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.
Every October, three acres of the McClellands’ cow-haunted pastures pop to life with plump pumpkins in orange, white, and green. Along with the briskly changing foliage, this autumnal bounty heralds a transformation at the dairy. The farm begins to host tours every weekend, granting guests a chance to pet the nursery’s stumbling calves and milk a cow by hand. The family also sets up a winding Hay Maze to confound any bull-man hybrids that wander by. Other activities at the pumpkin patch include a sand box full of the seeds that are used to grow cow feed, a haunted hay trail, and hay rides. After the flurry of fall activity, kids can clamber into a bouncy-house as their parents share some gossip and politely refuse a chew of cud with “the girls,” as Jana McClelland calls her bovine family members.
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).