Tuesday, 5 October 2010


So, I've spent the spring and summer at Yorkshire Sculpture Park researching the subject of bees. In that time i've been constantly thinking of how to translate all the information gathered and reveal my findings.

YSP is 500 acres in size - mainly grazed areas, with woodland around the lake and some arable. The house has virtually no formal planting schemes anymore - but there is a couple of boarders near the YSP info centre planted with shrubs. Being on the site all spring and summer made me realise that habitat for bees is very scarce and usually by coincidence (i.e nothing is deliberately planted with wildlife in mind). The size of YSP could accommodate a wider range of habitats that are highly valuable to bees (and therefor for other insects, butterflies and moths, birds and small mammals etc too) and also to the visiting public who come to experience and enjoy the surroundings.

With everything i found during the research i decided to propose a planting scheme that will redress this unbalance within the YSP landscape and that will have a visual impact on the site.

So, my idea for the future of the Bee Project is that two meadows, each an acre in size, will be planted on the YSP grounds. One will be made up entirely of yellow flowering plants and the other entirely of blue flowering plants. The two meadows will be an acre each to help make a difference to the local populations of bumblebees, solitary bees and also to honey bees in the area.

Almost every inch of land in UK has a financial value and this limits the usage that a landowner is prepared to manage it for. Why would you plant an area with wild flowers for bees with no financial gain when you can rent the land out for grazing or plant consumable crops and earn money?

To set land aside purely for the benefit of wildlife, a landowner would have to be one of the following:

1) a conservation charity / organisation supported by donations / funds to cover the costs

2) paid by someone else (usually the government) for the loss of value

3) rich with lots of land and lots of money and a passion for wildlife (possibly only Prince Charles fits into this category)

4) brave / bonkers (see above)

We are all aware of the threat to bees from the loss of habitat, but who is prepared to do anything about it?

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