M.A.D. Divisional Garden 2017

In 2016 the division decided to enter the Divisional Garden class at the Essex  Honey Show despite having a disappointing result in 2015 following a great deal of effort and research.  Undeterred, we entered and were rewarded with a 1st place.  This, however, provided us with dilemmas.  How to repeat this in 2017.

2015 Garden, 2016 Garden with 1st Prize

The inspiration

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We wanted to link a number of ideas; hexagons; roof gardens and vertical gardens; and pollen.

  • Hexagons – clear link to the honeycomb found in the hive
  • Roof gardens – small spaces that are valuable to wildlife, especially insects that make up our main pollinators
  • Colours – linked back to the colours of pollens – and that pollens are stored by bees on top of one another of different colours
  • Water – desire to incorporate this as a flowing element rather than static as previously done in both the 2015 and 2016 garden
  • Pollen – this was more tricky, however, we decided to look at colour


We always like to re-cycle where we can.  So how could we use our hexagonal planters from 2016 in our 2017 garden.

Pollen is stored in honeycomb (hexagonal) and side by side.

It is also stored with different colours piled on top of each other; something that none of us had realised before.

Having established this, the frame work was built.

This was then to be painted thereby replicating pollen colours in honeycomb.  The design drawings then developed and the roof garden added along with the water fountain.

Having decided that some of the “cells” could be planted, others would have insect hotels in – this was based on our own insect hotel at our divisional apiary as well as solitary bee logs we make to sell.


One of the “cells” we wanted to put a single log in.  This was sourced when a pile of logs was ‘flytipped’ locally.  Right place right time.  An oak log (!) was obtained and then fitted into the “cell”.

Meanwhile the planting was being grown on – one problem that had to be overcome, was the natural desire for plants to grow upwards.  All the plants had to be grown on their sides to encourage them to geotrope appropriately.  The cyclamen was particularly good at that!  In order that the plants didn’t fall out, they were held in with hessian and covered with chicken wire – worked a treat!


Having messed around and insisted that the garden have water, the fountain finally worked and is operated from a 12V car battery that is located behind the garden.  A tap is used as the feature for this water flow which then goes into a metal bucket.


The roof garden was a challenge as the angle of repose was quite steep.  However, we adjusted it and used clay balls and compost with a range of alpine plants.

As a last minute addition, a book case was added to give the user something to do whilst admiring and enjoying the garden.


All the plants used in the garden are bee friendly.  A full list is provided here.

Plants for show garden 2017

Here are some photos of the set up on Show Day and the final display.


A  QR code (below) was generated to take visitors to this page on the day of the show.

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If you would like any further information on any aspect of the build or plants, please contact us at enquiries@dmbka.org.uk