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Stories from the valley

Yolo Zinnia Patch

Contributed by Steve Beckley

Mezger 3 SBMark Mezger of Woodland has given the people of our area a wonderful gift.  Mark, who operates Farmers Grain Elevator, has planted a two-acre patch of Zinnias that are free to the public.  The patch is located about two miles north of Yolo on the frontage road parallel to Interstate 5.  You can’t miss the field as it’s in full bloom with a bright variety of colors,

Mezger 5 SBThe only condition is that when you cut yourself a bouquet, you cut one and deliver it to someone who is unable to come out and enjoy the flowers.  In order to insure all in the area enjoy the beauty, Mark’s daughter Sadie and a group of volunteers cut flowers and deliver them on a regular basis to Woodland skilled nursing homes, dialysis center, hospital intensive care unit and Woodland Senior Center.

Not only do people enjoy the zinnias, the field is a thriving refuge for butterflies, bees, dragonflies, moths and hummingbirds.  I can attest to the difficulty of trying to photograph hummingbirds as they zip around the flowers.  The zinnias thrive on drip irrigation and hot weather. An interesting fact is that zinnias are related to sunflowers, which are an important Sacramento Valley crop.

Mezger 2 SBMark and his family have brought joy to many people in with the colorful flowers.  I visit the patch, camera in hand, many times during the year and never have an excuse to not bring flowers home. This year is very special for me as when I visit I remember my friend Dan Mezger, Mark’s brother and partner, who had just passed away.

In a conversation with Mark, I asked him what the message he wanted to convey to people with his flowers.  He said, “It is simple to do something like this, I don’t play golf so my money for green fees goes to the flower patch.” He urges others to reach out to make their community a better place.