Sean Stapleton 17/05/2018 For the Love of Bees
By Sean Stapleton
Aucklanders are abuzz in their efforts to become the most bee-friendly city in the world.
Through the City Bee Collaboration (CBC), Sarah Smuts-Kennedy aims to educate apartment dwellers on gardening and assist the development of Biological Pollinator Sanctuaries.
These ecological safe spaces are developed not only for bees but humans too, creating a place for pollinators to thrive and nutrient-dense foods to grow.
The CBC runs a series of workshops open to anyone, on everything from seed planting to bee care workshops and bike adventures that raise awareness about how bees experience the city.
Anna Dadson runs the Griffiths Gardens on Wellesley Street in the Central Business District in which she, with a number of volunteers, grows and manages over 20 plot boxes of organic plants.
“This is a biology-first teaching garden where we teach about microbiology and plant health,” says Dadson.
She says she sometimes has up to 20 students and volunteers who attend her workshops at the Griffiths Gardens and will often have pedestrians join in out of curiosity.
Paul Coe, one of the Wellesley Street volunteers, says he is keen to involve others in the project. He gets a great amount of pleasure from the gardens.
“This small area [referring to a miniature greenhouse on site] is all I have on my balcony to grow in,” he says, explaining how the project lets him thrive in a much larger gardening space.
Antonina Elliot, another student, speaks eagerly about her involvement.
“I got involved after walking past the garden every day on my way to the bus. I wanted to learn more about gardening, to understand the science, so I know what I’m doing in my own garden.”
The CBC has secured Auckland Council funding for another year to continue the Griffiths Gardens and maintain its seed bank.
At a planning meeting, contributors were excited about the opportunity to further extend their project.
“Plants love dissonant sounds, and we’re looking to see how we could involve musicians to perform in our space,” says Dadson.
Among the variety of plants at the Griffiths Gardens are hollyhocks, a flower that requires a high level of care – a sign of the dedication that goes into these gardens.