The Sausalito-based Sibbett Group created a series of interconnected gardens with such names as “Honeycomb Hideout,” “Nectar Nook” and “Pollinator Patch” to win the international bee-friendly garden design competition, a gift to the University of California, Davis, from the Haagen-Dazs(R) brand. The design, the work of landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki, will be brought to life this summer on a half-acre site at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road on the UC Davis campus.
Last December Haagen-Dazs ice cream committed $125,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology, with $65,000 earmarked for the garden. The Haagen-Dazs brand and UC Davis will determine how to use the balance of the gift.
The key goals of the garden are to provide
bees with a year-round food source, to raise public awareness about the
plight of honey bees and to encourage visitors to plant bee-friendly
gardens of their own.
“We’ll not only be providing a pollen and nectar source for the
millions of bees on Bee Biology Road, but we will also be demonstrating
the beauty and value of pollinator gardens,” said design competition
coordinator Melissa “Missy” Borel, program manager for the California
Center for Urban Horticulture. “My hope is that it will inspire
everyone to plant for pollinators!”
“The winning design fits beautifully with the campus mission of
education and outreach, and it will tremendously benefit our honey bees
at Bee Biology,” said Lynn Kimsey, professor and chair of the UC Davis
Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of
Entomology. “The garden will be a campus destination.”
Kimsey served as one of eight judges who unanimously selected the
design from among 30 entries, submitted from as far away as England.
The winning team will be honored at the garden dedication in October,
where they will be presented with an engraved name plaque . They will
also be given the sweet reward of free Haagen-Dazs ice cream for a year.
“We had so many wonderful garden concepts submitted that making the final choice was really difficult,” Kimsey said.
The Sibbett Group design zeroed in on sustainability and visitor
experience. The four interconnected gardens, “Honeycomb Hideout,”
“Nectar Nook,” “Pollinator Patch” and “My Backyard” form the “physical
and interpretive framework for our honey bee haven design,” the authors
said. A series of trails connect the gardens. Trellises define the
entry ways and reinforce the passage to the next space.
“Incorporated into each of the four sections are gathering spaces
that serve as orientation points for guided tours, facilitated programs
and ‘chat time’ with beekeepers and entomologists,” the team explained.
Identification labels will help visitors know more about the plants, or
what they can plant in their own yards.
The design also includes a “Learning Center” building and paths
labeled “Orchard Alley,” “Save the Bee Sanctuary,” “Round Dance Circle”
and “Waggle Dance Way.”
Judges initially narrowed the 30 designs to six, and then focused
on diversity (the winning design has 40 different plants), bloom
balance, vision, generational learning, cost feasibility and attention
to detail. Judges also declared the Sibbett Group design “the most
river or environmentally-friendly.”
In addition to Borel and Kimsey, the panel of judges included:
David Fujino, executive director, California Center for Urban
Horticulture at UC Davis; Aaron Majors, construction department
manager, Cagwin & Dorward Landscape Contractors, based in Novato;
Diane McIntyre, senior public relations manager, Haagen-Dazs ice cream;
Heath Schenker, professor of environmental design, UC Davis; Jacob
Voit, sustainability manager and construction project manager, Cagwin
and Dorward Landscape Contractors; and Kathy Keatley Garvey,
communications specialist, UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Schenker praised the Sibbett Group design as “beautiful and very
functional.” “The interpretive elements are imaginative,” said
Schenker. “I think this design team has a great range of expertise and
has taken a very well-rounded approach to the program.”
Majors said the cost estimate was well organized and the cost of
materials very realistic. “The introduction outlined how the design was
scalable which shows the collaborative approach of the four-person team
and their willingness to work with budget,” he said.
Honey bees pollinate more than 100 different U.S. agricultural
crops, valued at $15 billion. However, in recent years, the nation’s
beekeepers have reported losing from one-third to all of their bees due
to a mysterious phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder.
In response, the Haagen-Dazs brand launched the “Haagen-Dazs Loves
Honey Bees” campaign in February 2008, committing a total $250,000
donation for bee research to UC Davis and Pennsylvania State
University, and redoubled its efforts in 2009 with a second $250,000
donation, bringing the brand’s total donation for honey bee research to
a half million dollars. It also formed a scientific advisory Bee Board,
created an educational Web site and introduced the new Vanilla Honey
Bee ice cream flavor. Bees are crucial to nearly 50 percent of their
During the last several months, the public has answered the
Haagen-Dazs brand’s call to action by donating more than $30,000 to
support additional honey bee research at UC Davis. In addition,
numerous companies have launched programs to donate a portion of their
proceeds to UC Davis honey bee research.