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).
Landscape designer Tom Stout—featured on HGTV's Outer Spaces and Get Out, Way Out!—helps home landscapes spring to life through sustainable and eco-friendly methods. Tom will offer ideas to spruce up outdoor spaces during a 90-minute landscaping consultation, in which he looks for ways to capture each client's lifestyle and personality while integrating their collection of spitting-cherub fountains. After touring the grounds, Tom will discuss how to put yard, garden, pergola, and water-feature plans into action using bioswales and water-retention devices, as well as climate appropriate and drought resistant plant material. Click here to sift through a gallery of Tom's past projects, ranging from outdoor grilling areas to well-manicured replicas of the Garden of Eden.
Big Wave Dave's Pumpkin Patch outfits front stoops in fall finery with a showcase of locally grown, organic pumpkins, while regaling tots with a bevvy of free games and prizes. Customers peruse the orange orbs beneath an all-weather tent that repels rain and migrating autumn leaves, selecting future jack-o'-lanterns from the patch's assortment of $10, basketball-size gourds. The outdoor pumpkin emporium equips novice etchers with a variety of carving kits, candles, and stencils to surgically enhance unexpressive spheres with flickering grins. Kids can compete for prizes in a series of autumnal games, or vault over invisible hurdles in the Santa Barbara location's complimentary bounce house.
For more than 50 years, Green Meadow Nursery and Hardware has been cultivating greener gardens around the Santa Rosa Valley with 15-acres of homegrown, healthy, vibrant plants. Choose a 5-gallon bower vine to wind around fences or accessorize a fashion-conscious boa constrictor ($24.99). A 5-gallon maori queen brings a touch of regality to provincial plots ($29.99), and a 1-gallon ornamental carex testacea adds color and texture to lackluster lawns ($6.99). After shopping, customers can relax under an umbrella-shaded table by the gazebo amid statues and exotic plants or rush home with their nursery newbies to win the admiration of nosy neighbors and the block's most handsome horticulturalist.
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.
The talented floral designers at Island View Nursery craft exquisite displays of foliage from a landscaping reservoir of nearly 10 acres. Arrangements meld together colorful flowers and lush plants in containers to give as gifts or to act as natural band-aids for wallpaper eyesores ($12.50+). Succulents ($3.25/4" pot), bromeliads ($8.50/4" pot), tillandsias ($3.50+), and orchids ($15+/4"–6" pot) supply photogenic photosynthesis, and interior plants such as palms, dracaena, and ficus give kids new places to build Lego treehouses ($2.75+/4" pot). An assortment of terra-cotta ($.59+) and ceramic pots ($5.50+) warmly coddles exterior plants such as bamboo, grasses, and trees ($2.99+/4" pot).