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It's lavender-picking time at Maple Rock

Lavender will be available for picking June 15 at Maple Rock Gardens, but watch for bees. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Famous gardens open gates to public for flower harvest

Acres of lavender are in bloom at Maple Rock Gardens, which means it’s time for harvest.

Tickets are now on sale for “Lavender Picking at Maple Rock Gardens,” from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15. This special pop-up event includes a chance to roam Maple Rock’s famous private gardens and picnic in the garden “rooms” or under the apple trees as well as cut bountiful bouquets of fragrant lavender.

Lavender fields forever at Maple Rock Gardens.
After so much spring rain, the lavender is particularly abundant and at its peak of bloom. (Remember: You’ll be working the fields along with the bees.) Besides gathering lavender, this offers a great photo opportunity in one of Northern California’s most beautiful private gardens. The home of High-Hand Nursery owner Scott Paris, Maple Rock covers about 30 acres.

Admission is $15; parking is free. Children age 12 or younger admitted free. Well-behaved dogs on leash are welcome. Tickets are available online as well as at the gate.

Bring your own clippers (gloves are good, too), something to carry your lavender in and a picnic lunch. Available for sale will be Maple Rock honey, lavender cookies and lavender lemonade.

Maple Rock is located on Highway 193 at Clark Tunnel Road in Penryn. For directions:

For advance tickets or more details, go to .


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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