Did you know that long before the Brentford Bees football club, our town was famous for its orchards and beehives? Until the late 19th Century, Brentford was known as the fruit and vegetable garden of London. Its many fruit trees, such as apple and cherry, needed bees for pollination so that new fruit could grow. So in summer months, Brentford would be buzzing with pollinators from local beehives. If you look carefully, you can still see some of the old apple and cherry trees around Brentford’s gardens and parks - a sign of our fruit-growing past.
These are just some of the fascinating facts that Year 6 learned when they visited Hen Corner last week, as part of the Science topic “Life Cycles”. Sara Ward, who owns Hen Corner and describes it as a little bit of country life in West London, invited the pupils to visit her beautiful kitchen garden, where they saw the raised vegetable beds, fruit and nut trees and clucking hens that give Hen Corner its name. The highlight of the visit was a chance to see the beehives and watch the bees hard at work making honey. The children learned about the structure of honey bee colonies, which consist of three kinds of adult bees - female workers, male drones and the queen. They heard about the importance of planting flowers so that honey bees have pollen and nectar to feed on. They also had a chance to try on bee-keeping costumes and find out how bee hives are managed. All of this information will be useful for the “Save the Honey Bee” projects that the pupils are currently working on, which they will present to their classmates in July.
To find out more about Hen Corner, and Sara’s market gardening project, please visit http://hencorner.com/.