The Bumblebee Abode Garden at Chester Zoo aims to educate visitors about the different habitats and plant types that support bumblebee populations and provide wildlife friendly places within their gardens. It also aims to create a colourful and attractive planted feature in a busy part of the zoo. The original concept came from the understanding that bumblebees along with other wild bees have been recorded as being in decline nationally, with three species of bumblebee being declared extinct in the UK within the last 50 years.
The garden design and planting plan included species that would provide appropriate forage for bumble bees throughout the year when they are in flight. Along with the planting design, additional garden features were included that provided opportunities for further interpretation about bumblebees to visitors. These included a bespoke shed, the Bumblebee Abode, which incorporates nesting boxes in its base; and a water feature inspired by the nesting stage of bumblebees.
The garden has been well received by visitors and staff since its conception and continues to be used as an educational resource by the Discovery and Learning teams in their programme of events and workshops on pollinators and wildlife gardening.
The Bumblebee Abode garden is now well established and continues to develop as an ornamental space and to be used as the basis for disseminating information about bumblebees and gardening for pollinators to groups within local communities outside of the zoo.