The landscape architects and gardeners at Kingston Nurseries have a passion for creating crisp outdoor designs. Randall Wieting––one of the nursery's principal horticulturists––boasts more than 30 years of experience in the designing and building of landscapes, and works to meld mass, scale, color, line, shape, contrast, rhythm, and texture into each unique outdoor space. The garden center provides helpful advice for home gardeners looking to stock up on greenery or inquire about the latest new plant species available for purchase. Still, staff members can't help but exercise their design muscles daily, so they also invite customers to bring in their home containers, then draft seasonal green displays to suit any budget or occasion.
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).
Implementing four generations of Italian winemaking techniques, Altamont Vineyard cultivates more than 20 kinds of grapes, carefully blending each variety to compose a small selection of handcrafted wines. Rolling green hills flanked by the Helderberg Mountains invite vineyard visitors to feast eyes on scenic vistas as they partake of scrupulously fashioned vintages.
There’s a fire in the field and only one way out. Unfortunately, that way is twisted and riddled with dead-ends. But at the end, past 5 acres of carved paths and corn-themed puzzles, past thousands of stalks of corn swaying in the wind, past delirious visions of poker-playing scarecrows, is a fire hose. Such is the theme of Ellms Family Farm’s interactive Hero Rush Amazing Maize maze, an obstacle that carries on pastoral autumn traditions with roughly 90 minutes of music and fun. Yet this maze is just one way that the Ellms family celebrates the changing season—it also serves up crispy apple-cider donuts, lobs wee ones into the air on the farm-favorite Jumping Pillow, and treats guests to a number of other themed activities it has developed over the years.
The farm’s history stretches back to 1984, when Chip and Sally Ellms planted their first batch of Christmas trees and began inviting visitors to stop by and admire the easy wind and downy flakes of winter. As the family grew, the farm kept pace, expanding to cover more than 200 acres and incorporate activities that help guests celebrate autumn as well. Throughout the harvest season, guests flock to the fields to play conductor or coal shoveler on the MooMooChooChoo train or pick out fresh pumpkins in the patch.