With summer on its last legs, now is the ideal time to throw open the windows and get home-care projects underway. Pick up some spray paint for $3.49 or a utility knife for $4.99. Illuminate your bathroom with a 4-pack of Ace light bulbs ($1.79), the better to see by as you caulk ($2.29) your sink. If you need to match paint to a favorite coverlet or choose a hue that complements a pleather recliner, each store offers a paint-matching service free of charge. Get keys made, or clean a barnacle-encrusted carpet with the help of a carpet-cleaning machine (rental prices vary). If you need help finding anything, Ace's knowledgeable staff is available to help get you in and out and on to your next project.
Growing up, C.V. Hunt spent more time around Christmas trees than the typical kid; during the summers, he'd make extra money helping out on Christmas tree farms, including one owned by his uncle. In 1980, he decided to open his own farm, naming it Hunt Tree Company. On 500 acres, he grows fraser firs, douglas firs, and other evergreens, some of which stand up to 12 feet tall.
If geneticist and horticulturalist Gregor Mendel were still alive today, he would marvel at Rivergate Garden Center. Owner Jonathan Buck fills the nursery with plants from breeders such as the aptly named Proven Winners and the Conard-Pyle Co., which has been developing hybrid roses since 1897. From spring through the moment when the world's executive producers decide it's winter, the center is rampant with blossoming roses, lipstick-red weigela, and violet butterfly bushes engineered to expend energy continuously in colorful abandon. These plants also require less maintenance, as their stems resist frost and mildew and quit growing once they have reached a manageable, predetermined size.
Though the staff at Honeysuckle Hill Farm cultivates livestock and crops of seasonal produce, its other chief resource is outdoor adventure. Through their seasonal tours, farm staffers teach adults and children about farm operations, the basics of agriculture, and which fabrics scarecrows find itchy. They also give visitors a chance to work their way through labyrinthine corn mazes. At birthday parties, younger visitors can pet the resident animals, pan for gemstones at an artificial stream, and race each other in pedal-powered carts. Away from the fields, Association for Challenge Course Technology–certified guides and their guests soar down a one-mile zipline course designed and built to ACCT standards. The guides lead tours through the course’s three elevated towers, three canopy-level bridges stretched across Battle Creek, and eight ziplines, which they maintain daily to chase away loitering vigilantes. Along the way, guides showcase their knowledge of the creek’s history while pointing out local flora and fauna.
Even if you've never been to Gardens of Babylon, you've probably seen some of their work?their landscape and design team was commissioned for projects at high-profile locations including Vanderbilt University and the Bicentennial Mall. It's no surprise then that the company also has a formidable garden center, an 18,000 square-foot space where people can use Inspiration Stations and consult with staff at demo areas to glean ideas for their own landscaping projects. The entire inventory is devoted to sustainable landscaping, and includes only all-natural, non-toxic, organic, and non-GMO supplies, as well as eco-conscious elements such as rain barrels.
In 1932, Bessie Bates had such confidence in her business idea that she built a hothouse during the height of the Great Depression. Today, the nursery flourishes across 15 acres of space, where the family staff guides shoppers to annuals, perennials, pots, and gardening supplies. They might also introduce green-thumbed customers to rhododendrons, climbing roses, flowering quince, or concealer that makes their thumbs look more flesh-toned. The stock also includes garden accessories, such as fiber-clay pottery and fountains.