Thursday, March 13, 2014

17th Annual "Spring Fling" at the Amador Flower Farm - April 5 & 6

Celebrate Spring in Amador County! Amador Flower Farm will hold its 17th Annual Spring Fling Celebration on Saturday and Sunday April 5 and 6 from 9am-4 pm. Though the gardens are open all year, this event is the official “Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring” celebration.

The nursery will be filled with vegetable starter plants—the largest selection in all of Amador County! There will be over 70 varieties of tomatoes, most of them heirloom and all non-GMO.

The festivities include hourly demonstrations by gardening experts, Amador County artists and craftsmen. The schedule of events will be posted on the farm website.

Guests are invited to take a free tram ride tour of the farm, stroll through the 14 acres of grounds, enjoy the demonstrations and have a picnic. There will be food available and picnicking is encouraged.

The Spring Fling has no admission fee and is open to the public.

Amador Flower Farm specializes in daylilies with over 1000 varieties available in its nursery, catalog and online at the mail order website The idea gardens and nursery are filled with hundreds of varieties of unusual perennials and grasses and lots of spring color.

Amador Flower Farm is open daily all year from 9 – 4 p.m., and is located at 22001 Shenandoah School Road in the heart of Amador County’s wine country. Take Highway 49 to Plymouth and turn east on Shenandoah Road and then right on Shenandoah School Road. For further information, please call 209 245-6660 or visit

Monday, March 10, 2014

Amador County Fair Recognized for Community Effort

PLYMOUTH, CA. When the lawns at the Amador County Fairgrounds were becoming brown and unsightly just a few weeks before the annual Fair in 2013, there wasn't much the staff could do. The famous street of brightly colored zinnia flowers was in jeopardy and green lawns for Fair guests to enjoy were fading away.

The Amador Fair, located in the City of Plymouth, depends on city water for its needs. The lack of funding has hit the Fair in many different ways and one of those ways is how to pay for utilities. The water cost at the Amador County Fair is equivalent to gold prices! Yes, a little overstated, but the amount of water needed for irrigation of the big lawns and landscape can be over the top in cost. How the community stepped in to save the day resulted in a First Place Award for Crisis Management from the Western Fairs Association. The Western Fairs Association awards program is one of the most prestigious in the Fair industry.

Local resident, Elden Wait, reached out to the fair and offered unlimited water from his property about 4 miles from the fairgrounds, but the Fair would have to find a way to haul that water. Clayton Gregory at Great Water offered their water truck services for minimal cost and the Amador County Fair Foundation offered to pay for the hauling costs to get the water to the fairgrounds and onto the dying lawns and plants.

Truck by truckload, water started coming in ten hours a day for more than a week - hauling, dumping and going back for more. The City of Plymouth stepped up and offered water from a hydrant with the help of the local fire department to keep the Fair's holding tank full at a very reduced cost when they learned what a predicament the Fair was facing with just days to go before the Fair opened.

Thanks to Elden Wait for the water, Great Water for the hauling, the City of Plymouth for stepping up in the crisis, and the Foundation and friends, the crisis was averted and the Fair opened with green lawns and beautiful flower gardens.

"We have seen over and over how the community loves the Amador County Fair and they step up when the going is tough. We continue to work diligently to save the Fair following the extreme funding cuts by the State and we believe the citizens of Amador County can do the job!" stated Troy Bowers, CEO. "As our 2014 theme affirms – "There's No Place Like Home" in Amador County.

In addition, the Fair was awarded a first place for Innovative Marketing, second place for color newspaper ads, their 75th Anniversary poster and the Baxter Black Foundation event. Third place awards were received for radio advertising and black and white newspaper ads.

For more information on the Amador County Fair visit The Fair will be held July 24-27.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Daffodil Hill opens its gates March 15

Daffodil Hill will open its gates for its 74th season on Saturday, March 15th, 2014 weather permitting. McLaughlin’s Daffodil Hill is a multi-generational project which has it’s origin in a family garden dating from the late 1800’s. Today it has become a full scale tourist destination attracting thousands annually to this beautiful site near Volcano, California, some 50 miles east from either Sacramento or Stockton.Visitors are encouraged to call the recorded phone message at (209) 296-7048 to see if Daffodil Hill is open that day. Daffodil Hill is located at 18310 Rams Horn Grade, Volcano, CA. 95689 and is open Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Sorry, No pets allowed on grounds of Daffodil Hill.
Each spring, from mid-March through mid-April, Daffodil Hill explodes with thousands of blooms, attracting visitors from around the world. Approximately 6 acres of the 540 acre Daffodil Hill ranch is dedicated to the daffodils. As many as 300 varieties and 500,000 annual blooms (if the weather cooperates) are there for your pleasure. Visitors are welcome to walk through this beautiful display of nature or just sit on a bench and soak in the wonderful experience of the Daffodils. This is a perfect setting for photos of all kinds.

Daffodil Hill is in a beautiful alpine setting at an elevation of over 3,000 feet. With pine trees, an old barn, wagon wheels, and rusting mining equipment and farming tools, it appeals to anyone with a love of nature. Flowers are everywhere, with peafowl, chickens, pigeons and lambs making themselves at home.
There is no admission charge or parking fee to visit the family ranch, but there are many yellow teakettles and pots around so that anyone, if they desire, may donate to keep this precious, family run, tradition alive.  This is a rare opportunity to experience History and Nature together in one of Amador County’s best treasures.

Directions to Daffodil Hill

Daffodil Hill is approximately 12 miles from Sutter Creek.
Sutter Creek is located on Old Highway 49 in Amador County, accessible from Sacramento via Highway 16 (Jackson Rd.) or from Stockton via Highway 99 (Highway 88 turnoff).
From Sutter Creek, turn East on Gopher Flat Road. Drive for approximately 3 miles and turn left at the third stop sign which is Shake Ridge Road.  Drive about 9 miles on Shake Ridge Roadto Rams Horn Grade.  You have arrived!


At the time the 36-acre ranch was purchased in 1887, the early days of the Gold Rush, it served as a way-station for teamsters hauling timber from the Sierras down to the Kennedy and Argonaut Mines, and for east bound travelers heading for the Comstock Lode on the Amador-Nevada Wagon Road (Highway 88) and others traveling the road from Kit Carson Pass. The McLaughlin’s continued the way-station operation, renting rooms, and serving meals (breakfast for 25 cents) to the travelers and providing feed and shelter for their animals.  For many years the loft of the ranch barn that still stands today, was used for “Saturday Night” dances for guests and neighbors. The owners Arthur and his wife, Lizzie, began to plant the first daffodil bulbs in their spare time. The bulbs have since been lovingly nurtured.

Not a commercial enterprise, nor formally publicized or promoted, the ranch has been owned by the same family since it was acquired in 1887 by wagon pioneers Arthur McLaughlin and Elizabeth “Lizzie” van Vorst-McLaughlin. For the last twenty years, the McLaughlins have continued to plant up to 6,000 new bulbs a year.

Nature sets the schedule for public viewing. Daffodil Hill opens when 25 percent of the flowers are in bloom and closes when only 25 percent remain. The best time to visit Daffodil Hill is the spring, usually from mid-March through the first two weeks of April. Daffodil Hill is open only at this time of year, after that it goes back to a working ranch. The hill is open Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. However, in some years, inclement weather closes the farm. Admission and parking are free, the only charges may be from local youth groups raising funds in concession stands across the road.  (209) 296-7048 for information.