It was Garden Open Day today at LandofSpike's kids' Primary School just along the road from Spike Towers.
This annual event showcases the work of the School Garden Team, a small and dedicated group of parents and staff who work with the children throughout the gardening year to help them understand how things grow and where our food comes from.
Presumably, it also helps the kids understand the very best ways to get totally covered in dirt.
The day was a bit windy and not particularly warm, but at least it wasn't raining.
So, unperturbed and with a few heavy things on top of the light things to stop them from blowing away, it was time to open the gates to the public and let everyone have a look at what the gardeners had been up to.
As ever, there was plenty of brilliant stuff to see and do.
The day was subtly bee-themed, with a make-a-bee craft stall and a bee-themed colouring-in table.
Kids could also plant some seeds, paint their own plant pot or decorate a pebble.
|You could make one of these at the craft stall|
Hungry visitors could sample a variety of tasty homemade breads, rosemary scones, apple cake and fantastic soups made from produce grown in the garden.
Intrepid visitors could take a tour round the site to view the results of all the great work carried out by the children and adult helpers.
In addition to all this excellence, LandofSpike had been enlisted to spread the beekeepery word and was delighted to set up shop under the apple blossom tree on the garden's northern borders, right next to the face painting stall.
His aim was to try and help demystify the arcane world of the beekeeper.
He couldn't really bring a big bag of bees along with him, so he brought a big bag of beekeeper kit along instead.
And talked a lot.
In a hugely enjoyable couple of hours (for him at least) we discussed frames, foundation, Langstroth, beespace, brood boxes, supers, queen excluders, hive tools, smokers, colony collapse disorder, neonicotinoids, fondant, syrup and the value of autumn feeding.
That's the autumn feeding without which the beesofspike would not have survived the winter.
A varroa tray with 4 days worth of debris provided a sample of mites to look at under a microscope.
And once identified, people could return to sift through the tray to find the little blighters in situ, along with plenty of wax flakes, some dropped pollen, a few wings, legs, a sting and, happily, no evidence of wax moth.
|Varroa tray detectives could identify, wax flakes, pollen & mites|
|A BeesofSpike worker emerging from its cell|
Despite all this learning and worthiness, LandofSpike suspects that by far the most popular bee-related exhibit on his stall was the large chunk of honey-filled burr comb that he sliced off the side of a particularly heavy frame of capped honey.
|Yes, we know the varroa are really interesting but when can we have a taste of this?|
Garden Guru Anita whisked it away to the produce stall where it was very swiftly consumed, along with the delicious homemade breads, by an enthusiastic public.
It's heartening to know that the bees that made that honey had, more than likely, visited this very garden and the gardens of most of those attending the Open Day, to collect nectar and pollen.
It was indeed the most local of local honey.
And so with people still picking beeswax from between their teeth, a very successful Open Day came to a close.
It would seem that anything that can help make beekeeping more accessible is a step in the right direction.
What goes on underneath that veil, behind that screen of smoke and inside those enigmatic buzzing boxes shouldn't be seen as mysterious at all.
Hopefully today, and days like it, help to lift the veil just a tiny bit.
LandofSpike's only regrets were that he didn't get to demonstrate his smoker lighting technique, which was judged a Health & Safety hazard by Mrs LandofSpike, and that there wasn't time for Stevie to model her extremely cute beekeeper suit.