A new sculpture at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is not only a whimsical piece for visitors to view, but a big help to bees and the work they do as pollinators.
Texas Bee Oasis, a new temporary structure in the Fuller Garden, was made of more than 2,000 "bee cups" by Dallas-based artist Jen Rose. According to a release, bee cups are eco-friendly watering stations made from small hollow porcelain cones that resemble colorful flowers.
"Each one collects a few drops of water from the sprinkler or rain and provides a bee-friendly resting station for active pollinators," the release says. "Placing the bee cups together in groupings, called an 'oasis,' the installations range from a colorful whimsical arrangement of a dozen or so, to a stunning ombre gradiant of over 500."
Texas Bee Oasis debuted on May 27 and will remain in the garden through November 28. Bee cups are also being sold in the Trellis Shop and BRIT gift shops for visitors to experiment with and enjoy in their gardens at home.
According to the release, Rose began exploring the bee cup concept two years ago, seeking answers to questions like, “Do bees have toes?” and “How long is a bee tongue?”
“Pollinating insects are so vital to our ecosystem that I wanted to design something truly helpful, and not cause unintentional harm,” Rose says in the release.
Her final "bee cup" design holds a maximum of 1 cc of liquid and allows for evaporation in the evening hours (thus, eliminating the risk of pesky mosquitoes breeding in the bee cups). Each cup's interior is lined with ridges.
“This gives the bees something to grip onto as they are drinking, much like a shower mat, to prevents falls,” Rose says.
Texas Bee Oasis is one of several pieces connecting art and nature on the Fort Worth garden campus. Also on display are the large LEGO-sculptures in the exhibit "Sean Kenney’s Nature Connects Made with LEGO Bricks," and artist Patrick Dougherty's "Stickwork," a popular interactive sculpture made of sticks.
View them during regular garden hours (daily 8 am-6 pm); exhibits are included with the price of garden admission, $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for children 6-15; kids 5 and under are free. For more information and tickets, visit fwbg.org.