A group of eight environmental art enthusiasts gathered at Cloudfarm Studios last Saturday to assemble three “Bee Bells” that will provide habitat for native bees in Picton Botanical Gardens. The workshop participants – Margaret, Sharon, Jake, Ingrida and Margaret, along with Susan Conroy from Southern Tablelands Arts, myself and my colleague Ana Pollak, spent the day attaching the terracotta and copper shim leaves that will protect native bee nests.
The clay cob that was made during the first workshop at Wollondilly Community Nursery is now dry and hanging within the copper shim bell. Clay is favoured by blue banded bees and teddy bear bees as a nesting material; guide holes were made into the clay cob to give the bees a starting point for their nesting tunnels.
The fired terracotta “leaves” made by participants in the last workshop form a shingled cladding over the steel armature, protecting the nesting substrates from the worst of the weather. The first two armatures, shown above, will house a collection of substrates including bamboo, Xanthorea spikes and lantana. These nesting materials are favoured by reed bees, resin bees, masked bees and leaf cutter bees.
The three hanging bee habitat sculptures are visually intriguing. Apart from providing nesting materials, the works will whet the curiosity of visitors to the Picton Botanical gardens, helping to increase awareness of our local native bees.
Over time the terracotta and copper shim bee bells will develop a patina, ageing gracefully within the natural environment.
The Bee Bells will be installed into Picton Botanic gardens in early Spring.
Interested in Native Bees? Follow Megan Halcroft’s Facebook pages: