Q & A with Doug Purdie

Q & A with Doug Purdie
Authors at the National Library
23 September 2016

Doug Purdie is a self-professed ‘beevangelist,’ and co-founder of The Urban Beehive. Doug and Vicky Brown started The Urban Beehive in 2010 to support honeybees to do their critically important work in urban Sydney. They have put beehives in city backyards, community gardens and on rooftops, boosting natural pollination to maintain the genetic diversity of Australian honeybees.

On Saturday 15 October Doug Purdie will be at the Library to help us transform our backyards into bug nirvanas, helping save our bees one plant at a time. We were lucky enough to sneak in a Q & A ahead of his visit.

Why do you write?

I would like everybody to understand and respect bees and other insects, after my first book Backyard Bees it became apparent that lots of people would like to help bees but don't want to become beekeepers and so The Bee Friendly Garden is a book to help those people help our bees and other beneficial insects.  


Book covers of Backyard Bees and The Bee Friendly Garden by Doug Purdie

What are you reading right now?

The American bee journal, a beekeeping magazine that has been published since 1861.

What 3 titles should always be on the shelves of any self-respecting book shop?

What apart from my own? It would have to be Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

How would you describe your latest book?

It's a guide for everybody no matter how small their garden, to help make a difference to our bee populations by planting something that flowers.

What was the hardest part of writing your latest book?

I am a beekeeper not a horticulturist so I kept the book speaking at my level, for example, rather than using latin names for plants I use common names that I can pronounce and remember. It took a lot of research to get right.

Backyard bees. Image courtesy of Murdoch Books

What was the best part of writing your latest book?

Learning so much about insects and plants that I didn't know before, I have always been a gardener but now know a lot more than I did.

What’s the strangest question you’ve been asked about your writing?

Well it's more about bees, I often get asked if we let the bees out of our hives...

Backyard bees. Image courtesy of Cath Muscatt

What do you love about libraries?

Oh I just love books I could spend forever in a Library or book shop, too many books and not enough hours to enjoy them.

Book your tickets to Doug Purdie's talk at the Library on 15 October. Find out more about the Urban Beehive.