A thousand golden bees descend on Floors Castle

At Floor Castle's Walled Garden, The Duke of Roxburghe, admires bees from The Golden Swarm, a unique collective art installation by pupils from Kelso High School. Mostly funded by the Fallago Environment Fund and Roxburghe Estates, the work is part of a unique learning project combining beekeeping, art and science.''In picture with Duke and 3 children in bee suits'Issac Anderson (with bee hood up), Sophie Hogarth and Isla Findlay
At Floor Castle's Walled Garden, The Duke of Roxburghe, admires bees from The Golden Swarm, a unique collective art installation by pupils from Kelso High School. Mostly funded by the Fallago Environment Fund and Roxburghe Estates, the work is part of a unique learning project combining beekeeping, art and science.''In picture with Duke and 3 children in bee suits'Issac Anderson (with bee hood up), Sophie Hogarth and Isla Findlay

A thousand golden bees have gone on display at Floors Castle, Kelso as part of a stunning new collective artwork created by pupils from Kelso High School and named The Golden Swarm.

Funded by the Fallago Environment Fund, the pupils themselves, and a number of additional sponsors, and with support from Scottish Borders Council, the artwork is part of a unique learning project at the school that combines beekeeping, art and science.

It originated through a successful partnership with Roxburghe Estates, who housed the school Beekeeping Club’s apiary in their grounds from 2014 until 2017, when it was transferred to the new school grounds.

Each of the golden bees has been handmade from clay by Kelso High School pupils, children from neighbouring primary schools, teachers, parents, members of the community and a number of local politicians.

Painted gold, each bee has been mounted on perspex rods and developed into a beautiful collaborative artwork by Borders artist, Robyn Kinsman Blake and Jenny Bonner from Kelso High School’s art department. The work will be on display in the Walled Garden at Floors Castle until 31 July.

The Golden Swarm project also included a strong science element, with funding provided for computer programer Richard Todd to act as a Scientist in Residence, training the pupils in Raspberry Pi application programming. With Richard’s guidance, they were able to develop a cutting-edge program to monitor the temperature, light, sound, carbon dioxide concentration and humidity levels in the school’s hive, to allow the assessment of colony health and productivity. There is the potential to stream footage live online and the application will be shared with the wider beekeeping community as part of efforts to enhance understanding and protection of bees.

The final golden bees were added to the artwork on Monday, May 28 by members of Kelso High School’s Beekeeping Club.

To mark the occasion, Roxburghe Estates invited the whole school to Floors Castle to take part in a day of countryside-themed activities in the grounds. These included workshops on photography, gamekeeping, arable farming, beekeeping, woodland and flood management.

For more information visit www.floorscastle.com.