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Alexandra Froggatt raising awareness of bees in horticulture

Are all the bees disappearing? With more than 700 species reported as heading toward extinction, it appears they are. RHS Gold Medal winning designer Alexandra Froggatt has designed a new pop up show garden to raise awareness of the importance of bees. Pro Landscaper sits with her, to find out about the inspiration and the message behind the Manchester project.

How does the garden itself raise the awareness of bees?

alexandra froggatt
Bee sculpture, by Tim Sutcliffe

The Summer bee garden is a quirky and fun outdoor space centred around a giant bee sculpture, by artist Tim Sutcliffe. This showcases simple but effective ideas the public can use to attract Bees. Nectar rich plants such as Echinacea purpurea ‘white swan’, Sedum ‘matrona’ and Penstemon ‘purple passion’ mingle together. This creates both a beautiful display and provide food for the bees all summer and well into the autumn.

Bees are essential in pollinating the crops we eat. With this in mind, a range of edibles including herbs, fruit and salads are grown to highlight this crucial connection.
Many people have limited outdoor space or a small budget, so the garden uses recycled materials in a creative way. Innovative ideas, such as turning reclaimed pallets into a living wall abundant with herbs and strawberries feature in the garden. This proves that you don’t always need a big budget or large space to have big ideas.

Why is it crucial to improve public knowledge and perception of bees?

Bees are declining at an alarming rate and aside from the impact on ecosystems, without bees to pollinate our crops, we would quickly face with food supply problems globally. Without bees, we cannot eat!

Can you tell us the challenges you faced with this project, and how these have been overcome?

A tight budget and longevity of the garden. The budget for the project was low, but I tried to see this a positive and used it to lead me to an industrial, reclaimed theme for the garden. This of course is much less in materials costs, but I felt also complemented the industrial setting of the museum.alexandra froggatt
The garden is temporary, but unlike show gardens which only need to look their best for around a week, this is open to the public for two months. I will be visiting regularly to check plants and replace where necessary. With this in mind, plants which flower for a long time or have interesting buds before flowering have been used. For example, Sedum ‘Matrona’ and S. ‘Stardust’ will both last for the length of the display. Autumn plants such as Ceanothus are included as they act as a soft foil against the summer flowers but will be a burst of blue in September.
Project details:
Designer: Alexandra Froggatt 
Contractor- Equator Developments and volunteers from the Museum of Science and Industry
Location – Manchester
Estimated value – £9K
Alexandra Froggatt Design
RHS Gold Award winning landscape designer
Pre-registered Member of the Society of Garden Designers
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