CPP Star Survey Plants for Summer 2018

Our major star plant for 2018 is Helianthus (Lemon Queen) again!

Thanks to our dedicated CPP volunteers and enthusiasts we once again managed to gather useful data from the bee beds’ second summer. Same as last summer, all fourteen of our plants except the three control plants (pelargonium,  pom pom dahlia and cactus dahlia), were popular with pollinators.

Looking at the results for 2018, the star plants change throughout the season. The stars at the start of the season were Lavender and Marjoram and then Helianthus towards the middle and later months. However, our major star plant for 2018  is Helianthus (lemon queen) again!

If you would like to get involved with surveying the beds in summer 2019 please get in touch!


2018 fav plants

CPP Summer Overview 2018

Another great summer for CPP!

As another year comes to a close, for the flowers at least, we are now mulching over the beds and putting the CPP flowers to sleep for the winter until next year when we will do it all again bigger and better than ever!

Its been a great year for The Cross Pollination Project.  We hit the airwaves in the summer when George, our man on the ground, was asked to appear on BBC Radio Kent. This enabled us to reach a whole new audience and increase the buzz around pollinating insects.

On the 25th of July, we held another survey workshop at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park with temperatures into the high 20’s, perfect for finding insects enjoying the sun …. and the flowers!

The workshop was well attended by local people and their children and we spent the day learning the different types of insects that visit our CPP beds. After this we got down to business. Armed with survey sheets, a sharpened pencil and eraser (for the inevitable number in a wrong box) all participants, no matter their age or ability, completed their own pollinating insect survey for the project. The best thing that came out of this was seeing everyone able to identify species that they didn’t know existed before they arrived.

The participants were given a starter pack to take away and begin their journey into independent surveying. Since then we have received a steady flow of survey results which will be used to learn about the foraging habits of pollinating insects and allow us all to make more thoughtful decisions when buying flowers for our gardens.

Stay tuned …… !!

If you would like to get involved with surveying the beds in summer 2019 please get in touch.

Below is a pdf version of the CPP Survey kit that you can download:

Data collection sheet CPP Bee ID Guide CPP Butterfly and Moth ID Guide CPP Flies and Other Insect ID Guide Example form Kids Sheet Pollinator ID Guide onepage Species Codes Instructions for Cross Pollination Project Survey  CPP Bed Maps .

CPP Bee Survey Kits Now Available

You can now do a bee survey any time!

We have now put survey kits out at four of our sites for you to turn up and take part. The kits contain the instructions for the survey, ID Guides,  and the survey forms.

Surveys should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete, perfect for a morning/afternoon stroll in these wonderful greenspaces.

See below for where to collect the survey kit from each site:

Grosvenor and Hilbert Park -  Table 8 Cafe
Sherwood Allotments -  In the Shed
Pepenbury -  Reception
Dunorlan Park -  at the Cafe

Here is a pdf version of the CPP Survey kit that you can download:

Data collection sheet CPP Bee ID Guide CPP Butterfly and Moth ID Guide CPP Flies and Other Insect ID Guide Example form Kids Sheet Pollinator ID Guide onepage Species Codes Instructions for Cross Pollination Project Survey  CPP Bed Maps .

For further info please contact info@cross-pollination.uk or call 01580212972 and ask for George.

Bee Survey Workshop – 25th July 2018

Bee Survey Workshop on Wednesday 25th July. 45 minute slots from 10 am to 3 pm

This event will take place at the Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, Tunbridge Wells

Join us and learn how to do our CPP bee and insect surveys and help us collect important data !!

Bee Survey workshop A5

Bee Hotel Workshop

Bee Hotel Workshop Overview

On 6th April, Cross Pollination Project hosted a Build a Bee Hotel workshop at the I Dig Sherwood Allotment. It was a sunny and breezy day. The special event mascot, a bee shaped kite secured to a post with string flapped its wings skyward.

The allotment is a community growing space for the residents of the Sherwood Estate. It has several small and manageable raised beds for vegetables and flowers including the CPP’s summer flowering beds. Susie, one of the plot holders gave me a brief tour and even offered salad onions to take home.

Cally set up a few work tables and placed tools, blocks of wood and short bamboo sticks ready for the enthusiastic builder. The habitats were very simple to make and easy to carry home and hang in the garden. Residents did enjoy creating the habitats for bee. It was so successful that we plan to offer this again at the next Family Day event at the Grosvenor & Hilbert Road.


