Enabling change in our Society, Environment and Economy (SEE)

OBFT: Bee-friendly Garden

The SEE-Change 2 March 2014 event was a visit to a botanically diverse bee-friendly garden in the Belconnen suburbs.

The tour was lead by Carmen and her son Mitch from Canberra Urban Honey who have hives scattered around Canberra.

This 38 year-old garden has plants ranging from ground covers to large trees on an average size suburban block.

The plantings include: banksia trees of  3-4 metres, camellias, grevilleas, African daisies and other small daisies, crepe myrtles, clematis, azaleas, herbs, helebores, fuschias, dandelions (a bee-favourite), correas, citrus including a lemon, fig tree and convolvulus. So there is always something flowering in this garden so it can sustain 2 hives all year round.

The other strength of this garden is the permanent source of water for the bees. There are bird baths as well as a large pond near the house. Water is essential for bee health and survival.

Canberra Urban Honey has about 25 hives in Canberra and they hope to increase it in the near future to 50. The lucky participants of the SEE-Change tour were able to purchase honey from hives in Ainslie, Conder and Belconnen.

Carmen, in describing the “Canberra Urban Honey” project, said  “Our community project, “Canberra Urban Honey”, has been a benevolent gift to the city from my extended family (comprising – to date – approximately $50,000 in resources over a two year period). The project was started in response to the lack of bees in the city. Based on the enormity of the problem of a lack of bees in Canberra, our family has recently moved the Canberra Urban Honey project to a self-supporting venture and we hope this will ensure its sustainability into the future. This includes the employment of Mitch as a full-time trainee beekeeper, and strictly speaking, this makes Mitch the youngest commercial urban beekeeper in Australia. He is a fourth generation beekeeper with a century of beekeeping heritage behind him.”

If you would like to know more about the Canberra Urban Honey Project visit www.canberraurbanhoney.com.au.

Also, just recently a group of bee-friendly people have started getting together regularly on Wednesdays at the Orana School in Weston. ‘ACT for Bees’ is keen to promote bee-keeping and bee-awareness in Canberra and welcomes anyone interested to attend.

Please contact Julie Armstrong on 0423 399 363 for further information.

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