As I left for work this morning, I took a pause to look over the hill. Standing in the rain, I took in a deep breath. It was beautiful.

Looking at the lavender fields, I thought, “It’s too bad that no one gets to share this with me.” Well, we’ve done something about that, very quickly.

High-Hand Nursery presents Lavender Picking at Maple Rock this weekend. Yes, in three days. It’s lavender. It’s not going to wait around long and it’s starting to peak. We talked about doing pop-up events throughout the year. Well, as I stood at the wall, I thought, “Well, why not now.”

This Saturday and Sunday, June 3rd and 4th, from 9am to 2pm, you can come to Maple Rock and pick lavender. As always, parking is free. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by clicking here, at High-Hand Nursery, or be purchased at the gate.

I realize this is last minute, but it is two days so you have your choice of Saturday or Sunday. I warned you we were going to start doing Maple Rock pop-up events. So, here’s how this will work.

You can bring a picnic lunch and a blanket and pick a spot in the shade under the apple trees. Bring your clippers. We will provide a holder for your lavender and you can pick as many bouquets as you want because we have boatloads of lavender flowers. You can take a self-guided tour through the garden and the piano concert hall will be playing music at the top while you enjoy your lunch. We will not be serving food, so bring your lunch if you wish to enjoy a picnic at Maple Rock.

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty of walking with the bees. After all, bees are the caretakers and the sound of the garden. As you can see, you’ll be standing in a field of lavender, washed with its color and fragrance. You will also be there with approximately 400,000 other airborne workers. So, let me make a few suggestions for all of you who are unsure about picking lavender with the bees.

First of all, understand the bees really don’t care about you. They are not flying around looking for somebody to sting. They’re busy. They’re working. For a bee to make a pound of honey it has to make approximately two million visits to a flower, so trust me, they’re very focused.

To help the bee stay focused on its job of collecting pollen, when you come to Maple Rock this weekend, you can do the following things:

  • Wear light colored clothes.
  • Avoid fragrances, scented soaps and hairsprays, lotions and oils.
  • Bees navigate through odor so avoiding fragrances is a good thing.
  • Don’t wear floral patterned clothes. Duh. Don’t look like a flower patch.
  • Bees see ultraviolet light. If you light up under a black light, you’ll be interesting to the bee.
  • Walk calmly. Don’t run.
  • Don’t swat, wave your hands or hit at a bee. You will probably get hit back.
  • The bee has the right of way. There are plenty of flowers to pick.
  • Smile. Bees don’t like sad people.
  • Bee relaxed.
  • Enjoy
  • Have fun

Understand that our friend, Bee, is not looking to sting and they don’t sting generally when they are gathering pollen. They are punch drunk. Last year I laid down in the lavender and was amazed at how many bees simply ran into me. FWI – Flying While Intoxicated.

They can get drunk from fermented nectars in the flowers and you can imagine how many flying accidents there are. Believe it or not, they can forget how to get back to their hives. I was actually shocked to learn that if they do get back to their hives and they are completely buzzed out of their minds (pardon the pun), they have been known to be rounded up and punished by having their legs chewed off. I know this sounds gruesome and I wasn’t going to go there, I just wanted you to know that even in the bee world there is a severe punishment for FWI.

The hum of the bees is the voice of the garden. Bees can literally shake pollen out of the flower by humming very loudly at them. This humming, created by rapid muscle contractions, can produce a force up to 30G – about 3 times the force of a fighter jet making a tight turn. The vibrations dislodge pollen grains from the flower. Pretty cool. I’m always amazed about the POWER of nature about which us mere humans have no clue.

Let’s recap.

Come to Maple Rock Gardens and pick lavender with the bees. Don’t worry about them because they don’t care about you. They only care about their job. I can’t say that a bee sting won’t happen, but I will say in all the times I’ve laid down and walked among the lavender, I have never been stung. So, enjoy and relax and join us for our first pop-up Maple Rock event of the season.

More information can be found by clicking here.

Trains, Trains and Trains
September 9th, join us at Maple Rock. Live steam engines, BBQ and live music. Come see the trains and steam engines presented by Sacramento Valley Railroad Society. Tickets are $10 and parking is free. Click here to purchase your tickets.

We are also trying to win the Best of the Best contest. So, if you feel compelled please click here to learn more. You’ll find the links at the bottom of our page for the categories for which we’ve been nominated. Vote for High-Hand Nursery and vote for High-Hand Cafe. We will love you for it.

See you at Maple Rock this weekend. Walk in the lavender and talk with bees.


P.S. Stop by High Hand Nursery on your way home. We’d love to see you.

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