There aren’t many professional beekeepers in Wales but here in the Garden we have one. It’s Lynda Christie and her long-time fascination with honeybees has led her along an unconventional career path.
Where were you brought up?
What brought you to Wales?
A move to the country, the lure of the “good life”
How did you develop an interest in honeybees?
I have always been a keen gardener and When I lived in Essex went along to a talk at a Horticultural group given by a beekeeper. This inspired me to attend the local Beekeepers Association and I haven’t looked back since.
What kind of training have you taken to become a beekeeper?
I have attended courses at Southend Beekeepers Association in Essex, completed the BBKA Basic assessment and started the Master beekeeping modules before moving to Wales. I have attended National diploma of Beekeeping courses and recently have started up a group with our Beekeepers at the Botanic Garden to continue the Master Beekeeping modules. But the best training is through practical experience, working with the bees and mentoring beekeepers and beginners.
Have you always worked as a beekeeper?
I have a followed different career paths from Merchant Banking to a teacher of Mathematics in secondary schools (as well as maintaining three apiaries in Essex) before joining the Botanic Garden in 2008. Initially volunteering in the Bee Garden whilst working in other roles and now as the full time Beekeeper and Ecosystems trainer through the Growing the Future project.
Could you outline what your main roles are working in the Garden?
I look after three apiaries at the Garden assisted by a group of volunteers. Give training in beekeeping and other Beekeeping crafts and topics. Promote the work of the Botanic Garden at events and conferences.
You’ve just been made Chair of the Welsh Beekeepers Association (WBKA) in March. What does this require of you?
This is an honour as I am a big fan of the good work carried out by the Associations in Wales. I am still settling into the role which is to provide leadership for the management committee to ensure it fulfils its responsibilities for the governance of the WBKA. I chair management team and Council meetings working in partnership with the trustees and supporting the officers to achieve the aims and objectives of the WBKA. Also, I represent the WBKA at other external events and meetings to help it achieve its aims and enhance its reputation as a National support organisation for beekeepers in Wales.
Do you have a favourite plant or part of the Garden?
There are too many wonderful parts of the garden to choose just one. I love the way the Garden changes through the seasons and have witnessed it develop over the years. I try to get into the Garden each day to have a look around even if it’s just for a short break, as its good for the soul.
Lastly, can you tell us something about yourself that might even surprise people who know you?
In my spare time I love to go touring in my campervan, finding new and interesting places to visit, go on long walks with my dog, but they must be circular walks if possible as I like to have a different view on the way back! All of my animals are rescues. Until recently I had three dogs (sadly now down to one), a grey cat with a broken tail and eight rescued battery hens.