In the 1880s, historian and publisher Hubert Howe Bancroft started a 400-acre fruit farm in the Ygnacio Valley that produced walnuts and award-winning Bartlett pears. After being passed down through his family, the farm was rezoned for residential use and sold to developers. The final owner, Philip Bancroft, Jr. Cut down the last walnut orchard in 1971 and gave the remaining three acres of land to his wife Ruth to plant a new garden. Motivated by her lifelong passion for plants, Ruth filled the garden with her large collection of potted succulents and water conserving plants. Through the garden, she discovered how to protect tender plants from winter rains and hard freezes. Her efforts created a dynamic environment with contrasting textures and colors, and Ruth's original succulent, the aeonium 'Glenn Davidson' still grows in the garden, demonstrating the lasting benefits of water conserving plants Today, with the help of a dedicated conservancy, The Ruth Bancroft Garden serves as an example of water conversation with it's range of succulents and 92 varieties of trees including eucalyptus, yucca, aloes, and palm. Visitors can explore the garden's diverse flora through self- and docent-guided tours or attend regular plant sales to take home their own salesman-eating plant. The garden also organizes special events including a fruit-tasting tour and a holiday centerpiece-making workshop.
Visitors gape at a vivid canvas of blossoming flowers and well-kept greenery as they stroll across the Gardens at Heather Farm, a 6.5-acre facility dedicated to ecologically responsible gardening. The grounds encompass more than 20 gardens, including the Cowden Rose Garden, where blossoming roses spring from the earth and cluster around trellises, poles, and arbors in dazzling displays. The Diablo Ascent Garden recreates the experience of ascending nearby slope Mt. Diablo and discovering a creekbed surrounded by a variety of plant colors and textures, while the Butterfly Garden draws in its eponymous insects with nectar-providing perennial and annual blossoms.
In addition to providing natural beauty, the gardens also serve as a living, photosynthesizing classroom for a variety of educational tours and gardening classes. Each flowerbed exemplifies top-notch horticultural practices—such as hydrozoning, where plants are grouped based on their water needs—and the grounds are entirely pesticide-free. Visitors can learn various flower-enriching techniques by enrolling in classes, consulting one of the onsite gardeners, or bribing a bumblebee for insider tips.
The executive chef at Back Forty Texas BBQ Roadhouse and Saloon scripts a menu of authentic Texas recipes that pile plates high with tender meats and down-home sides. As diners stroll into the bright red roadhouse, noses sniff out smoky tendrils emerging from custom Southern Pride cookers where pork ribs, beef brisket, and barbecue chicken turn slowly for 14 hours, much like exceptionally sleepy astronauts.
Today, the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit sign may be a ubiquitous symbol representing good ol’ Texas barbecue, but when Travis Dickey first opened his Dallas shop in 1941, the sign had to share space with advertisements to help pay rent. In the 70 years since then, the Dickeys have done well for themselves, with their initial store spawning a slew of franchises throughout the country. Though the barbecue at each outpost is no longer under the hand of one of Dickey’s descendants, each shop still smokes their own meats in-house to create the signature Texan flavor that infuses their briskets, pulled pork, and fall-off-the-bone ribs.
Meals can come in any size, from the a la carte sandwiches to platters that incorporate a chosen number of meats with a buttery roll, pickle, ice cream, and two homestyle sides. Whether serving up their dishes in the dining room or packing them up for take-away or catering, the staff ensures that each client gets a taste of Texas home cooking without the hassle rubbing every dish on a campfire crock-pot.
The team at Protege Photography Studio believes photography is not about staging moments. Instead, they are committed to capturing subjects at their most candid to produce authentic results. They eschew generic paper backgrounds for their very own Hollywood-style set. Photographers capture everything from family portraits to school plays with equipment such as Canon and Nikon cameras and edit end products with the latest technology, such as Express Digital Darkroom and Apple Aperture.
Since 1993, Sweet Celebrations has helped hosts maximize festivities by carrying decorations and accouterments for any variety of shindig. In-house printing services run off custom invitations, banners, and candy-bar wrappers for birthdays, weddings, and baby's first dentist appointment. Sweet Celebrations' delivery service can bring balloon bouquets or arches directly to a local party venue, eliminating the risk of a party host popping balloons or floating to the moon instead of making it home.