Friday, September 15, 2017

Bee Festival

At the beginning of September I went to the Bee and Pollination Festival at the Botanic Garden, an event I had been VERY EXCITED about for a long time! I'm fascinated by pollinators such as bees, butterflies, bats and moths, and I love honey, so I was really looking forward to reveling in all these for a day.

The Bee and Pollination Festival is a yearly event, put on to celebrate and raise awareness of pollinators. 

It also hosts the Bristol beekeepers honey show, so there were various demonstrations of beehives,

bee keeping and different honeys to try,

as well as competition for the Bristol Silver Queen Trophy, a trophy in the shape of a huge silver bee.

There were lots of local conservation and wildlife groups with stalls to educate people about pollinators. I saw a wild bee hive, hundreds of different species of bee, hover fly, wasp, butterfly and moth natural history specimens, and I got to hold a (sadly deceased) bumblebee specimen.

Although I had mixed feelings about holding a dead bee, it was really interesting to be able to get such a close look and to feel how light and fluffy it was. It was surprisingly soft and practically weightless. Looking at it through a magnifying glass, I could see all the delicate veins in its wings and the individual hairs on its back.

There were also lots of vendors selling bee and pollination related items,

such as plants,


local cider,

and locally grown fruit and vegetables. It was a little bit like a farmers market and there were so many plants and products I wanted to buy! 

One of my favourite stalls was run by Jackie Isard, an amazing botanical artist. She had loads of butterfly and moth specimen cases sandwiched between her gorgeous and intricate artwork,

and she was using one of them to work from on the stall. I always love seeing creatives at work, so I was so happy to see her process. I'm still kicking myself for not buying one of her prints, but I've discovered her blog so have been contenting myself with looking at her artwork online.

I wandered around all the stalls, looked all around the wonderful Botanic Garden, tried some honey, bought a few things, picked up some free samples and looked at the live hives, before leaving tired but happy just before the gardens closed for the day.

I had a thoroughly fabulous day at the Bee and Pollination Festival. It was like the perfect combination of a village fete, a flower show, and a conservation festival, and as well as being educational it had a really lovely atmosphere. I'm really happy that there's a festival dedicated to our precious pollinators, and I can't wait to go again next year (and buy more plants)!


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