The journey of the British bee will be brought to life this summer at Kew Gardens when the award winning Hive installation from the 2015 Milan Expo, is relocated to the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Hive was the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion at last year’s global event in Milan and stood as a visual symbol of the pollinators’ role in feeding humanity and the challenges facing bees today. It will fulfil a similar role at Kew, hoping to show visitors how they can make a difference to the life of bees with a multi-sensory experience, including architecture, science, music and wildflower landscapes.
Visitors will be drawn into The Hive via a lush and vibrant wildflower meadow that Wildflower Turf Ltd are delighted to be growing for Kew Gardens. Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum and Horticultural Services at Kew, has been making regular visits to Wildflower Turf Ltd to discuss the different types of wildflower products to be used and check on their progress. A mix of Landscape Turf and Border Turf will be used within the surrounding garden with a mix of bright annuals and native perennial wildflowers. This area is likely to be under planted with summer flowering bulbs for extra impact.
The story of pollination will continue to come alive for visitors throughout Kew, from seeing the seasonal array of sumptuous fruit and veg in Kew’s Kitchen Garden, to basking in the British summer on a Pollination Trail across the gardens. Individual beehives, housing honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees will take up home in the Gardens, enabling visitors to understand the inner workings of a hive, while the summer holidays will be filled with hands on activities for all ages. Thousands of flickering LED lights will bring the 17 metre high structure to life, reflecting bee activity within the hive and making it a wonderful place to visit at dusk with a honey infused cocktail in hand.
James Hewetson-Brown, Managing Director at Wildflower Turf Ltd says “We are delighted to have been asked to grow the meadow to surround this magnificent structure by Wolfgang Buttress – it really will be a sight to behold this summer for wildflower and bee enthusiasts. More importantly, it offers the chance for visitors to reconnect with nature and understand in detail why looking after our pollinators is so important and hopefully encourage even more people to consider bees when designing and planting gardens and amenity landscapes. It is a great honour to be working with Kew Gardens on such a prestigious project.”
The Hive’s official opening date to the public is Saturday 18th June. You can book your tickets in advance at the Kew Garden Visit booking site.