Bees for Development, Hives for Lives, RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022

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making life better with bees

Bees for Development

GP136 #RHSChelsea

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Bees for Development trained beekeeper Simon Abanyu and his mother Agnes from Ibanda, Uganda

Hives For Lives tropical forest garden

THE FOREST Our installation depicts bee hives hung in trees as shown in this photo from Uganda.

Bee hives hang from the canopy of a tropical forest, contained within hexagonal walls. Beekeeping is a wonderful, nature-based livelihood. Our installation demonstrates this solution to some of the world’s most complex problems: chronic poverty, loss of biodiversity and climate change. What is inside the hexagonal walls? Entering the forest feels like entering a hallowed space. The planting pattern and enclosed area create a natural architecture. The planting theme represents a tropical forest, resonant of the regions where Bees for Development works. Hanging from the trees are bee hives, always made from local materials and placed high above ground. Within our installation are images of Bees for Development’s work with families whose lives are changed by their income from beekeeping. With support from partners such as Rowse Honey, we work with communities to restore habitats, allowing biodiversity to flourish. What is the Bees for Development installation about?

INSPIRED? How can you bee more informed? Sign up to receive Bees for Development and Rowse e-News. You could win a year’s supply of Rowse Honey!


The design inspires you to explore inside the hexagonal forest, discover beekeeping’s impact on poverty, and finally, find out more about how Bees for Development builds resilient livelihoods. Meet the team, who have the expertise and capacity to address rural poverty with bees. A solution which works with nature in every way.

Why is the marketplace so important?

What are the hexagons made from?

Stepping out of the forest into the honey market completes the cycle of bees and food production, proving the livelihood options available to beekeepers. The hexagonal motif dominates the installation and in the marketplace is matched with jars of Rowse honey, blocks of golden beeswax, and the brightly coloured Rowse honey barrels for export. The market is bright, colourful and busy. A place to ask questions, find out more about Bees for Development, whilst admiring the perfect package of beekeeping for sustainable development.

The hexagonal walls are made from English cedar, grown in Northumberland and crafted into shape by carpenters at EH Thorne (Beehives) Ltd. The timeless design and modular nature mean that the structure can be re-used in different configurations by Bees for Development at future events; the exhibit will be recreated at Monmouth Bee Festival in July, using the same plants and concept as created for RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

The designer

Sarah Mihalop @SarahMihalopGardens

Sarah is a trained Garden Designer and Product Designer. She qualified in garden design at Capel Manor College, graduating in 2016. She has a degree from Central Saint Martins in Product Design and has worked with a diverse range of clients from conceptualising ideation spaces for Diageo to designing city gardens in Hackney, London. She is currently re-wilding her farm in Monmouthshire where she is passionate about nature, wildlife and growing cut flowers sustainably.


GOOD TO KNOW... The hexagon is one of nature’s miracles. Beeswax is highly efficient, with a small weight of beeswax supporting a far greater weight of honey: 2.2lb of beeswax comb can support up to 66lb of honey.


We are creating an echo of a tropical forest. A place where local people hang their hives in the branches of citrus trees, bees feeding off the banana flowers, in the dappled shade of their lush green leaves. The ground is earthy as a forest floor, planted with grasses and bamboo, holding the precious soil in place.

Natural forest comprises trees and herbs that provide a fantastic supply of nectar and pollen for honey bees. Farmers enrich their forest-farm margins by planting fruit trees, mimicking the structure of a natural forest to create a stable and sustainable ecosystem – yielding fruits, nuts and honey.


THE PLANTS Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ Is representative of the grasses that are grown in regenerated forests to help prevent soil loss.

Cordyline australis This tall exotic looking palm tree brings a tropical vibe to our garden, helping create the atmosphere of the tropical forest.

Ensete ventricosum Maurelii The Ethiopian banana tree is so evocative of the forest, its large reddish leaves transporting us to more tropical climes.

Hedychium gardnerianum This plant has been chosen to represent the medicinal and edible herbs in the forests.


Musa bajoo The flowers of the banana tree provide nectar for bees, their large fresh leaves also providing valuable shade.

Musa dwarf Cavendish A wonderful accessible small banana tree, providing a valuable crop and shade.

