At the beginning of 2008, the news reported a catastrophe, the demise of bees around the world. The causes were unknown but poor bee health, climate crisis and the loss of wildflower meadows were blamed. River of Flowers was founded in response to the disappearing bees by writer and botanist Kathryn Lwin and musician songwriter Peter Lewinson. They were joined by landscape architect Kerrie McKinnon and artist, engineer and technologist, Natalie Jeremijenko.
Cities are harsh places for bees, those tiny yet vital creatures upon which so much of our food supply depends. Asphalt, tarmac, glass and concrete offer neither nectar nor pollen rewards. One way to help bees is to feed them by planting floral forage in the city. Working in partnership with organisations including architects, art galleries, hotels, restaurants, schools, and universities, River of Flowers inspired and initiated trails or ‘rivers’ of wildflowers and flowering trees in over 30 cities, including Amsterdam, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Warsaw and York. Planting took place in streets, parks and community gardens, on rooftops and balconies, beside railway lines and waterways.