Importance of Bees highlighted at Chelsea
‘Honey, I’m Home!’ (above) will be an interactive installation, inviting visitors to help create a swarm of giant honey bees flying home to their hive. The second will be a dramatic 20m long by 7m wide dark immersive tunnel ‘Per Oculus Apum‘ (Through the Eyes of Bees) complete with upside-down lavender field.
Both installations will open visitors’ minds to how bees see the world and ultimately raise awareness of the recent decline in the bee population. The aim is to emphasise the importance of nurturing the bee population and indirectly inviting people to join the campaign to save them.
McQueens Flowers has collaborated with Dr David Lawson, bee behaviourist at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol to help give insight into bees’ behaviour and their relationship with flowers. Dr Lawson commends McQueens for shedding light on the plight of bees and bringing attention to their hidden perceptual world.
Gina Hardy, heading up the design work at Chelsea Flower Show points out that the conservation of bees is something she has always been passionate about and was therefore an obvious choice of topic when being approached by the RHS to create the installations: “As I delved deeper into my research, I was completely awestruck at the wonder of a bee’s life and the way they experience the world around us and wanted to create an artwork that would immerse guests into the consciousness of a bee – through the visual cues, scent trails and the sounds they experience,” she said.
It is estimated that both installations will involve 23 of the highly skilful McQueens team working over five days to bring the designs to life. 2,500 plants, 6000 Craspedia stems and 6,000 leaves for the wings will arrive for making the bees alone!
‘Honey, I’m Home!’ will depict a bee hive with an igloo-like hexagonal honeycombe, taking two days to build. This will be the focus of The Artisan & Tree Tops Area installation. Under the guidance of McQueens Flower School visitors will be invited into the hive to make their own 3D bee to help create an original site-responsive artwork.
‘Per Oculus Apum‘ (pictured above) will remind visitors how clever bees are and will focus on glorious wild, organic bee-friendly flowers in vibrant colours like yellow and include an upside-down lavender field.
Plants need bees to pollinate so they are indispensable pollinators of most ecosystems. A honeybee can usually visit 50-1000 flowers in one trip, if bee takes ten trips a day, a colony of 25,000 forager bees can pollinate 250 million flowers in a day.
The threats to bees are well documented and include pests, diseases and viruses as well as loss of habitat, climate change and wisdespread use of pesticides.