Phyllostachys aurEA ‘Aureocaulis’ Echoes the bamboo planted to reclaim land in complex restoration schemes supported by Bees for Development.

Tetrapanax papyrifer ‘Rex’ These architectural tropical wonders are here to transport us to the other world of tropical forests.

Trachycarpus fortunei These majestic palms are representative of those which grow in an african forest. Its presence creating a majesty and feeling for the larger landscape we are seeking to evoke.


Bees for Development is the charity which harnesses the skill of beekeeping for the benefit of people around the world for whom poverty is a daily reality.


We change people’s lives with training, support and resources so that there is hope for a brighter future. A future in which education, personal empowerment and the capacity to break the cycle of poverty are real possibilities. Our work with beekeepers addresses underlying issues of social and economic marginalisation. We strive to enable the most disadvantaged communities to access successful beekeeping.

Dr Nicola Bradbear always says

“You train a beekeeper, and you end up with a CONSERVATIONIST”. All beekeepers become caretakers of nature. Consequently, a large part of our work is directed at habitat restoration so that bees and beekeepers can prosper.

Making a beehive from local materials in Ghana


Why beekeeping is perfect for a sustainable livelihood.

Greater, healthier bee populations

Bees Biodiversity

Incentivised to protect their environment


A beekeeper, trained by Bees for Development, selling honey in Bahir Dar market


Sustainable beekeeping creates an income

For people 1.

Beeswax and honey are valuable commodities


Bees increase crop yields by pollination


Beekeeping can be low cost: equipment can be made from locally available materials


Beekeeping is accessible to all, regardless of gender, ability and age


Beekeeping is resilient during times of natural and humanitarian disasters

For the planet 1.

Bees pollinate flowering plants: vital for life on earth


One colony of honey bees can forage and pollinate across 5,000 hectares


Beekeeping does not take up land at a cost to nature


Beekeeping incentivises people to maintain bee habitats.


Bees do not depend on their keeper for food

Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share Working with sustainable international development practices and beekeeping, we ensure that people are given a fair chance to escape poverty and marginalisation. Beekeeping incentivises earth care. Our supporters care about people and the planet. Together we can change lives.


Beekeeper Aidah Anyango from Mount Elgon, Uganda

Bees for Development HRH The Duchess of Cornwall President Monty Don Patron Baroness Anita Gale Patron Martha Kearney Patron Professor Tom Seeley Patron Sting Patron Bill Turnbull Patron We are a small, innovative and experienced team, working every day with our partners and organisations across the world. We produce a monthly e-News, keeping everyone up to date with our activities and impact.

CLICK HERE to hear more from Bees for Development Yabatir and Mulualen, mother and son beekeeping family

Nicola Bradbear Founder and Director Janet Lowore Programme Manager Emily Cullum Assistant to the Director

If you are near to our base in Monmouth, do visit our unique bee shop, selling all things bee-related!


If you would like to talk to any of us, we answer every email and always pick up the phone.

Sean Lawson Project Manager Giacomo Ciriello Project Manager


DONATE NOW Join us in breaking the poverty cycle. £10 per month trains one beekeeper for a whole year. Give the gift of a livelihood and a way out of poverty.







The squeeze that protects the bees Rowse is proud to support Ethiopian Communities with Bees for Development

The Amhara region of Ethiopia is one of the poorest places in the world. Half of all families are without jobs or land, with no means to grow food. Children are forced to skip school and instead exchange labour for food. Beekeeping is a solution to these problems and helps people out of poverty. Beekeeping increases family income and promotes economic empowerment for women and girls. Together we: Have trained 220 families to start beekeeping

Have planted 148,000 trees within the last 3 years

Work to restore forests that underpin beekeeping livelihoods

Have reforested 80 hectares of degraded land

That’s why we’re proud to partner with Bees for Development to create this wonderful Hives for Lives forest.


The nectar sources that honey bees feed from, impact the colour and flavour of the honey. For instance, the blossoms that Ethiopian honey bees visit gives the honey caramel, toffee and citrus notes. Whereas our British honey is milder with fresh orchard fruit notes.

