Bee Bistro in Downtown Rotterdam
These are hard times for the bees. Whatever the reasons are, it’s a fact that their numbers are decreasing; some species are threatened with extinction or are already extinct.
And that’s not only sad for the bees, it has the potential to turn out pretty sad for ourselves too, since many crops need bees for pollination.
Fortunately, in recent times bees can count on a lot of support. Bee hotels are popping up everywhere: structures with a lot of wood, reeds and other natural materials in which the little creatures can make their homes.
This year, Dutch nature conservation society Natuurmonumenten distributed free packages with seeds of wild flowers, harvested last year on their own flower field. With the slogan make way for wild flowers, everyone was encouraged to be kind to the bees by providing them with a piece of pocket nature in gardens or on balconies.
As an example of corporate social responsibility, 3Develop is happy to join the initiative with its own bee bistro. So at the end of April I spread the seeds over the big and small pots on my balcony, ten stories high in downtown Rotterdam.
The flowers did not grow very quickly, despite the daily manual irrigation. Perhaps the relatively cold spring played a role there. But after a few warm days, more and more flowers appeared in the second half of June.
It was interesting to see that rapeseed and phacelia also showed up, two species that were not mentioned in the Natuurmonumenten brochure. Of the species that were to be expected, I spotted mallows, camomile, cornflowers and quite a few poppies. A true banquet for the average bee.
The question was of course: will the bees find their bistro, 25 meters above street level in the rather stony Rotterdam city center? Mosquitoes, flies and bugs reach my apartment effortlessly, but that is no guarantee.
Fortunately I was able to welcome the first customer soon. And if you save one bee, you save the world. That was only the beginning because soon this infuencer was joined by its followers.
So that’s how easy it is, contributing to biodiversity. And as an added bonus, one has a colorful balcony for weeks and weeks.
When the summer is over I will harvest and dry the seeds. With a bit of luck, the bistro will get a few pop-up franchises next year around the neighbourhood.
Update: June 18, 2020
As planned, I harvested the flower seeds, dried them and kept them in a jar all winter. In early May they went into the ground for the new round. Strikingly enough, it is mainly the phacelia that emerged, but it immediately does very well and is very popular with the customers of the brasserie.