Many years ago, when my husband and I were first together we lived just down the river from Kew Gardens. We would ride our bikes along the Thames... straight past the world’s most famous botanic gardens... and park up at the pub in Richmond. I really didn’t appreciate the wonder on my doorstep.
So whenever we’re back in London now I love to make up for all the wasted opportunities and visit Kew. Plus, it’s even better with kids.
During our last trip we checked out The Hive. This is an amazing sculptural installation that is actually controlled by bees. Esther is particularly interested because her Grandad is a beekeeper and she’s been his little apprentice since she could pull on her first bee suit at six years old.
Bees communicate through vibrations and the structure recreates the real time activity of a ‘behind-the-scenes’ beehive at Kew through LED lights turning off and on. You can also feel what it is like to be a bee communicating within the hive by touching a wooden stick to the structure and feeling the vibrations travel through to your skull. You’re at one with the bee colony inside the most amazing geometric creation.
Bees are so important to our existence but they and other pollinators like butterflies are declining in abundance. This was a great chance to talk to the girls about the crucial job they do. Although to be fair, Esther was already convinced.