Santa Rosa, California
A Sustainable Sanctuary
Nestled at the foot of Taylor Mountain in Santa Rosa, California, is a small organic farm breathing new life into the land while sustaining thousands of native bees and honeybees.
Bees N Blooms is a labor of love for owner Susan Kegley and her husband, Geoff. You cannot mistake Susan’s passion for beekeeping and growing plants when you hear her describe the farm’s early days. A former environmental chemist, Susan searched for a few acres of land in Sonoma County when she came across a field with a lot of potential.
“We wanted a place where we could plant lots of plants for pollinators,” Susan said. “When we found this piece of property, we just fell in love with it. It was 11 and a half acres, and it was an open field.”
Today, Susan and her team grow nearly 100 different varieties of flowers, produce organic lavender oil and honey, raise chickens and geese and host the public for events during lavender bloom each summer. She stays focused on her goal of restoring the connection between people and nature, while regenerating soil and providing a healthy habitat for insects, birds and mammals.
Restoring Habitat for Pollinators
Bees play a surprisingly important role in the ecosystem for such a small creature. More than 80% of flowering plants rely on pollination. At the same time, biologists have tracked a decline in pollinator diversity and abundance across many regions, including California.
Bees N Blooms helps restore habitat for these important insects while educating the public about how they build hives, cooperate with one another and gather nectar, which in turn spreads pollen from flower to flower.
Into the Labyrinth
With support from American AgCredit, Bees N Blooms has steadily grown into a farm that delights the eyes, ears, and nose. Enter the property and you will find yourself drawn to the purple ring of flowers that is the lavender labyrinth, a maze of pathways through the lavender with a lawn in the center.
In a region that draws tourists from around the world for wine tours and tastings, Bees N Blooms has found success with more down-to-earth farm tours and events, including weddings and special events that take place in the lavender labyrinth.
This article was first published by American AgCredit.