Did you ever think in your lifetime that you would see an event take place that would reshape the lives of the whole world? Last Friday I sat in my office thinking about this. I sat here thinking about my world and the journey over the last seven weeks. There are parts of my world that I did not handle well in the beginning. To be honest I made mistakes that affected those around me. As a business owner, like so many across America, we were open on one day and completely shut down the next. I was thinking a lot about other business owners and what they may be going through. I can’t come up with any words to visualize it other than silence and shaking my head.

One thing that has been emerging of late that I have noticed for myself is that I am developing better “mind muscles.” I so want to come out of this stronger as person than even before this happened. Like so many things in my brain sometimes ideas just fire off. It’s kind of a curse because I have a tendency to be impulsive when I get an idea and I just go with it and try to not look back. Sometimes I hit a home run, sometimes I don’t. But most people who are self employed are generally risk takers, it’s kinda in our DNA as business owners. So a small light popped in my head Friday, I was thinking about all the heroes out there, first responders, nurses, doctors, the mail man, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, and grocery clerks just to mention a few.

I was thinking about what I could do for doctors and nurses besides just deliver food. I’m in the nursery business, the restaurant business, and the landscape construction business. I have decided to launch Hydrangeas for Heroes. We are going to deliver Hydrangeas to hospitals and convalescence homes around the region, to doctors and nurses who have sacrificed everything for our safety. Since Friday, we are up to over 1,500 Hydrangeas that will be delivered next week. We will be reaching from Auburn to the San Joaquin Valley, and Amador County. We will also be delivering at convalescence homes that are in lock down. To pull this off, there is a mountain of work to be done in a very short period of time.

If you’d like to volunteer for something, here is how you could help:

  • I need 2,000 bows made by Monday. (I would provide the ribbon, cut to length, and the wire for them)
  • I need drivers with covered trucks who would be willing to drop Hydrangeas off locally and throughout the valley curbside. My goal is to hit all six Sutter hospitals in one day.
  • I need six drivers to come to High-Hand at the same time and depart at the same time on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
  • I need sticker helpers.
  • I need to place the label shown below on thousands of pots. Yikes!

We are very grateful for the corporate sponsors who have stepped up to date. High-Hand provided the first chunk of Hydrangeas. Teichert, Livingston’s Concrete, Berry Lumber, Placer County Treasurer, and the head nurse at San Joaquin General, and six other locations have all stepped up to help the cause, I am eternally grateful.

You can be part of Hydrangeas for Heroes as well:

  1. Go to our homepage.
  2. Click on the banner High-Hand To Go/Curbside Pickup.
  3. Select the blue Hydrangea flower and you can be part of Hydrangeas for Heroes.

The hydrangeas are $15 each and this includes tax and delivery. Thanks volunteers 😊. We would love for you to be part of Hydrangeas for Heroes — if you are interested, email us at thoughts@highhand.com with name/phone/what you can help out with (drivers, bow makers, stickers). I thank you in advance.


So while we are still homeschooling, let’s talk about Hydrangeas. Do you want to know about tips and tricks? Have you ever wondered why your hydrangeas have never bloomed? If that’s the case, you’re probably pruning at the wrong time of the year. Do not prune in the spring – shame on you. Most Hydrangeas bloom on old wood, while there are some varieties that bloom on new wood. I would still follow the same rule. I recommend fall pruning after the blooming is done. This could be September-ish? This allows the Hydrangea to put on active growth before it goes to sleep. Are you a bear that hibernated and missed the fall pruning? You can still prune in the spring, once you see the leaf nodes beginning to form you can cut back the end of stem to at least 3 fat and healthy leaf nodes. Leaf nodes are obvious. There are more things about pruning, but for our purpose that pretty much covers it.

Pest & Diseases

The most common pest is the snail and there are organic, non harmful, snail baits that you can apply, or broken egg shells around the base will help out as a deterrent. Share your beer with your Hydrangeas. A flat plate with some beer on it and the snails will belly up to the bar. Frogs keeping you up at night? Just know that they are eating snails — take a sleeping pill.

Thrips and Spittle bugs suck the moisture out of leafs, they love the shade those little bugs. Any garden insecticide should send them packing.

Powdery Mildew and Black Spot could pop up in shady locations, usually when there is poor air circulation. Cut the leaves off which have traces of mildew and fungus without hesitation.

Rust. Pops up up with too much sunlight after overhead watering. Water in the morning or late afternoon and allow the leaves to dry before the night air settles in.

Deer love Hydrangeas. Its a salad bar. Don’t have much help for you here — build a fence or get a dog.

Flower Colors

The color of blooms — here’s how it works. To create blue blooms (say that 10 times – I cant even say it once without having to slow down my mouth and think) is achieved by applying an acid based fertilizer. The degree of blueness is controlled by the amount of available aluminum. Burying a fish worked for the Pilgrims, but no, you cannot bury a beer can! You can buy aluminum sulfate and that will do the trick. A rule of thumb is a quarter cup per foot of Hydrangea. Do you want pink to red blooms? Applying lime once or twice a year should do the trick, apply until you get desired bloom color. Don’t have lime? Apply a fertilizer high in phosphate — there you go!

Where do I plant a Hydrangea?

Find a location that does not get afternoon sun. The good news is that they can take some direct sun once they are able to get established. Keep the plant thoroughly moist during hot weather until well established. At Maple Rock, I have them in deep shade, morning shade, afternoon sun, morning sun, afternoon shade, and because I’m a risk taker — full sun. They are extremely hardy and are an awesome plant. I don’t know if I have answered the question of where to plant? If you want to be a risk taker go ahead and plant wherever you want and experiment. Your best bet will be to plant in morning sun and afternoon shade.

Would you like to help with Hydrangeas for Heroes? Click here or on the HIgh-Hand To Go banner on our homepage and you’re in. We would love to have you as a volunteer. Send us an email. We will make every attempt to reach out to everybody in a timely manner — we will do our best. I would love to hear from you.

Class adjourned.

High-Hand Nursery is open!
Thursday thru Sunday 9:00am-4:00pm

If you can respect social distancing for your health and ours, welcome to the nursery. We wear masks and have plexiglass at the counters 😊.

High-Hand Cafe is open for takeout!
Thursday thru Sunday 11:00am-3:00pm

There are two ways you can order:

Visit www.highhand.com and order online.

What’s the second way to order? Come to the nursery, buy plants, order online, we will have your food ready in about 15 minutes at the cafe when you leave.

Check out our menu at High-Hand Curbside Marketplace online:

  • Fresh produce
  • Farm fresh eggs
  • Cafe favorites
  • Fun Plants

Here’s how the High-Hand Curbside Marketplace works:

  1. Click here to order online or visit our website and look for the banner.
  2. Select a time for pick up. We are open for pickup Thursday–Sunday 11:00–3:00pm.
  3. Now here’s the tricky part, toggle our menu options at the top. The menu options are listed as Grocery, Beverages, Nursery, Restaurant and don’t forget the Olive Oil Company.
  4. Make your selections then head to check out and pay online. We will have your order ready at your scheduled time in the Cafe parking lot.
I am grateful for my family’s health and I am grateful for my health. We do not know what lies ahead, but I believe in the human spirit. All of us at High-Hand thank you for thinking about us.
Come to High-Hand for beautiful hydrangeas this weekend. Don’t forget to take your Cafe favorites home to go with our curbside service.
We hope to see you soon,


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