Build a Bee hotel – 6th April 2018

Build a Bee Hotel on Friday 6th April 2018 from 10:30am to 1pm 

Meet at the I Dig Sherwood Community Allotment on Burslem Road, Tunbridge Wells.

Learn how to make a bumble bee and solitary bee hotel!

This is a free and fun event for all the family discovering how we can help our pollinators by making them homes out of natural materials. We will also be planting some pollinator friendly plants in our Cross Pollination Project bed at the allotment.

For more information please email info@cross-pollination.uk

No need to book, just show up on the day!


Local Bee Microscopy Health Check Results – March 2018

Bee Microscopy Health Check Results

Members of the Sevenoaks & Tunbridge Wells Beekeepers met at the Grosvenor & Hilbert Road Hub venue for the Bee Health Check. We started with hot drinks and cake. Then John Hendrie, Master Beekeeper and former BBKA president delivered an in-depth talk about the Honey Bee Diseases- Acarine, a parasitic mite living in the breathing tubes of the bee and Nosema, single cell parasites that live in the gut of the honey bee. None of the beekeepers in the group had assessed their bees before using microscopes so everyone was quite keen to learn. John showed visual examples on how to make a nosema slide and how to stabilise a bee on a cork mount with an acarine needle.

Ellen Montelius demonstrated how to set up a compound microscope and identified parts of the microscope. She then gave a practical demonstration on how to prepare the bee dissection for both the acarine and nosema assessment. For the acarine assessment, we used a dissection microscope the beekeepers fixed the bee on the cork and using forceps carefully removed the head and front legs. Then carefully removed the ‘collar’ to expose the trachea. Tiny acarine mites can live inside a bee’s trachea and ultimately weaken and kill the bee. All the bees inspected had a healthy trachea.

The beekeepers then assessed their bees for Nosema, a spore that germinates and feeds in the gut of the honey bee. Nosema can weaken and destroy the colony. To assess the bees for Nosema, the beekeepers extracted the gut of the bee from its abdomen, and placed it on a slide. Looking through a compound microscope at 400 times magnification, we looked for small rice shaped nosema spores. Only one bee sample showed a small amount of Nosema specimens.

While we examined the gut, we also saw many pollen grains. One of the beekeepers brought in varroa mites and hazel pollen. The varroa mites did look gruesome and menacing and the hazel pollen looked like little jewels.

During the afternoon session, we had a handful of curious visitors. The visitors had an opportunity to look through the microscopes and look at the Nosema slide samples and the acarine dissection. It was a very good day and everyone is now keen to learn more about microscopy, assessing bee diseases and caring for bees.

acarine          beehealthweb_14

beehealthweb_16        beehealthweb_18


Bee Health Check and Microscopy – 20th March 2018

Bee Health Check on Tuesday 20th March from 1pm to 3pm

This event will take place at the Hub in Grosvenor and Hilbert Park.

Following a beekeepers bee health assessment session in the morning, the afternoon session is open to all and will look at the practical microscopy work carried out that morning. Beekeepers will share their knowledge about why and how a microscope is an essential tool for a beekeeper and there will be an opportunity to learn about a few of the bee diseases and threats facing our important pollinators.

Toilets and cafe are available on site. There is no need to book, just show up on the day


CPP Summer Data Surveys 2017

Thanks to a handful of dedicated volunteers we managed to gather some data from the bee beds’ first summer. All fourteen of our plants, except the three control plants (pelargonium,  pom pom dahlia and cactus dahlia), were popular with pollinators.

Below are a few of the stars of the summer. It should be noted that some of the plants did not fully establish this year (such as the fleabane and marjoram) and we expect a full bloom of all flowers next summer.

If you would like to get involved with surveying the beds in summer 2018 please get in touch.

CPP 2017 fav plants

Pollinator Survey Training Workshop at Grosvenor and Hilbert Park – 11th August 2017

Training and Data Collection on Friday 11th August from 10 am to 12 noon

 Please meet at the Grosvenor Park Hub at 10am. We will finish no later than midday.

We now have our pollinator friendly beds built and planted up in Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, Dunorlan Park, Pepenbury, Sherwood Allotment and Oakley School. Now it is time to start counting our little pollinator friends on the plants to help with important research. If you would like to get involved with this then please do come along to this training session at the Hub in Grosvenor and Hilbert Park.

Once you have your eye trained a bit the surveys take very little time.  We would love people to get involved with counting pollinators on our beds, even if you can only spare a very small amount of time.

This training session will involve a presentation in the hub on how to identify the key insect pollinators and how to do the survey. We will then go out to the bed in the park (by the allotments) and put the training into practice so that you can have a go with someone there to help.

