Restaurant openings, artisans, new products, events and more
THE VIBRANCY OF Griffiths Gardens is in real contrast to the surrounding grey buildings and hustle bustle of city life. Sitting in central Auckland, it’s the teaching hub of For The Love of Bees, a social sculpture by artist Sarah Smuts-Kennedy, who wants us to transform the city into the most bee-friendly in the world.
The work comprises several sub-projects to help proliferate healthy bee environments across the city. It’s a collaboration between Sarah and Auckland Council, which is funding and providing a temporary spot for the inner-city garden on Wellesley St.
Bee-friendly doesn’t mean dumping a whole lot of hives into the city, she says. It’s more about learning how to grow bee-friendly flowers. In many ways it all comes back to food, because bees are often the pollinators of the world’s food chain – this affects everything, from cropping to dairy.
“The big things that are affecting bees are obviously disease. But actually, at the top of the list is loss of habitat and environmental pollutions,” explains Sarah.
“There simply aren’t enough flowers and when they find them, they’re often toxic.”
For The Love of Bees’ calendar is packed with events for people wanting to learn more about organic and biologically friendly gardening, including weekly Thursday lunchtime classes at the gardens, as well as “cycling bees”, where tours are taken through the city to to show off the best environments for their health.
There are now 30,000 bees working within a network of six hives (set to burgeon to 150,000 over two years) in Auckland parks. But there are currently 6000 colonies in Auckland city, and each hive needs close to a billion flowers a season to survive. So there’s plenty of work being done to educate people at the gardens.
“There’s no point in saying let’s be the safest city in the world for bees without helping people to understand what that means and what they can do to help make it happen,” says Sarah.
“But what happens when 20 people think it’s possible, what happens when 100 people think it is? When we’re at 10,000 people thinking it could happen, then it becomes a possibility. That’s why we have Griffiths Gardens – it’s a place where we can pollinate this idea.”
fortheloveofbees.co.nz / THOMAS HEATON