Lawn Doctor’s custom lawn-maintainer care treatment can transform patchy backyard bushes into lush fence-to-fence soil carpets. First, a free initial evaluation identifies a lawn's grass type and favorite Beach Boy before trained technicians scout out any weeds, insects, or diseases that may be threatening its blades. Then, Lawn Doctor’s Turf Tamer equipment sprinkles greenswards with granular or liquid fertilizer and weed killers to fatten foliage and deter garden-gnome ninjas from slicing down stalks with sharpened trowel nunchucks. Lavished with Lawn Doctor’s care, grass grows into a lush and thick backyard jungle where bare-toe Tarzans can easily frolic.
At the Gourmet Food Truck and Bocce Ball Festival, guests can belly up to 10 gourmet food trucks and sample toothsome fare in between stomping musical performances and competitive games of bocce ball duked out on 12 professional-grade courts. 30 minutes of court rental is covered with admission (teams can sign up at the festival), and 24 teams of four have the option to compete in the single-elimination tournament, vying for the $500 prize and the chance for a photo op with the nation's oldest bocce ball. Each team must pay a fee of $125 for entry into the tournament and the VIP lounge. Elsewhere at the jubilee, the grounds of Limoneira Ranch are speckled with meals on wheels, including sushi truck Temaki and Lickety Split's, a converted yellow school bus that vends frozen yogurt, iced coffee, and chocolate-coated detention slips. Although this Groupon does not cover food or drinks, festival-goers can purchase succulent, Texas–style smoked tri-tip from the It's In the Sauce BBQ food truck or wash back a frozen pomegranate lemonade from Del's.
Under the direction of area farmer Bob McKellar, Family Farm Fresh's conglomeration of local farmers unites to dole out their fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs via a system of community-supported agriculture. This program links consumers to local farmers instead of farmers who till soil and sing lullabies to their rutabagas up to 1,500 miles away from their point of consumption. Most of Family Farm Fresh's produce travels only about 20 miles, making toxic preservatives unnecessary and channeling customers' funds back into their own community.
The flavorful cornucopias, available in one of four sizes, are deposited directly on doorsteps once a week brimming with the customer's selection of seasonal bounty. Basic baskets come with carrots, potatoes, and other traditional fruits and veggies, whereas standard baskets encompass a similar selection of the aforementioned edibles with the occasional unique item, such as daikon radishes. Patrons can also opt for fruit- or veggie-only baskets and can permanently nix items that don't suit their tastes or the color scheme of their dinner china. Other grocery items, such as range-raised eggs and local honey, are also available to augment natural smorgasbords.
A massive saguaro cactus towers over the entrance garden to California Cactus Center, shadowing a stone pathway surrounded by potted bromeliads with its sky-scraping height. The nursery deals exclusively in desert plants from around the world, stocking dozens of cacti species and other succulents and drought-happy botanical specimens. Inside the center, trays of tender succulents spread out over long tables as dangling strings of decorative rocks and glass sway gently above them. Dusted tones of lavender, sage, and scarlet-edged olive grace each leaf, and tillandsias—air plants that require no soil to live—sway gently within glass domes. Metal gates emblazoned with cacti lead to a section of clay and ceramic pottery, as well as decorations including brassy crescent moons and smiling suns. Outside, lily pads float in a peaceful pond as barrel cacti stretch their knobby heads from between agave plants, prickly pears, and prolific palm fronds. The nursery’s staff can guide patrons in any of their botanical pursuits, whether choosing the proper plants for their yard, maintaining their landscapes, or figuring out whether or not their saguaro actually likes wearing its sombrero.
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).
Nestled amidst the Arroyo Seco and San Gabriel mountains, San Pascual Stables enchants visitors with natural beauty and an enthusiastic crew of trainers continuing a 34-year tradition of equine education. During an expertly guided horsemanship class, trainees learn the basics under the wing of a trainer well versed in hunter and jumper riding. After a series of three lessons, clients are likely to feel more at home on horseback, and can swiftly opt into future lessons, in which they can learn how to further care for their creature and how to properly parallel park it in front of a crowded saloon.