Good, good vibrations
ONE end of the lollipop stick was poked into a small slit in the metal column and the other end I was biting on, discovering how to ‘hear’ bee conversations through the bones in my head. ‘You need to cover your ears, too,’ one passing visitor advised me. Ah, that’s better. I could hear it all, via my jaws. A ‘begging’ honeybee was requesting food; ‘tooting’ and ‘quacking’ vibrations indicated a standoff between two virgin queen bees, sizing each other up. I was inside The Hive, a huge metallic structure in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. And there’s more: 1,000 or so LED lights flicker in response to live goings-on within a real hive.
Despite the sunshine, ice-cream vendors and breathtaking summer beauty of the park, The Hive lures and captivates the visitors. Kew is on a roll. Only last month, The Prince of Wales became the new royal patron of the gardens, the world’s longest double herbaceous border was unveiled and the gardens launched its own organic gin. After years of woeful funding cuts, recently, it has secured some £130 million of funds for the next few years. This is Kew’s annus mirabilis. KBH