It's All the Buzz

Sep 16, 2009

Rising soon from the ashes of the Baxter House fire will be the soothing colors of the Campus Buzzway.

It's a story that began in May 1938 with a farmhouse-turned-lab-turned-eyesore. It will end with the honey bees' version of "A Field of Dreams"--the Campus Buzzway.

UC Davis firefighters torched the abandoned building in a control burn on June 30. Where flames erupted will be where California poppies, coreopsis (tickseed) and lupine will spring to life.

The Campus Buzzway will be planted this fall and will bloom starting next spring.

It all takes place on the grounds of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the UC Davis campus.

The wildflowers are compliments of Häagen-Dazs. Coordinating the project are the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the California Center for Urban Horticulture.

The Buzzway will be nestled adjacent to the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden scheduled to open next month. The haven will serve as a year-around food source for honey bees. Goals also include raising public awareness about the plight of honey bees and encouraging visitors to plant bee-friendly gardens of their own, said entomologist  Lynn Kimsey, professor and vice chair of the Department of Entomology and director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology.

“The Campus Buzzway," Kimsey said, "will be a fabulous addition to the honey bee garden already under construction at our Bee Biology facility. “Both will greatly benefit our colonies and make terrific teaching opportunities.”

Dave Fujino, executive director of the California Center for Urban Horticulture,  said the Campus Buzzway will boast year-round blooms and vibrant colors.  “The Buzzway will transform an empty field into something beautiful and functional,” he said. “Most importantly, the flower mix will have a positive impact on the health and wellness of our local pollinator populations.”

And oh, the gold and blue flowers planted in the Campus Buzzway have a special meaning to the university. They're the official colors of UC Davis, the Aggies.

To the bees, they're N and P: nectar and pollen.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

BAXTER HOUSE, built in 1938, went up in flames on June 30 in a UC Davis firefighters' control burn.  The grounds will now be a quarter-acre field of wildflowers called The Campus Buzzway. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Baxter House Fire

WORK is under way to transform the old Baxter House site on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis, to The Campus Buzzway, where California poppies, lupine and coreopsis will grow. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ground Preparation

CAMPUS BUZZWAY will be planted this fall with California poppies, coreopsis (tickseed) and lupine. Scenes like this--a honey bee nectaring a California poppy--will be common next spring. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey Bee on Poppy