The Horniman’s Bee Garden has been recognised as a haven for multiple bee species and has been awarded a Bees’ Needs Champions Award.
I spoke to artist Jasmine Pradissitto about the sculpture ‘Flower Girl’, a creation that absorbs pollution from the air, pollution that masks the smell of flowers preventing bees finding their food. The sculpture aims to clear a ‘scent path’ alongside the A205 South Circular, one of south London’s busiest roads.
“When you can’t go into building you need the outside world…” Jasmine Pradissito
The Horniman’s Bee Garden Award
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. The awards recognise parks and green spaces working to protect pollinators.
‘Flower Girl’ statue
In the centre of the garden, seeming 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 made from NoxTek™, a material that absorbs nitrogen dioxide pollution from the air.
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, Honeybees, and other insects including several hoverfly species, three different types of ladybird, and more.
Wes Shaw, Head of Horticulture at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: ‘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.’
The Bee Garden was created during the first Coronavirus lockdown, when the museum was closed but the Horniman Gardens remained open.
The Horniman Gardens remain open, including the Café and kiosks (takeaway only), toilets and Sunday market, and the Horniman is asking the public to adhere to current social distancing guidance in the Gardens.
Opening times – the Café and Gardens kiosk is open from 9am to 4pm daily, for takeaway only. The Café Terrace kiosk will be open weekends only from 11am to 4pm. The Gardens are open from 7.15am (Monday to Saturday) or 8am (Sunday and Bank Holidays) until dusk (currently 4.20pm).
Bees’ Needs Champions Awards 2020 – 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.
- Coronavirus restrictions and impact – the Museum is closed to the public from 5 November. The Animal Walk and Butterfly House are also closed.
- Every month the Horniman is closed cost around £150,000 in lost income from ticket sales, memberships, the shop and café. In recent years the Horniman has increasingly relied on this vital income to help care for the Gardens, fish and other animals, to run events and to look after the collections. The support of returning visitors, our supporters and their generous donations, are more needed than ever. horniman.ac.uk/support-us/
- The Horniman Museum and Gardens opened in 1901 as a gift to the people in perpetuity from tea trader and philanthropist Frederick John Horniman, to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’. Today the Horniman has a collection of 350,000 objects, specimens and artefacts from around the world. Its galleries include natural history, music and an acclaimed aquarium. A new World Gallery of anthropology opened in June 2018 and a new arts space, The Studio, opened in October 2018. Indoor exhibits link to the award-winning display gardens – from medicinal and dye gardens to an interactive sound garden, Butterfly House and an animal walk – set among 16 acres of beautiful, green space offering spectacular views across London. horniman.ac.uk
- The Horniman Museum and Gardens is core-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and since 1990 has been governed by an independent charitable trust, registered charity no. 802725. The Horniman Museum and Gardens also receives funding from Arts Council England as one of its National Portfolio Organisations.
- On 29 July 2019 the Horniman Museum and Gardens declared an ecological and climate emergency, pledging to place carbon reduction and environmental issues at the heart of its work. The declaration is both a consolidation of existing work and a commitment to renewed ambitions to reduce the Horniman’s environmental and pollution footprint, increase biodiversity, and inspire others to do so. Find out more about the Horniman’s specific commitments as part of the declaration at horniman.ac.uk.
- Access. The Museum and the Gardens are both wheelchair and pushchair friendly with accessible toilets. Limited on-site parking is available for Blue Badge holders. horniman.ac.uk/visit/disability-and-access.
- Travel. The Horniman is situated at 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ on the South Circular Road (A205). It can be reached easily by train to Forest Hill station (London Overground/Southern, travel time approx.15-20 minutes from east/central London or East Croydon) and by local buses (176, 185, 197, 356, P4).