My short visit to Floriade, especially the bee pavilion lived up to all expectations – in fact exceeded them.
When you enter the pavilion you are given one of two scanners – for pollen, with a flower symbol or for nectar, with a sort of water drop symbol.
You enter fairly near to the hive entrance which can be seen above head height and wander through an area of garden plants. Plants have a bar code with information indicating how pollen rich and /or nectar rich the plants are. You need to scan the appropriate section of as many plants as you can.
There is a complete plant list and there are some graphics that explain the underlying processes.
For the plant list there is some comfort that the common language is latin amongst gardeners – not that I know much Latin but I do recognise common Latin names.
You wander through the garden scanning (‘collecting’ pollen or nectar). I must admit I thought that the bees collected pollen from just one type of plant at a time but one of the attendants said no – this could have been a language problem or a basic misunderstanding of mine – all comments welcome.
Once you have scanned a few of the plants you go inside the ‘hive’ or bee pavilion – at a higher entrance if you are able bodied or there is a lower alternative route for those unable to manage the steps.
The inside of the hive has blackened walls and the sound of the bees as you’d experience inside a hive can be heard. There are large images of bees (in keeping with the fact we humans are masquerading as bees) and also some views through glass into one hive with frames and then from another aspect a view above the entrance to Hive 1 which we saw above our heads on entering the garden below. Back down the steps we arrived at a little display area and then we hand in our scanners for the verdict on how well we have done in collecting the appropriate commodity.
Hubby was on nectar and managed 20 units
I was proud that I collected 23 units of pollen.
There is some really interesting web links about Floriade and the bee Pavilion and also the project that has placed chips on some of the bees so that their journeys can be tracked.
details about bee journeys compared with weather temperature and humidity and the other tabs give background information.
I received an email following a query from Ralf at Nspyre
who gave me the following additional links
to the plant list as a pdf
The list is in Dutch but hopefully the plant names can be extracted.
Also to a BBC report – in English – with some film showing the bee pavilion and
people scanning in the garden.