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).
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Housed in a cozy 1920s home, Dragonfly Shops & Gardens stocks an eclectic variety of works created by local artisans and hosts DIY classes for all ages. In the beading basics class ($30 plus materials, which start at $2), beaders band together for two hours on Tuesday mornings to complete projects ranging from earrings and necklaces to bracelets and ultra-feminine beer helmets. A beginner's mosaic tiling class ($55 plus $20 for materials) teaches creatives of all levels of skill and glee in smashing tiles to compose one-of-a-kind picture frames, trays, and stepping stones. Or delve into the dirt with a class on growing edible flowers and greens ($10 plus $5 for materials). Attendees can sip fresh coffee or cool lemonade.
Alan's Lawnmower & Garden Center has supplied local landscapers and homeowners with gardening tools and power equipment for more than 39 years. The shop brims with lawn-mower parts, weed whackers, shovels, and gnome traps from brands such as Billy Goat, Kohler, Honda, and Kawasaki. The onsite repair shop oozes experience with technicians who are able to tune up or repair power tools in about three days or less. They also offer financing programs for customers who need higher-end equipment to tackle trickier jobs or to chop down backyard money trees.
Mina Asadirad's floral arrangements might just rival nature in their beauty. They have graced the stages of fashion shows, helped her win the People's Choice Award at the California State Floral Association, and inspired students in local college classes.
At her shop, Mina Flower Design, Asadirad teaches blossoming floral artists the tricks she's learned in her 25 years of experience during floral-design classes for all skill levels. She also sells wholesale sunflowers, calla lilies, and vibrant organic orchids, and puts together arrangements for weddings and literal reenactments of the Wars of the Roses.