Of the planet
A field to
Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in South West London is a colourful and vast world of flowers, plants, fungi and insects. They hold the most diverse botanical collection in the world, no doubt due to being over 250 years old. With attractions such as the Palm House, pictured below, themed gardens, the Creeper and Climbers playhouse and Tree Top walk, it’s no surprise this place is so popular.
One of their newest attractions, that has gained a lot of media coverage, is The Hive.
The structure inspired by the Science of Bees, designed by UK based artist Wolfgang Buttress. Its size is impressive and its design is eye catching. I was immediately intrigued and wowed by this metal, glowing and humming installation. This sensory sensation is not just a gimmick either.
It is alive.
The work of a colony of bees affect the light and sound output. So as you stand on the outside, inside and even under, you ‘real time’ experience these incredible creatures.
The bone conductor columns underneath the artwork also allow you to hear sound through vibration, a nifty comparison to how bees communicate.
Considering Bees are in crisis and 2014 saw the huge campaign ‘The Great British Bee Count’
, The Hive is either a little off trend or trying to continue the efforts. I vote for the latter.
For someone who doesn’t like bees or wasps, this sculpture made me rethink the reasoning behind that. Bees are our friends. We need them to pollinate our fruit and vegetables, which in turn improves our environment and economy. I’ve BEEn converted.
Kew Science Festival
And as Kew Gardens continues to share and expand their knowledge, expertise and understanding of plant life, it makes complete sense that they started a Science Festival that grabs ‘budding’ (sorry I went there) scientists early. In the current STEM orientated climate, they are positioned perfectly to take full advantage.
Their first ever festival was spread across the gardens, which made for a lot of walking. So comfortable shoes and lots of water was a must. From microscopes workshops and curatorial demonstrations to interactive trails, it was great to see so many people talking about what they were seeing. You can quite easily become passive in these places, but the festival managed to tackle that.
The whole day made me realise that Kew has some impressive facilities, many inspiring scientists and absolutely incredible collections.
My visit was an eye opening reminder to the fact that we truly depend on plants, fungi and insects to survive, not as only humans but as a planet.*
*that was a bit of a dramatic ending wasn’t it… the day was obviously a lot of fun too!