the natural beauty that ensues when 'easy gardens' are replaced with plants suited to native wildlife. It shows us the damage that can so easily be done, often through ignor
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful description of the all the elements that make up why gardening is so important, especially the plants and animals that make a garden alive. As someone who plants nettles in full sunshine to get more butterflies in her tiny garden, I felt like I was reading a book from a nature loving soul-mate. Wonderful book that will open your eyes to the things that matter.

Best read sitting in your garden/in the park/next to your window box

Mark Rendi
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful book about the pleasures of not only helping but allowing nature to thrive around you. There are parts of this book that will stick with me forever I think. The passage on the neighbours hedge being stripped back is utterly heartbreaking and is a testament not only to the authors love of nature but her talent as a writer. Definitely recommended reading. Even better, the audio version is read by Kate herself and is such a pleasure.
Karen Mace
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful little book! As a keen gardener and wildlife lover, I'm probably the target audience I'm sure for a book written by someone who looks on their garden as more than an 'outdoor living room' or as a space to be ignored or paved over as is the trend nowadays, but this gem of a book perfectly explains just how important a little green space is to the owner and to the wildlife of the local area. From a tiny bee moving into a bee hotel, to the flock of sparrows enjoying the safety of a ...more
Katie Bee
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books-read
I loved most of this book. While I enjoy gardening in an amateur way (cherry tomatoes, flowers), I'm mostly an indoors sort of person and had never really thought much about the wildlife and broader ecosystem of a garden. This book was part lovely eye-opener, part inspiring polemic about what modern-day humanity is losing in our quest for manicured sterility and paving stones.

What I did not expect, however, was that the book takes a hard turn partway through and becomes a memoir about the catast
Beautiful, heartfelt book about building something new from an unpromising start, mending a broken heart, and a deep love for family, gardening and wildlife. Building her garden from scratch, Kate renews herself, and her love song to gardening and wildlife is intertwined with a tale of a horrendous event within her family. This book is deeply moving, and both a memoir of a difficult personal time, and a real education about the small but important changes we can all make in our gardens and outsi ...more
Sally Boocock
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautifully inspiring book which is guaranteed to get you out in your garden or in the open air if you don't have one. It certainly did it for me. Its uplifting ,sad and yet incredibly moving. A definite for anyone who loves the outdoors and especially bees. Its taught me a lot and made me appreciate the great outdoors,bees and birds. ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book! Thoroughly enjoyable but so sad in parts; yet again shows how humankind has caused so much loss of habitat and the life which used to live therein. How could humankind allow this? So sad that some of us (most of us?) cannot see the beauty of nature and what lies within. A beautifully written book.
Nov 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sweet, cozy book, but I didn’t get quite halfway before deciding to put it down. I found that it dragged out just a little, and although the slow pace is part of its charm, I would prefer to put my time into other books at the moment. Really connected with the author’s love of and connection to nature (though a bit more obsessive than me!)
Mr J Cryer
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book.

Loved this book, bought it as a gift a while ago and the person loved it. Finally got around to reading it myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. Bit of everything if you like gardening, birds, bees, conservation or just a general interest in wildlife. Loved how the book showed how a green space, however small, can help us deal with the trials of life. Highly revommend.
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
A lovely look at the wonders of the natural world (even those to be found close to home in seemingly ordinary creatures and quarters), and a lot of dark and personal reflecting on human fallibility and mortality.
Jo Doyle
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was nice to read about how she created her garden without spending a fortune. Such a pity that more and more land is being built on and lost forever. At least my garden is full of birds, bees and insects.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a very personal, beautifully written book about the importance of nature and gardens, especially when hard and painful things happen. Sometimes the stories and worries that the author shares were almost too sad for me, but having finished it I was still very impressed with this book.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great readi

I enjoyed this book thoroughly. The way Kate combined it as memoirs , gardening , and her mums recovery. The result is that this emphasises the fact that gardening and green spaces help and aid recovery.
Elaine Ground
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I loved this so much. I learned about wildlife gardening and was,inspired to make my outdoor space as wildlife friendly as,possible. Beautifully written with great description. Fab!!
Tracey Ryan young
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a calming, interesting, passionate (subject not sex) book. I am not finding it easy to read/listen during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown (first wave, incase there are more), I was however able to enjoy this book.
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