If you can’t make this session but would like to help please email info@cross-pollination.uk or call 01580 212972.

Citizen Science Data Gathering Workshop at LASI, University of Sussex – 24th July 2017 (rain date 26th July)

Citizen Science Data Gathering Workshop/Session

As the weather is a factor in data gathering, the Monday 24th July workshop will have a contingency date of Wednesday 26th July.

The workshop is free to CPP participants and volunteers. If you are a CPP volunteer/participant, to sign up contact info@cross-pollination.uk or phone Cally at 01580 212 972.

Professor Ratnieks will be running a training session at 11:00 am – 13:00 pm on Mon 24th July (with a rain date of 11:00 am-13:00 pm on Wed 26th July). This is to receive specific training on how to gather actual citizen science data from the 14 bee friendly plants in the CPP beds. As the project plants are summer flowering, we can now start gathering useful data on the insects that visit them.


How to Help Bees Workshops at LASI, University of Sussex – 7th and 8th July 2017

Determining the Most Attractive Plants for Bees and Other Flower Visitors

Two separate workshops will be held, one on Friday 7th July and one on Saturday 8th July.

Sign up at http://www.sussex.ac.uk/lasi/newsandevents/events/plantsforbees

The workshop will be free for CPP volunteers. If you are a CPP volunteer, to sign up contact info@cross-pollination.uk or phone Cally at 01580 212 972.

The workshops are targeted at anyone who is interested in helping bees through flowers, whether ornamental garden flowers or wild flowers. You will learn how to identify the main types of flower-visiting insects and how to quantify them so that you can determine which attract the most insects and also which types of insects visit them.

The workshops will take place at LASI (Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects) and will combine lectures with hands on activities, and will be based on the results of LASI research carried out in the Sussex Plan for Honey Bee Health & Well Being. Teachers include Professor Francis Ratnieks, Dr. Karin Alton and other LASI researchers.


CPP at Tunbridge Wells Farmers Market – 8th July 2017

Tunbridge Wells Farmers Market – Saturday 8th July 2017

We will have a stall at the farmers market as part of a special “Bees and Honey ” event. There will be information about the CPP project and the ways you can get involved.  There will also be project plants for sale. The plants for sale are propagated and grown by Pepenbury residents.

Volunteer Planting Days – 4th and 5th May 2017

Please come and help us plant at two of our Cross Pollination Project study sites.

We need volunteers to help fill the beds with soil then plant them up with our 17 project plants.

All ages and abilities welcome – there will be a job for everyone!  Tea and coffee will be provided, as well as biscuits!

 Thursday 4th May Bee Planting Day @ Grosvenor and Hilbert Park 10am-3pm

We will meet at the Hilbert Road gate (by the Oast House) at 10am or come and find us down the hill from there (you won’t miss us).

Friday 5th May Bee Planting Day @ Pepenbury 10am-3pm

We will meet at 10am in the Pepenbury car park, or come and find us by the donkey field. Please sign in at reception on arrival.

 planting_1_may2017      planting_2_may2017

Dunorlan Park Volunteer Day – 3rd May 2017

Wednesday 3rd May finish bee beds and tidy mixed border Dunorlan Park 10 am-3pm

Please Join us to finish planting the bee beds and also tidying the bee friendly mixed border. The bee beds are next to the cafe and the bee friendly mixed border is next to the main stairs.

All ages and abilities welcome! Tea,coffee and biscuits provided!

Bee Bed Building Day at Pepenbury – 9th December 2016

We constructed our project bed on Friday 9th December 2016 at Pepenbury, Cornford Lane, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells TN2 4QU.

We had an enthusiastic group of volunteers, as well as some Pepenbury residents.  No skills or experience  were needed as tools and guidance were provided – as well as tea and cake!

Pepenbury rowan

The finished beds are by the Donkey fields, ready for planting in spring 2017.


If you want more info contact Cally at  info@cross-pollination.uk or 01580 212972


Bee Bed Building at Sherwood Allotment – 11th and 16th November 2016

Volunteers from Building Futures and from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council helped create the CPP bed at the Sherwood Community Allotment, ready to be planted next Spring. They did a fantastic shop preparing the ground, building the raised beds and landscaping the plot – it looks amazing and will be fantastic filled with our project plants.




Dunorlan Planting Morning – 15th September 2016

A small group of volunteers helped us plant the beds with the first set of available plants. The planting will be completed in Spring 2017.




On a hot August day, a hard working group of AXA volunteers helped fill the beds with soil in preparation for planting.