Sometimes, a greener world is hard to visualize. For the technicians at Green Thumb Lawn Care, though, it’s as easy as the click of a shutter. Before each project, the lawn-care professionals snap photos of the homeowner’s property and create 3-D images of what the yard would look like after their landscapers finish the job. They also help beautify and maintain customers' current views by trimming hedges, mowing grass, fertilizing lawns, and installing new stone walkways over backyard lava pits.
The Gidas family has owned and operated its flower shop for more than 90 years and four generations. It's safe to say they know flowers: how to arrange them, how to keep them fresh, which blossoms are best for a given occasion, and the specific bud that contains a long-suffering fairy with no magical abilities of which to speak. The shop provides daily arrangements and deliveries to Pittsburgh and its surrounding suburbs. For $40, buy a loved one a glass bowl of multi-colored roses, a spray of pink, yellow, and peach blooms that symbolize gratitude, friendship, and affection. For $45, get a zen arrangement of purple dendrobium orchids sure to calm even the most throb-veined of screaming military generals. A variety of fruit baskets are also available ($35–$100), supplying customers so many bananas, chocolates, and tea-cakes that the intended recipient will forego celebrating his or her birthday to sit in a dark closet and relentlessly snack.
Hamilton’s team of floral artists livens up holidays and special occasions with a horticultural array of bouquets, sprucing up harvest time or making tables merry and bright with festive flower and plant arrangements. The boxwood centerpiece mini Christmas tree comes festooned with pinecones and ornaments and sits at a dainty 2 feet tall to add a Yuletide splash of holiday cheer without the mess of hosting an eggnog super-soaker fight. Customers should order their holiday shrub at least three days in advance.
Constructed on the site of an abandoned gas station, The Urban Gardener flourishes year-round with inflorescence and an expansive selection items for gardens, porches, and patios. A sprawling oasis of annuals ($17/flat, $4–$8 for small pots), bamboo (starting at $30), shrubs (starting at $10), trees (starting at $50), and more than 300 types of perennials ($3–$30) cascade throughout the shop, providing the ideal environment for garden cultivation and ghillie-suit testing.
Affordable Lawncare's staff members take a two-pronged approach to landscaping. They improve surface appearance by mowing grass, removing weeds, and tending to trees and shrubs, and they also initiate change from underground. For example, they aerate soil to promote hearty root growth and plant seasonal foliage such as rye, fescue, and blue grasses. Fertilization treatments encourage the birth of lush greenery and adorable baby earthworms.
The traditional farmers' market at Trax Farms, owned and operated by the Trax family since 1865, teems with an eclectic array of produce grown onsite, freshly baked goods, deli fare, and gifts amid 325 acres of fields and orchards. The owners eschew imported produce for farm-grown, seasonal vegetables and fruits, and furnish their shelves with local and international specialty foodstuffs, Sarris and Wagner’s chocolates, and the farm’s own brand of flavored coffee. The aroma of freshly baked seasonal pies, homemade breads, and made-from-scratch cookies tantalizes noses as the deli rolls out soups, salads, and sandwiches assembled from premium meats and cheeses. In addition to a selection of quilts, clothing, and jewelry, the shop boasts wines, including award-winning Arrowhead Wine Cellar varietals. Furthering its homey, community-centered approach, the farm hosts flea markets, festivals, and special events, such as its autumnal hayride, which entices young visitors and scarecrows with thinning scalps.