Updated: Apr 24, 2019
Today is full of excitement, starting with the arrival of the Guide Books. These have turned out beautifully and everyone is delighted. I try to fit in everything today, a visit to the dental hygienist, paying my visa bill, going to the supermarket, going to the garden centre for plants for the children garden and doing the washing! I finally get outside and start by potting up the next set of plug plants - 66 Antirrhinum 'Liberty' that arrived this morning, whilst I'm potting up new plants for the children's garden. Mary points out that she has become surrounded by a swarm of bees at the bottom of the kitchen garden. We investigate our hives and find a swarm hanging off the bee enclosure fence. We rush off to contact the bee society, and remarkably quickly, a lovely man called Pete arrived to collect the swarm. We were able to watch the whole process from the viewing platform, and it was fascinating - the amount of bees in our main hive was incredible. Pete started looking through the main hive to find their Queen and much to his surprise he heard her 'piping' a sound he had never experienced before. This is to call to any other Queens to see if they are present in the hive. He then started sorting through the hanging swarm to look for their Queen and to encourage them to crawl up into his vacant waiting box. At points he was literally scooping up bees - obviously he was wearing gloves and a suit!
He explained that the bees, initially spotted in the kitchen garden were a separate swarm with another Queen and that they have now departed to find a new home. This meant our hive had had 3 new Queens hatch out together. Pete then left our swarm in the little hive box in our bee enclosure, to await our usual 'bee man' to return from his trip to France. I spend the rest of the day on general jobs and weed the border close to the playhouse. I also work out how to arrange the 'pot garden' which will be the, hopefully, 'Bella-proof' children's garden. The whole point of our new children's garden is to find a way to make this part of the garden beautiful despite Bella constantly charging through it to bark at dog walkers and their dogs.