THOSE who care about the welfare of bees are in distinguished company.

“I think it was Einstein who said that once the bees go, then within five years so will mankind,” said Glynis Hales.

“Without the bees we won’t exist. They pollinate, and that is a huge percentage of our food.

“We’ve got a few problems at the moment but it’s all about getting back to nature, really.”

Threats to bees and other pollinators include the clearance of meadows and hedgerows to make way for agribusiness, intensive modern farming methods and climate change.

Perhaps surprisingly, increased housebuilding is not necessarily a major part of the problem, as our gardens cover more space than national parks. It’s what we do with those gardens that is crucial.

“Back in the day you would have what we called a cottage garden – basically wild flowers. We didn’t have lawnmowers, so we weren’t mowing lawns and trying to get this golf course in our back gardens.

“They were allowed to grow, so insects – butterflies and bees – had the space to be.

“The strange thing is that a lot of people like the cottage garden look, but they’ve lost the way to actually do it. I think my biggest thing is to say to people that there’s no such thing as a weed. It’s not a plant in the wrong place – you’re in the wrong place. The plant is in the right place.

“If you look at a foxglove, for example, you wouldn’t say it was in the wrong place; you’d say, ‘Oh, isn’t that lovely.’ Now that’s a wild flower. So just because a wild flower might be smaller, that doesn’t mean it should be treated any differently to a foxglove.”

Glynis, originally from London, has spent much of her career in the computer industry, including a 20-year stint in New Zealand.

Always interested in nature and always a gardener, it was in New Zealand that she became deeply interested in conservation, as the country faces challenges from invasive flora and fauna.

In Swindon, she is perhaps best known as the main driving force behind Penhill Haven, the acclaimed community garden and green space behind the John Moulton Hall, and has won a Pride of Swindon Award among other accolades.

The Bee Roadzz Swindon stemmed from a meeting a little over a year ago with Milly Carmichael, who runs a Bee Roadzz project in Marlborough.

Having designed several gardens, Glynis is anxious to reassure people that there is no great mystery to creating one which is friendly to pollinators and other creatures.

“Stop using any pesticides because they kill everything. Stop using slug pellets because they kill hedgehogs. Plant proper wild flowers - but you need to make sure you’re getting them from a good source because some seeds have been soaked in pesticides.”

Glynis suggests an organisation called Meadow in my Garden, which can be readily found online.

She added: “Make a small hole in your fence for hedgehogs, because they travel about two miles a night and need to move around. Get with your neighbours. I think you’ll find they’re into it.

“Have a scrappy place where you put logs when you cut down branches or whatever. Just put them in the corner because that will be used by hedgehogs, birds and all sorts.

“Plant trees – with fruit trees, you’re getting fruit, the insects are getting blossom and it’s pretty. It’s a good two-way street.

“You don’t have to mow the lawn. Just leave it! Put stepping stones through, plant some wildflowers in there and you’ll have a little meadow in your garden.

“We don’t have to take up all the space. You have the space to grow your food, the space to sit with your friends and whatever and then a space for wildlife. I do it in thirds. A third of your garden can easily be for wildlife.

“Leave it alone – just leave it alone. Stop messing. It’s as easy as that. Another thing I say is that if you build it they will come, and every little bit added to another bit makes a bigger bit.

“It’s mankind that’s made this mess, and it’s only mankind that can put it right.”

Details can be found at The Bee Roadzz Swindon Facebook page.