The green-thumbed technicians at Gardens by Marsetti cultivate lush, thick lawns with aeration and fertilization services. Clients consult with lawn specialists to describe their yard-related goals, such as achieving grass that's as comfortable to bare feet as socks made of wookie fur. Technicians thoroughly aerate grassy areas, removing plugs of soil to allow oxygen, water, and nutrients to enter the ground and nourish roots. After aerating lawns, technicians determine how much fertilizer is appropriate to foster grass health before feeding eager turf.
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.
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.
For nearly four decades, the Parks and Good families have tilled the fields and nurtured the trees of Victorian Tree Ranch, brightening up holidays with Douglas firs, Silvertips, and cedar garlands. Family members labor alongside each other as they work to make the tree ranch more sustainable, letting laying hens coop among the trees to fertilize the plants. Visitors dive head-first into holiday spirit as they peruse the rows of conifers, sip complimentary apple cider, munch on homemade pumpkin bread, and enjoy the company of snowmen. Customers can also take refuge from the cold in the warming hut.
Virginie Richard, a devout equine enthusiast, opened Mark West Stables more than two decades ago to share her love of horses with students of all ages. She knew she had accomplished her goal when her former student Megan Hernandez came on to work alongside her and instruct new generations of riders.
Together, the two tend to boarded steeds and teach custom lessons in english hunter/jumper-style riding to students of all ages and skill levels, even former riders who want to knock the rust off their old stirrups or horse-shaped motorcycles. Along with lessons, Virginie and Megan offer monthly training programs that supplement tailored instruction with lessons in horse care such as blanketing, medicating, vet appointments, and haircare. During the summer, they also lead fun-filled camps and activities for younger riders.