Pretending its not Winter at Kew

A little while ago now I found myself at Kew Botanical Gardens for a wonderful craft show and of course I couldn’t leave without having a wander. Though Autumn was drawing to an end the gardens were still miraculous and full of life, well tended to by the team there. I took a little detour before the show to visit The Hive, something I had seen on posters around the city for months.


The Hive was commissioned by the UK government originally as a centrepiece at the 2015 Milan Expo but has found its home at Kew. The artist Wolfgang Buttress designed this 17 metre high aluminium bee-hive that is a literal hive of activity with light & sound adding to the experience. It’s an educational installation meant to help people understand the importance of pollinating bees in our environment.

It needs to be looked at from a distance as the centre seems to flicker in to shape and as you move close you start to see how abstract it actually is. Once standing inside upon the slightly disorientating glass hexagon floor you realise the structure is responding. Connected to an actual live hive somewhere at Kew, dependent on the weather the bees become more active making The Hive more exciting in response. With a meadow of wildflowers and hedgerows surrounding it trying to promoting good bee gardening behaviour once you return home.

Places like Kew are a wonderful sources of inspiration for creatives like myself, with the botanical theme more popular than ever and the growing trend of plants promoting wellbeing; its an phenomenally important resource to have locally. It is both an important botanical research and education institution as well as a historical site, visit it now and often. It’s too big to explore quickly but here are some images from just one of the greenhouses, my personal favourite stop on the trail.

I’ll be back at Kew before the year is up for their amazing Kew Christmas Illuminations Trail having booked in advance for all the family. It’s something not to be missed with an amazing light show as well as seasonal market, worth braving the cold and very merry for the time of year.

I’ll leave you dreaming of greenery design with a couple of my favourite botanical themed works that all started from a visit much like this one I imagine.

Holly Suzanna Clifford

Clare Halifax