Noted Garden Designer Kate Frey: Plant a Pollinator Garden And They Will Come

Would you like to design and plant a bee friendly garden?

Do you want to attract such pollinators as honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies?

World-class garden designer and avid pollinator advocate Kate Frey of Hopland will be among the speakers at the the fourth annual UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy, set Saturday, March 3 in the UC Davis Conference Room on Alumni Drive. It's sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center of the Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.

Frey will speak at 2:45 p.m. on "Designing Bee-Friendly Gardens."  Highly sought for her expertise, Frey won two gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in London, a rare honor for an American designer. She is the co-author (with professor Gretchen LeBuhn of San Francisco State University) of the award-winning The Bee-Friendly Garden published in 2016 by Ten Speed Press. The  American Horticultural Society selected the book as one of the best gardening books of 2017.  

Among Frey's credits: designing and managing the pollinator garden in the Fetzer Vineyards, Hopland; the privately owned and expansive Melissa Garden in Healdsburg; and the gardens at Lynmar Winery, Sebastopol. Her work can also be seen at the Sonoma (Calif.) Cornerstone, where she designed and maintains a pollinator garden. She launched her newest educational venture, The American Garden School, in 2017.  

Kate, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in English, summa cum laude,  currently writes two gardening columns for the Press Democrat newspaper.

Keynote speaker at the UC Davis Bee Symposium is noted bee scientist/professor/author Tom Seeley of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., who will speak on "Darwinian Beekeeping" at 9:15 a.m. Seeley is the Horace White Professor in Biology, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, where he teaches courses on animal behavior and researches the behavior and social life of honey bees. He's the author of Honeybee Ecology: A Study of Adaptation in Social Life (1985), The Wisdom of the Hive: the Social Physiology of Honey Bee Colonies (1995), and Honeybee Democracy (2010), all published by Princeton University Press. His books will be available for purchase and signing at the symposium.

The daylong event "is designed for beekeepers of all experience levels, including gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in the world of pollination and bees," said Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center. "In addition to our speakers, there will be lobby displays featuring graduate student research posters, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, and much more."

Graduate students throughout the country are invited to submit their research posters. The winners will share $1800 in cash prizes. Applications must be submitted to Liz Luu at, by Feb. 12. For the rules, see this web page.

The conference begins with registration and a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., with welcomes and introductions at 9 a.m., by Amina Harris and Neal Williams, UC Davis professor of entomology and faculty co-director of the center. Seeley's keynote address follows. 

The program then turns to the following:

10:15 a.m. The Evolution and Chemical Ecology of Orchid Bees

Santiago Ramírez,  assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology

10:45 a.m. Break

Graduate student posters available for viewing

11 a.m. Understanding the Nuances of Honey: An Educational Tasting

       Amina Harris, Director, Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, UC Davis

12 Noon. Master Beekeeper Program

Honoring the Apprentice Level Master Beekeepers—Pin Ceremony

Elina Lastro Niño, Extension Apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

Bernardo Niño, Staff Research Associate, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

12:30 p.m. Lunch

Graduate student poster presentations

Educational exhibits

2 p.m. An Update from Project Apis m

Danielle Downey, executive director, Project Apis m

2:45 p.m. Designing Bee-Friendly Gardens

Kate Frey of Hopland, Calif., ecological garden designer, consultant and columnist, and co-author of The Bee-Friendly Garden (with Gretchen LeBuhn, professor of biology, San Francisco State University). The book won the American Horticultural Society 2017 Book Award.

3:30 p.m.  Break

3:30 p.m. Lightning Round

4 to 6-minute presentations about many different programs in the world of beekeeping followed by a question and answer session

4:30 p.m. Winners of the Graduate Student Poster Competition Announced

4:45 p.m. Close

Reception (weather permitting) in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.

To register, access the Honey and Pollination Center website. For more information, contact Amina Harris at or Liz Luu at