Pollinator Pathmaker is a campaign to make art for pollinators, planted and cared for by humans. We want to transform how we see gardens and who we make them for. Created by the artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, this one-of-a-kind interspecies artwork is commissioned by the Eden Project, Cornwall, UK.
Bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles, and other pollinators are essential for plants to reproduce and our ecosystems to flourish. But human-made habitat loss, pesticides, invasive species, and climate change are triggering a terrifying decline in their populations around the world.
Without pollinators, many plants can’t reproduce and make seeds. Without seeds, many of the trees, flowers, and crops we rely on simply wouldn’t exist. Plants are vital to the survival of life on Earth, including us. How and what we plant matters, so Ginsberg asked: what would a garden look like if it were designed from a pollinator’s perspective, rather than ours?
Pollinators see colours differently from us, forage in different ways, and emerge in different seasons to each other. As a result, a garden designed for them may look quite different from a garden designed for us.
Working with Eden’s horticulturalists, pollinator experts, and an AI scientist, Ginsberg devised a unique algorithmic tool that will always make the most empathetic planting design. She defines this as planting to support the greatest diversity of pollinator species. The algorithm solves this problem, choosing and arranging from a curated palette of locally appropriate plants. Every garden it generates is different, but each is computed to support the maximum pollinator species possible.
Pollinator Pathmaker is a response to human-made ecological damage. By creating for other species, it uses art to give us empathy and agency to care for them. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced gardener, join us in this art-led campaign to create the world’s largest climate-positive artwork together.
You can visit the first Pollinator Pathmaker Edition Garden – a 55m permanent installation – at the Eden Project, Cornwall, with more large public gardens to follow around the world (read about commissioning an Edition Garden).
Pollinator Pathmaker is not just about large public gardens: you can use the algorithmic tool for free to make your own garden artwork. Simply follow the steps in the algorithmic toolbox to select your garden conditions and play with how the algorithm solves the problem of empathy. It then generates a garden design for you; each design created is a one-off edition of the artwork.
Thanks to Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s beautiful digital paintings, you can explore your garden in 3D or planting plan, zoom in or fly through it like a pollinator, learn more about your plants, and use ‚pollinator vision‘ to imagine how pollinators see it. Then share or save the link to revisit your garden, download your planting instructions (complete with a certificate of authenticity for your editioned artwork), and if you can, plant it!
Every garden planted – from back yard to windowsill to museum grounds – is a living artwork designed and tended with empathy for the tastes of pollinators, not ours.