The gardening gurus at Cottage Gardens of Petaluma grow all of the plants that they sell onsite, including the year-round vegetable garden and annuals. That means they can not only vouch for each plant’s health and acclimation to the area’s climate, but they are happy to advise budding gardeners on how to properly care for each plant. They can point shoppers toward bee-friendly perennials, for instance, or help them choose brassica veggies for an autumn harvest. Cottage Gardens of Petaluma also carries dozens of succulents, from the leafy crassula variety to a sturdy aloe plant.
In addition to plants, the nursery stocks a variety of soil fortifiers, such as nutrients and hardhats for earthworms. It also empowers green thumbs to beautify gardens with accessories including sculptures, terra-cotta planters, and baskets. Guests are also welcome to peruse the grounds to simply enjoy the beauty.
A smorgasbord of handcrafted ingenuity, Haus Fortuna provides an eclectic assortment of inimitable products from local and international artisans. Strap on a dual-pocketed cargo apron, constructed from yam-dried herringbone twill ($33.99), before arming hygienic hands with one of Cucina's multifragranced cleaning products ($11.99–$44.99), perfect for degunking kitchen counters, dishes, and food-strewn pets.
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).
Unlike productivity-driven bosses and staunch proponents of gravity, Airward encourages people to keep their heads in the clouds, offering flying lessons, scenic tours, and aircraft rentals. Within the cockpits of Cessna and Piper aircrafts, its pilots fly passengers on custom tours of the Bay Area and help novices grip the yoke for the first time during introductory flight lessons. Subsequent lessons—typically over three to six months—turn students into licensed pilots, at which point they can fire up the propellers on Airward's seven rental planes. Lifting off from Novato, these aircraft can take short trips to nearby Tahoe or two-day journeys across state lines. Back on the ground, the staffers in Airward's equipment shop stock thousands of items for airplane repair, maintenance, and upgrades, including oil filters, microphones, and FAA aeronautical charts.
A fire swept through the Mayacamas Mountains foothills in 1964, creating an environment ripe for the knobcone pines that quickly repopulated the land. Four years later, Jane Davenport Jansen purchased more than 40 acres of the nascent thicket, taming it with vineyards planted on the open valley floor. In 1987, she began cultivating a garden along the rocky, steep hillsides, which were pocked with the remains of abandoned rock quarries. Heavy rains and natural infiltration of waters created a group of ponds, creating a serene natural environment that Jansen soon planted with seedlings, flowers, and plants from seeds collected on more than 25 annual Asian expeditions. Until she passed away in 2000, Jansen funded the growth and cultivation of the 25-acre garden, which is now one of the largest collections of scientifically documented, wild-source Asian plants on the continent. Visitors can view the rare plants and vast selection of Asian greenery blossoming from the Glen Ellen countryside as they meander through the gardens during self-led tours.