With a verdant variety of shrubs, trees, roses, and vines, the friendly plantologists will help you wade through the veritable ocean of foliage. Beginning green-thumbers can take advantage of a jumbo planting kit, including ample plant food, vitamin B1, and planting compost—everything a person needs to lure an unsuspecting plant into captivity ($15.97 for the regular kit; $29.97 for the jumbo kit). Advanced yard-enhancements abound in the form of trees and shrubs, such as a selection of 5-gallon citrus trees, good for accenting a living space and forming a focal point for the worship of the Lemon Pledge gods ($34.99). Armstrong can also help organic gardeners reach full-flavored nirvana with a bevy of 3-inch plant varieties ($2.99; selections vary by season and location).
Landscape designer Tom Stout—featured on HGTV's Outer Spaces and Get Out, Way Out!—helps home landscapes spring to life through sustainable and eco-friendly methods. Tom will offer ideas to spruce up outdoor spaces during a 90-minute landscaping consultation, in which he looks for ways to capture each client's lifestyle and personality while integrating their collection of spitting-cherub fountains. After touring the grounds, Tom will discuss how to put yard, garden, pergola, and water-feature plans into action using bioswales and water-retention devices, as well as climate appropriate and drought resistant plant material. Click here to sift through a gallery of Tom's past projects, ranging from outdoor grilling areas to well-manicured replicas of the Garden of Eden.
A working cattle ranch set on more than 350 acres of hilly terrain, Heaven's Ranch invites visitors to enjoy such equine entertainment as lessons and scenic rides through a vast network of trails. An experienced staff oversees operation of the facilities, including two large round pens and two outdoor training arenas. The 100'x100' and 100'x180' arenas give beginning and intermediate students plenty of space to learn at their own pace during lessons. Riding instructors Annee and Laura guide their classes through challenges, which aim to foster confidence and comfort. Instruction is tailored to riders' individual goals, whether they want to take a casual weekend ride or find a dramatic way to escort their date to prom.
In 1927, rancher and conservationist Bixby Bryan set aside 200 acres of her family's ranch to showcase California plants sprouting from their native terrain. Eighty years later, wild lilacs and manzanitas thrive on Indian Hill Mesa, and the fertile land's northern 55 acres nourish spring-blooming flannel bushes and joshua trees. The garden strives to showcase native cultures as well, collaborating with members of the Tongva tribe to construct Tongva village. Skilled horticulturists empower visitors to use native plants in their own home gardens and get-rich-quick beanstalk schemes, with informative displays and frequent community education programs.
Located at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Grow Native Nursery helps to educate tender-footed gardeners and green thumbs alike. In addition to overseeing a huge selection of plants, the nursery’s resident experts lead clinics on the first Saturday of each month, answering questions about gardening, landscaping, and how to house-break a baby flower. The surrounding garden has provided greenery to the public for more than 30 years, emphasizing the importance of native botanicals, such as San Diego ambrosia, California lilacs, and prickly pears.
Trainer Bobby Howard brings more than 40 years of experience to Foxcroft Farm, including 14 he spent as a professional jockey competing in races such as the Kentucky Derby. He distributes this equine knowledge during private and group lessons, as well as hunter- and jumper-training programs.
Though Bobby and the other Foxcroft Farm instructors teach students of all ages, they specialize in teaching young riders. Unique opportunities for kids include seasonal camps, where they can learn everything from grooming to reasons why horses simply aren't a viable replacement for the family minivan.