This weekend I've been busy in the garden but not too busy to finally get round to adding a splash of colour to the second beehive (aka 59b) waiting in the wings should Lizzie decide her present abode in the first beehive (aka 59a) is not up to scratch. We are nearing the end of of what's known as the swarming season and from recent inspections, I'm pretty hopeful that Lizzie and her family are content with their beehive home at the bottom of the garden.
Swarming is a natural instinct where the queen takes half the colony with her to set up a new colony. If a beekeeper can read what the colony is doing, an artificial swarm can be done - that's where having a second beehive ready is handy.
What colour do you paint a beehive? My first hive is made of red cedar and because it contains natural oils they will help preserve the wood. I also think that it will age beautifully and therefore wanted to leave this one alone. The other beehive was second hand and already painted. To begin with, I wasn't sure about a painted beehive, but the more I thought about it, the more I warmed to the idea. So it was off to the garden centre to pick up a pot of paint that would work well in the garden. Green, brown, charcoal... the choice wasn't that extensive but the colour I was really hoping to find was there - purple - not the darker shade I preferred, but purple berry was there sitting on the shelf.
How long does it take to buy a pot of paint? The answer to that one is easy - if you know what you want, then not very long at all. When you're dithering about the shade of colour, it's a lot longer! A walk around the garden centre was called for but not to buy plants, just to think. Well, that was the idea, but with some wonderful plants on show, a few extra plants in the garden wouldn't harm - after all they were bee-friendly! Anyway, my mind was made up - the tin of purple berry came home too.
Three coats it said on the side of the tin was what was needed to reach the same shade as that shown. Each coat dried within an hour so I cracked on to add a couple of layers yesterday and finished off the different sections of the beehive earlier today and waited for the sun to help with the drying. The finishing touch was adding the wooden name plate that Emma made for me - one for each hive - 59a and 59b.
The colour definitely works well in the garden with the beehive sitting in the wild patch. It's just about the same shade of purple as some of the foxgloves opening up to offer nectar and pollen for bumble bees and honey bees that care to stop off in the garden. My choice of colours of flowers in the garden are purple and yellow as they seem to attract pollinators so 59b looks right at home.