Threave hopes Chelsea Fringe participation will drive visitors to bee-themed events

The National Trust for Scotland's Threave Garden is aiming to attract a new group of visitors for a special bee-themed season by taking part in the Chelsea Fringe.

Threave: often bypassed by visitors who head straight for Highlands. Image: National Trust for Scotland
Threave: often bypassed by visitors who head straight for Highlands. Image: National Trust for Scotland

The festival, which started on Saturday before RHS Chelsea Flower Show opened, and runs until 4 June, now takes place across London, with satellite events in other European cities and in Argentina, Australia, Canada and Japan.

Threave Garden, in Dumfries and Galloway is the only Scottish garden taking part in the Chelsea Fringe but it offers the garden access to a new demographic, particularly families with children interested in educational activities, according to National Trust for Scotland’s General Manager for Dumfries and Galloway Richard Polley.

"It’s a different way of approaching people. Chelsea Fringe is quite an exciting and differing fringe activity that takes advantage of the time that the Chelsea Flower Show is on.

"It gives us the opportunity to try different things. It would be great if we did get people from London. I suspect the people who come to this are going to be local or come while they are on holiday.

"We would say come to Dumfries and Galloway, it is a really beautiful place but it’s often bypassed by people going off to the Highlands. This is an equally beautiful part of Scotland."

The Bee at Threave season of events includes open days, bee walks, photo workshops, flower arranging, a poetry event, talks and a workshop on bee-friendly plants by garden designer Heather Marion Russell. Kitchen staff have created honey-related cakes and dishes, cocktails and mocktails. The idea for the season came from gardeners and students. "I thought it was a fantastic idea given the threat bees face all the time," Polley said.

"It’s fairly unusual to have a hive in a garden all the time," he added. "The beekeeper isn’t much in evidence normally but to have a live hive with beekeeper is an advantage. We are working with the South of Scotland Beekeepers Association to bring in a live hive with a glass side so that people can see what’s going on inside the hive. The association has been particularly helpful and supportive. They will be on the garden every day. I’m hoping it’s going to drive visitor numbers. We’re going to milk it as much as we can."


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