Flower garden

honey bee on flower
honeybee working
In the garden, hundreds of honeybees, bumble bees, and other kinds of bees nuzzle into flowers of myriad hues—purple and red, yellow and white—while butterflies gently glide about on painted wings. Pennsylvania is home to 437 species of bees, says Patch, including leafcutter bees, which build nurseries for their larvae in these wild bee hotels (below). “They collect pollen on their abdomens, mix it with nectar to make a ball, lay an egg, then cut a leaf to make a partition and do it all over again,” he says. “We’ve put in small tubes and big ones for solitary bees.”
hive on tree
bird viewing pavillion
outdoor sitting area
The new garden was built “from the science up,” Patch says, “but we also want people to enjoy it for its sheer beauty.” He encourages visitors to sit quietly in the bird-viewing pavilion (above), gaze out onto an ephemeral pool—in the spring, Virginia bluebells and bright red cardinal flowers will encircle it; in the summer, frogs take up residence—then wander slowly along the pathway before settling down onto a bench to admire and soak in nature’s bounty.

honeybee on flower

Willow branch entry point
A steel arch covered by willow branches leads into the wettest part of the pollinator garden, a space that will produce chokeberries, serviceberries, American hazelnuts, pecans, and papaw fruit.


Cedar honeybee hive pavillion
Made from cedar and steel, the honeybee hive pavilion (pictured, above and below) protects bees from the sun and provides a space to educate visitors about their importance.


inside of cedar honeybee hive
Visitors to the pavilion will be able to see hardworking honeybees from the Penn State labs in action even during the winter months, and admire their queen. “We’ll hold educational workshops to show people what a colony does, and people will be able to see honey-making all year long,” Patch says. “In the winter, we’ll talk about bees in the ground and where the flies are gone. The garden is only dormant in the winter—not dead.”
working bee on flower