Free Daily Headlines


Set your text size: A A A

Cold weather pauses bee mural until spring

Without blankets, fires, or adjustable thermostats, honey bees have to stick together pretty closely to stay warm (and alive) in the winter.

When temperatures in the winter drop below 50 degrees, honey bees retreat to their hive and form a winter cluster to keep warm — sort of like a giant three-month slumber party.

The honey in the hive is their food source. In the same spirit, the painting of the Bee Mural downtown will come to a stop the first week of December and will resume next spring. Muralist Matt Willey will return to his boom lift in late March or early April, when flowers and other pollinators will be painted, adding to the handsome honeycomb of bees and their queen already painted on the exterior wall of Hands On! Children’s Museum in the Azalea parking lot at Third Avenue East and King Street.
“We started the project in late October,” Willey said, “and now we have run out of warm weather and winter celebrations are coming. The cluster of bees and their queen that I painted in the past few weeks will overwinter on the wall similar to a hive of honey bees. I look forward to returning next spring to complete the project with flowers and other pollinators. The interest in the community for this special mural has been heartwarming. So many of you have participated to make this project possible.”
Also in preparation for next spring, a demonstration pollinator garden is being prepared in the nearby areas of Azalea parking lot, where the work on the mural is most visible.

Visitors to the site may see landscape architect Tricia King of TTK Design transforming traffic islands at this site into a diverse habitat to serve as a working pollinator garden and demonstration plot for the community. In addition to butterfly weed and coreopsis, for example, visitors in spring will see indigo, sage, and white wood aster. All plants will be labeled for easy reference, and King designed the pollinator-friendly garden to be handsome year-round. The bed directly below the mural will be planted once the mural is finished.
The landscaping project is funded by a Deer Park Brand sustainability grant in partnership with Blue Ridge Parkway Association. The grant is designated for projects that inspire individuals to preserve the ecosystems within our communities. Henderson County Tourism Development Association applied for the grant on behalf of the Bee Mural initiative. In addition, Botanical Treasures, a local wholesaler, donated the majority of the nursery-propagated native perennials for the project.