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Bees’ Needs Champion

Main image credit: Public Art UK | Mike Jansen

The Horniman’s Bee Garden – a haven for multiple bee species alongside London’s South Circular road – has won a Bees’ Needs Champions Award.

The awards recognise parks and green spaces working to protect pollinators. The Bee Garden at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill is one of 32 winners this year, to be celebrated at an online ceremony on Wednesday 18 November.

The Horniman Bee Garden was completed in May and includes two wildflower meadow areas, three bee hotels and six hexagonal raised beds planted with 29 floral species that attract and provide food for bees – including asters, echiums, salvias and verbenas, alongside buddleia, hebe and mahonia shrubs.

An air-cleaning sculpture

In the centre of the garden, appearing to rise out of the flowers, is ‘Flower Girl – For it was only upon the gentle buzzing of bees that she could awaken’, a sculpture by Jasmine Pradissitto.

The sculpture is made from NoxTek™, a material that absorbs nitrogen dioxide pollution from the air. This pollution masks the smell of flowers, preventing bees from finding their food.

The aim is for the sculpture to clear a ‘scent path’ alongside the A205 South Circular, one of south London’s busiest roads.

Supporting bees

Numerous bee species have been spotted in the Bee Garden, including buff-tailed, white-tailed, red-tailed and common carder bumblebees, southern and field cuckoo bumblebees and honeybees.

Several hoverfly species, three different types of ladybird and many more other other insects have also been spotted at the garden.

‘Bees are our most important pollinators, vital to gardeners and to the environment as a whole, so we wanted to create a garden dedicated to supporting them.

‘The planting and bee hotels will provide food sources, shelter and nesting spaces for multiple bee species, for years to come. We’re thrilled the Bee Garden has proved so popular – with the Bees’ Needs Champions Awards judges, our visitors and, most importantly, the bees.’

Head of Horticulture at the Horniman Museum and Gardens

Created in lockdown

The Bee Garden was created during the first Coronavirus lockdown, when the museum was closed but the Horniman Gardens remained open.

The museum closed again from 05 November and the Horniman asks visitors to the Gardens to observe current social distancing guidelines during their visit.

The annual Bees’ Needs Champions Awards are run by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) in partnership with the Green Flag Awards, The Bee Farmers’ Association, Championing the Farmed Environment and the Nature Friendly Farming Network.

The awards recognise and celebrate examples of exemplary initiatives undertaken by local authorities, community groups, farmers and businesses to support pollinators.

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