Well thanks, everyone, for responding to the first in the GLOOMY FOREBODINGS series with such valiant optimism!
VP - this will absolutely NOT be a regular series. Re-reading it depressed even me, and I don't think I could manage such posts more than once in a while. I love the Robert Preston comment, by the way!
James - I've a notion that you may have called me a miserable old sod a time or two anyway - but if you haven't, you should!
Victoria - thanks for the info on possible links between imidacloprid and colony collapse. I take these seriously and will investigate them further. I would, however - at risk of bringing the wrath of several of you onto my head - need to see documented evidence of such links, from an impartial, scientifically based source, before being convinced. Information like this, while important and of great interest, would test my credulity somewhat, if it came only from pressure groups such as the Soil Association. And at the risk of further rage from some of you, I must own up and admit that I do use Provado, occasionally, and I do recommend it as a highly effective remedy for such pests as vine weevils.
HOWEVER, if I can find convincing, documented evidence that there is such a link, I will not only stop using it forthwith, but will also never recommend it again.
r pete-free - Dracunculus is an excellent suggestion. I'll plant some at once. A lot of our prettier umbellifers are fly pollinated too, so I could add those as well.
The next post, I promise, will be cheerful and optimistic, if anyone will still speak to me, after reading the above!