Flower ball

Pollination by insects

The Botanic Gardens are home to about 10,000 species of plants. Almost all of those plant species (can) bloom, and many of them rely on insects for pollination. We “zoom in” on these essential plant-insect relationships.

Could I have this dance with you?

The Botanic Gardens are the stage for a real Flower ball in spring, summer and fall. Of course, a prom is all about finding a suitable partner. And this is no different at a flower ball: flowers and all kinds of insects mingle with each other in hopes of finding a good match. Examples of such insects include honey bees, solitary bees, butterflies and moths, beetles, hoverflies and bumblebees. The insects have a wide choice of potential partners. There are open, welcoming flowers or "reticent" flowers with a long tube, there are strongly aromatic flowers and specimens that manage without a fragrance. Also, some flowers are enormously colourful and large, while others are rather inconspicuous and small, and there are countless other possibilities. Eventually everyone finds a partner and pollination and subsequent fertiliation can take place. The final goal, of course, is to produce viable  seeds.

Flatfoots and fairies

The Insect meadow is the ultimate garden section for insects. Especially for them, the bee hotel for solitary bees and wasps, a butterfly border, a flowery meadow  and a pool for damsels and dragonflies  have been constructed. As a result, it buzzes, hums and flutters with insects all year round. To illustrate, in 2023 Wim Jongejan, an enthousiastic spotter of insects and Friend of the Gardens, began a hoverfly inventory in the Insect meadow. At the time of writing, he has observed 76 species (including several new to the Gardens) and expects to tap the 100 species mark by spring 2024. Hoverflies are very good pollinators but often remain somewhat understudied. Many hoverflies have funny Dutch names that are untranslatable., all of which also occur in the Gardens. Most hoverflies are inconspicuous and stay smaller than two centimeters. Some larger species mimic wasps, bees or bumble bees with their colour patterns, but are totally harmless.

Busy bee

The Insect meadow is also home to four honey bee colonies so that we can show visitors how these socially active little animals live, work and interact. The hives are being managed from 2023 by our expert and enthousiastic bee volunteer Trees van den Hoogen. This busy little bee who is active on many more fronts, has taken over this task from Rob Welschen, who himself cared for the honey bees for many years. With a new keeper, other emphases are also being placed. Trees' emphasis is on natural bee-keeping in which the hives are disturbed as little as possible. For example, honey is now harvested only on rare occasions. If you would like an explanation from Trees about honey bees and other insects in the Insect meadow yourself, come to one of the excursions "Bees talk". Put this appointment in your ball book and come to the Gardens for your own flower ball. Especially the 'Dating sercive' section in the Discovery garden as well as the Insect meadow are excellent locations to have a “dance”!

You too can be part of this Flower ball, simply by visiting the Gardens or by participating in our activities mentioned below.