The thermometer read 94 degrees as we rolled up to the Mezger Family Zinnia Patch outside Woodland, California. There were a few people in the flower field picking blooms and gathering together bouquets and after a few minutes of waiting we were able to take our turn with one of the clippers the family leaves out for visitors.
See – this flower patch is extra special. It’s totally free. They provide you with clippers, vases and water for bouquets. There is one catch, though: you have to pick an extra bouquet for someone who can’t.
This flower patch was started by Mark Mezger. A few years ago he was working a dance and there was about 60 vases of flowers left over afterward. Not wanting them to go to waste, he brought them to a local retirement home and of course, the residents found so much joy in this small gesture.
He decided he wanted to create a permanent pay it forward flower patch. About 15 locals help him plant each spring to get the patch up and ready for visitors in the summer. Zinnias grow easy in the hot summer sun of this area.
And yes, it really is free! It looked like the free vases were donations or maybe purchased for cheap from someplace like Goodwill.
I think we arrived after a lot of other people, as there weren’t many flowers left but we found enough to create a bouquet that we then split up between the three of us. I brought mine home to my husband, Robin, to keep in the kitchen since he cooks almost all our meals. He probably won’t ever say it, but fresh flowers cheer up him and he likes them in his workspace.
Tips For Visiting The Mezger Family Zinnia Patch
- There’s no gates, so come anytime between sunrise and sunset.
- If you visit mid-day it will be HOT, so wear sunscreen and a hat. And right now, a mask!
- Share the clippers with other guests. Don’t be a clipper hog.
- Don’t be a dick to the plants. Stay in the lanes and be respectful. We want to all make sure this patch stays healthy and safe to be open each year!
I LOVED this concept. As a Wisconsin girl who grew up with 16 acres of gardens and woods to run around in, I really miss going out into a garden and cutting myself a bouquet of flowers. Flowers make everyone happy and I’m thankful for this family who has chosen to give the public the gift of flowers.
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