Bees N Blooms is an 11-acre organic farm started in the spring of 2016, where Susan and Geoff Kegley produce lavender and a variety of lavender products, honey and wax from ten colonies of honey bees, and pollinator-friendly organic plants and trees. Located at the base of Taylor Mountain park, which preserves habitat, the land at Bees N Blooms has become a place not only for growing crops, but also for habitat restoration and regeneration. When Susan and Geoff came to the Sonoma County area from Berkeley, they found this land (once a dairy farm) known today as Bees N Blooms and transformed it from a blank canvas into an artist’s masterpiece.
Building on existing knowledge of sustainable and regenerative agriculture, Susan and Geoff have incorporated a diverse collection of flowers and trees in the landscape to provide season-long forage for pollinators. It’s paid off, as local photographer Mark Hullinger has documented with photographs of a wide diversity of not only pollinators but also beneficial insects that prey on pests and are a welcome part of the pest management team at Bees N Blooms.
Watching the changes on the land is Susan’s favorite part of her job. “Farming is on a time scale that doesn’t provide immediate gratification. You have to be patient, work for it, and let Nature take its course. And then . . . wow! What happens next is simply magic,” said Susan, “Soil, water, sunlight and biology work together to provide miraculous beauty and abundance. Humans need this–it’s in our DNA.”
Perhaps what Bees N Blooms is most popularly known for is their lavender labyrinth that contains more than 900 lavender plants and a half-mile of a meditative, lavender-scented pathway to walk. Sonoma County visitors and residents flock to Bees N Blooms during the farm’s peak lavender bloom from mid-May to mid-July to walk the lavender labyrinth, cut their own bouquets of lavender in the U-Pick fields, and enjoy lunch with their friends and family. The latest addition to the farm—still a work in progress—is the Butterfly Haven, a garden in the shape of a large butterfly that will provide a habitat for native butterflies.
When visiting, the public can get a taste of what’s possible in their own backyards. The nursery at Bees N Blooms sells organic ornamental plants and trees, and the staff provides educational opportunities for gardeners and other farmers by giving tours on creating habitats for pollinators and pest management in a regenerative organic farming system.
Susan and Geoff’s vision was to provide space for pollinators with abundant, pesticide-free forage, and to create a sanctuary for animals. Without realizing it at first, the land soon became a safe space for humans too, as the ecosystem began to thrive through their labor of love.
“The Farm Bureau is an incredible resource for farmers, keeping farmers up to date on the important issues and trends of the times,” said Susan, “We read the AgAlert cover to cover every week and continue to be impressed by the innovative technologies farmers and ag engineers are developing to make farming more sustainable and profitable. And the policy updates keep us informed about what we need to worry about next . . . and what we can do about it!”