I’m just in the process of illustrating a honey jar label, so when I saw signs popping up on the local verges advertising a ‘Wildflower Meadow and Beehive Open Weekend’, I had the perfect excuse to drop my trowel and abscond from weeding the parsnips. I dragged a friend, willingly, away from her decorating and we set off ‘in the course of duty’.
Nestled in complete seclusion in the Suffolk countryside, I knew we were in for a treat the moment we were greeted by a jolly, rotund man with an precision engineered handlebar moustache. He handed us a beautifully illustrated guide along with a coloured tiddly-wink to exchange for a cup of tea in the barn. Attention to detail... on all counts!
We followed the snaking path through 4 acres of sheer tranquility.
Each exquisite flower head twinkling in the warm sun
It wasn't just the bees that were hard at work, the BBC were there too, busy as bees themselves, filming a documentary with broadcaster and amateur bee enthusiast Martha Kearney. Look out for her four part series "The Joy of Honey" in 2014.
Having traded in our tiddly-wink.....
.....we were quite spoilt for choice for idyllic spots to sip our tea.
Of course no garden visit is complete without a good sniff around the plant stall. After all, a plant purchased along with a happy memory always gives twice the pleasure!
So for me it was a delicate white knapweed and a the cutely named 'fox and cubs' which I'll pop into the long grass in our orchard. Now all I need is a beehive!