Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia


Exotic home-grown honey from the Royal Botanic Garden

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney could soon have its own brand of exotic home-grown honey following a trial run of a bee hive with the first lot of honey being extracted today.

Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Director Public Engagement, Kate Faithorn said the taste of the home-grown honey promises to be very exotic thanks to the huge diversity of flora at the Garden.

'We’re eagerly awaiting the outcome of this trial-run from which we expect to extract about 14 kilograms of honey,' Ms Faithorn said.

'It’s nearing the end of the honey production season now, but in summer and the warmer months each bee hive could produce about 100 kilograms of honey.

'There’s enormous potential for our own special honey label to become very popular. If we sell the honey in our Garden Shop - it might taste so good that people visit just to buy it - and then we’d hope they realise what a beautiful Garden we have here and explore it further.

'Any profit we make would go directly back into the maintenance of the Garden and Domain and our conservation programs,' she said.

'Apart from the commercial potential of the honey it’s also very gratifying for us to be involved in keeping the bee population healthy at a time when they are under threat around the world.'

The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust sourced the hive from Urban Beehive. Founding Director, Doug Purdie said the European honey bee species he uses can be linked back to 1825 when they were brought to the Garden by early settlers to pollinate and produce honey.

'Man has moved this bee species round the world because they usually find there’s not enough pollinators,' Mr Purdie said.

'Bees have been around since before dinosaurs, they were originally evolved to pollinate and that is what they do very well but currently it is a precarious time for bees.

In the United Kingdom and America there has been huge die-outs in winter. These countries had a problem with the vroamite bug and a thing called colony collapse disorder that wipe-out all feral bees - about 90 per cent of the population. Once this happens, bee keepers have to work very hard to replace them. 

'We don’t have the problems the UK and America have experienced yet thanks to customs control. But climatic conditions in Victoria and the ACT affected their bee populations badly and bee populations in general are down.

'The Royal Botanic Garden,  Sydney is an ideal place for bee hives because there are all sorts of things flowering all year round. I got into the business because I learnt that bees were under threat around the world and wanted to get involved by telling people about it and encouraging them to install hives. I’m really pleased the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney is now on board too,' he said.