Head on Over to the Haven

May 5, 2016

Head on over to the haven on Friday, May 6.

That would be the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. The occasion: It's National Public Gardens Day, as declared by the American Public Gardens Association, and UC Davis is participating.

The haven, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central UC Davis campus, will celebrate with an open house that night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The garden tour begins r at 6. Free sunflower plants will be given while they last. Parking is free.

The activities:

  • Learn how to catch and observe bees up close, and see honey bees at work in an observation beehive.
  • Hear from experts on such subjects as bee diversity and identification, and how to create a garden to help bees.
  • Listen to children's book readings about bees and gardens

The half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven was installed in the fall of 2009 under the leadership of then interim Entomology Department chair Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology. Fast forward to today. Christine Casey serves as the staff director of the haven, and Extension apiculturist Elina Niño is the faculty director.

There is much to see at the haven. A six-foot-long worker bee sculpture anchors the garden. It is the work of self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, who specializes in mosaic ceramic art. Billick and UC Davis entomology professor Diane Ullman co-founded and co-directed the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, which spearheaded the student/community art in the garden. See history of the garden.

And National Public Gardens Day? What is it? The sponsor, the American Public Gardens Association, "serves public gardens and advances them as leaders, advocates, and innovators." As told on the website: "

"A public garden is an institution that maintains collections of plants for the purposes of public education and enjoyment, in addition to research, conservation, and higher learning. It must be open to the public and the garden's resources and accommodations must be made to all visitors."

The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven is open from dawn to dusk. Admission is free. Check out the website for group tours and educational information, including what's planted in the garden and helpful hints about what you can plant in yours.