The staff members at Salmon Creek Nursery know plants. Much of the vast inventory of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees are grown onsite at the 45-year-old family-owned nursery, allowing the staff to make sure each plant is healthy from the time it sprouts to the day it's adopted into a new garden. When not tending to the needs of trees, on-staff landscapers are ready and waiting to help customers to create their own inspiring outdoor spaces, filling up backyards or spare bathtubs with all manner of flora. Walking through the lush, meticulously tended nursery feels like strolling through a park. A footbridge carries visitors past a diminutive waterfall, and Japanese maples and fruit trees admire their reflections and elegant limbs in a wide, still pond. The view is decidedly more rustic inside the garden center, where lanterns, baskets, and wooden chairs hang suspended from tree trunks that reach toward the roof, and vintage wheelbarrows teem with everything from plants and potting soil to garden stones etched with inspirational messages.
Clasped between Saguaro National Park and the Ironwood Preserve, Double R Ranch appears as though it were plucked straight from the frames of an old Western movie. The windswept grounds stand as a gateway to the thousands of untouched acres that quietly stitch together the Northwest side of Tucson. The ranch gives visitors a chance to explore that land with horseback rides and birthday parties. It also offers weekend getaways and RV hookups to city-dwellers in need of an escape from the crowds and door-to-door minivan salesmen that come with urban living. Double R also accommodates guests who have their own horses with overnight stabling services.
Since 1903, Davis Florist & Greenhouse’s family of flora artists have crafted delicately designed bouquets and arrangements from fresh and blossoming flowers. A bounty of orange roses, hot pink and red carnations, and matsumoto asters overflow from a clear glass vase in the How Sweet It Is bouquet ($34.95+); a dozen red roses peak from an elongated glass house ($54.95) to help couples celebrate anniversaries with more grace and romanticism than a Gone with the Wind audio book narrated by Leonard Nimoy. Birthday festivities commence with the Fly Away Birthday Bouquet, which teems with a symphonic septet in the rainbow’s favorite colors ($52.95+). Reams of classic chicness populate the Simply Elegant spathiphyllum, which placates a warmongering wicker pot with a white peace lily emerging from dark leafy greens ($42.95).
Stretching across five acres of farmland, this year’s Country Way Corn Maze layout is skulled and crossboned with a pirate theme and treats labyrinth lovers to fascinating trivia about notable piracy practitioners. Adding puzzles within puzzles to the curving corridors of cob are the rubbing stations that families must use to decode the maze’s secret word. Since the maze’s route can be as convoluted and nonsensical as the plots of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, numerous Maize-o-Vision stations give the hopelessly shipwrecked a crow's nest from which they can seek a path back to dry land. A separate mini-maze leads the youngest visitors to stations that teach about farm animals instead.
As the morning begins, a row of toddlers takes turns tumbling feet over head while their parents guide them into the correct movement. Later, school-age kids sit in a circle, legs stretched before them as they try to touch their toes. The trained staff of My Gym Children's Fitness Center imbue kids with life skills through music, physical activities, and games. Many classes incorporate physical exercises with social and developmental skills, while summer camps are also available seasonally. All classes take place in a well-padded room, led by staff trained in child development and fluent in Muppet.