Bees for Development is just one element of our Rowse Hives For Lives programme In 1938, our founder, Tony Rowse knew how important it was to protect the health of the honey bees. A fact that is still important today, as the honey bees face even greater challenges. Changes in climate, use of pesticides, loss of wildflower meadows, and the decline of bee-farming, skills essential to the stewardship of healthy hives of honey bees. Every squeeze of Rowse Honey helps support our programme of vital initiatives which in turn help protect the environment our honey comes from, protecting bees and beekeepers here and world-wide.

We call this programme

‘Hives For Lives’

Rekindling the craft of keeping bees with ‘Bee A Bee Farmer’ Honey bees need beekeepers to help them thrive and survive in the UK. We all rely on beekeepers to nurture, sustain and care for the bees that live in managed hives. But commercial beekeeper numbers are steadily dropping. At Rowse we’ve created an award-winning apprenticeship scheme to encourage more young people to join the profession.


So far our three-year Bee A Bee Farmer scheme - in partnership with the Bee Farmers Association, has trained over 37 apprentices through on-thejob training and practical courses delivered by industry experts.

Improving biodiversity for pollinators with ‘Rowse Feed the bees’ ‘Feed the bees’ began with Rowse giving-away 125,000 packs of seed – and getting the nation planting bee-friendly wildflowers in their pots, gardens and window boxes. Now, this spring, we’ve gone banquet-sized - with beefeeding on a palatial scale, literally. Together with our Oxfordshire neighbours at Blenheim Palace Estate we’ve started a major conservation project to create sustainable nectar sources, as well as introducing new habitats, for our beloved, buzzing honey bees, and other pollinator heroes. With dozens of wild bee colonies discovered living in the ancient woodlands of Blenheim Palace Estate, we’re growing a flowerful feast for the pollinating insects of the area; ultimately creating a nectar-rich haven for as many species as we can.

SIGN UP to be in with a chance to win a year’s worth of delicious Rowse honeys.


Across 50 acres of land, we’ve sown more

than 70 different species of native wildflowers, including oxeye daisy and meadow buttercup.

That’s nearly 5 times the size of Wembley stadium

Win a year’s supply of Rowse honey! We’d love to stay in touch about the continuing environmental work that Rowse and Bees For Development are buzzy working on. As our way of saying “thank you”, when you sign up to receive a monthly e-News from Bees for Development and e-News from Rowse Honey, you will automatically be entered into a competition to win a year’s worth of delicious Rowse honeys.

Why not try our recipe for Dabo? To help celebrate our 4 year partnership with Bees for Development, we’re providing a recipe for Ethiopian Honey Bread. Best enjoyed with a generous squeeze of Rowse Honey, which helps us to keep supporting Bees for Development and all of the Hives for Lives initiatives.

Ethiopian honey bread

Ingredients 7g 118g 2 tbsp

Active dry yeast Warm water Rowse British honey

1x 170g 1 tbsp 1 tsp 1/2 tsp 1 tsp 245g 8 tbsp 660g Splash

Beaten egg Rowse British honey Ground coriander Ground cinnamon Ground cloves Salt Warm milk Butter Flour Milk

Method 1. Mix together the yeast, warm water and 2 Tbsp of honey in a small bowl. Leave for 10 minutes until bubbles form. 2. Melt the butter into the warm milk. Whisk the egg, 170g Rowse runny honey, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a seperate bowl. Combine everything together gently with your yeast mixture. 3. Mix flour into the liquid mixture with your hands, roughly 100g at a time. Keep adding flour until the dough is smooth. 4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 15 mins.


5. Grease a bowl and leave the dough to rest until it’s doubled in size. 6. Knock the air out of the dough. Divide the dough into 3 equal strands and braid into a roughly oval loaf. 7. Place on an oiled baking tray and leave to rise for 45 mins. 8. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. 9. Brush the surface of the dough with the splash of milk and bake for 55 minutes until golden brown. 10. Enjoy warm with a squeeze of Rowse Runny Honey.

Bees for Development 1 Agincourt Street, Monmouth, NP25 3DZ UK tel: 01600 714848

With thanks to EH Thorne (Beehives) Ltd for creating the installation and providing logistical support. Bees for Development UK Registered Charity 1198116

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