Central Sussex Beekeepers at Wakehurst Place

From Bee Craft: July 2009

Steve Alton

Bees and beekeepers get involved in saving wildflower meadows


Wickerwork bees grace the Wakehurst exhibition

The weekends will form part of the Vanishing Meadows exhibition, organized by Kew and the Weald Meadows Initiative, which runs from 1 May until 4 October 2009.


The exhibition aims to highlight the vanishing landscape of traditional Wealden hay meadows and their role in supporting a myriad of plants and wildlife.

A traditional timber-framed building, constructed for the exhibition using oak harvested from the Wakehurst estate and built using techniques dating back 250 years, will house information displays. These will explain the importance of meadows, RBG Kew’s work to restore them and how everyone can play their part, for example by growing wildflowers.

A new meadow is being established as a focal point of the exhibition and a lasting legacy of RBG Kew’s two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary. The entrance to the meadow features a sculpture of flowers and bees, created by artist Olivia Keith using coloured willow stems harvested on site.


The official opening by Fergus Garrett, Head Gardener at Great Dixter

Bee hives, kindly loaned by the CSBKA, are situated in the new meadow, and a giant ‘10%’ has been mown into the grass to celebrate the Millennium Seed Bank’s collection and storage of seeds of 10% of the world’s flora. Local schoolchildren are getting involved and will be planting wildflowers and scattering seeds in the meadow.

Events which are linked to the exhibition include a range of traditional meadow management demonstrations such as hay making with heavy horses, scything, mini baling, sheep shearing and grazing.


The event was officially launched by Fergus Garrett, Head Gardener at Great Dixter, the garden developed and made famous by Christopher Lloyd.

Lloyd was known for his use of meadow plantings, utilising both native and exotic species, and Garrett is well aware of the problems of trying to promote the use of wildflowers. He is often accused of ‘letting the

gardens go’ by allowing plants to flourish that many members of the public perceive to be weeds.


Fergus Garrett (left) and Iain Parkinson, Conservation & Woodlands Manager at Wakehurst, inspect the meadow

The CSBKA will be at Wakehurst Place on 27-28 June and 1-2 August.

For further information, see www. high weaId .org/text. asp?Pageld=403 or http://250.kew.org/Celebrate AtWakehurst/Exhibitionsamp Attractions/index.htm



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