‘Bee-autiful’ design wins honeybee haven contest
March 6, 2009
By Kathy Keatley Garvey
It’s a honey of a garden, the judges unanimously agreed.
A Sausalito-based team created a series of interconnected gardens with such names as Honeycomb Hideout, Nectar Nook and Pollinator Patch to win the international bee-friendly garden design competition, a gift to UC Davis from the Häagen-Dazs brand.
The design, created by landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki, will be brought to life this summer on a half-acre site at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
Sibbett is a principal with the Sibbett Group, Brainard is an independent museum consultant, Baker is a senior landscape architect with RRM Design Group, and Kurotaki is an independent design consultant and an exhibit designer who works for RRM Design Group.
In December 2008, Häagen-Dazs ice cream committed $125,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology to establish the garden.
The key goals of the garden are to provide bees with a year-round food source, to raise public awareness about the plight of honeybees and to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own.
“We’ll not only be providing a pollen and nectar source for the millions of bees on campus, but we will also be demonstrating the beauty and value of pollinator gardens,” said design competition coordinator Melissa “Missy” Borel, program manager for UC Davis’ California Center for Urban Horticulture. “My hope is that it will inspire everyone to plant for pollinators.”
“The winning design fits beautifully with the campus mission of education and outreach, and it will tremendously benefit our honeybees at Bee Biology,” said Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology. “The garden will be a campus destination.”
Kimsey served as one of eight judges who unanimously selected the design from among 30 entries, submitted from as far away as England. The winning team will be honored at the garden dedication in October, where they will be presented with an engraved name plaque. They also will be given the sweet reward of free Häagen-Dazs ice cream for a year.
The Sibbett Group design zeroed in on sustainability and visitor experience. The four interconnected gardens form the “physical and interpretive framework for our honeybee haven design,” the authors said. A series of trails connects the gardens, while trellises define the entryways and reinforce the passage to the next space.
“Incorporated into each of the four sections are gathering spaces that serve as orientation points for guided tours, facilitated programs and ‘chat time’ with beekeepers and entomologists,” the team explained. Identification labels will help visitors know more about the plants, or what they can plant in their own yards.
The design also includes a learning center building and paths labeled Orchard Alley, Save the Bee Sanctuary, Round Dance Circle and Waggle Dance Way.
The competition judges focused on diversity (the winning design has 40 different plants), bloom balance, vision, generational learning, cost, feasibility and attention to detail. Judges also declared the Sibbett Group design “the most river- or environmentally-friendly” and noted that it was beautiful, functional and financially realistic.
Honeybees pollinate more than 100 different U.S. agricultural crops, valued at $15 billion. However, in recent years, the nation’s beekeepers have reported losing from one-third to all of their bees due to a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.
In response, the Häagen-Dazs brand launched the “Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees” campaign in February 2008, committing a total $250,000 donation for bee research to UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University, then added a second donation of $250,000 to the two universities in 2009.
It also formed a scientific advisory Bee Board, created an educational Web site and introduced the new Vanilla Honey Bee ice cream flavor. Häagen-Dazs estimates that bees are crucial to nearly 50 percent of its flavors.
During the last several months, the public has donated more than $30,000 to support additional honey bee research at UC Davis. In addition, a number of other companies have launched programs to donate a portion of their proceeds to UC Davis honeybee research.
On the Net: entomology.ucdavis.edu
Kathy Keatley Garvey is a communications specialist with the Department of Entomology.
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