Since opening 40 years ago, each of the trees at B&J Evergreen has been planted, grown, and harvested on-site. Today, it's two resident arborists who nurture a slew of different tree breeds throughout the seasons. In the nursery, visitors will find more than 1,500 "balled and burlap" trees?whose trunks have been wrapped in burlap, and roots have been carefully nestled into a protective covering?including spruce, white pine, and balsam fir. During the summer months, full lines of landscape-ready trees line the walls. Come Christmas, they supply locals with lush, fragrant trees, including fraser fir, balsam fir, canaan fir, and pine. The folks at B&J encourage their patrons to bring along the whole family to enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, hayrides, popcorn cups of hot cocoa, and a Santa Claus impersonator.
Acres of grass paddocks ripple in the wind around the large indoor and outdoor riding arenas at Wild Oak Farm, where owner Renee Lenkart works to help students to improve their riding abilities and develop a bond with equines. As hooves clop out a staccato rhythm against the sun-soaked red soil, Renee calls upon years of experience crafting lessons for both beginner and advanced students. She has also spent time training and showing hunters and jumpers, and many of her students have gone on to participate in national competitions or yelling matches at grocery stores with no-horse policies.
Lifelong horse enthusiast and renowned equestrian Judy Jensen oversees a seasoned crew at Centre Pointe Stables, a year-round facility that provides training, boarding, and lessons on American Saddlebred horses. Judy and the stable’s instructors make sure lessons progress at each student’s desired pace, never pressuring the student to perform beyond his or her capabilities or adopt the horse as a foster child. Geared toward teaching riders of all ages and abilities new skills, the lessons can be taken year-round thanks to a heated indoor arena complete with a fireplace to warm spectators.
Beberg's Landscape Supply houses a community of seasonal shrubbery and decorative lawn accents. A colorful array of plants such as a gallon of perennials ($7.99–$17.99), a pot of Autumn Joy sedum ($8.99), or a pocket full of hardy fall garden mums ($10.99) can speckle lawns with more practical accents than plying gnomes with gumdrops until they agree to pose in the garden.
Fall is in the air at Minnetonka Orchards, where a corn maze is just the beginning of the autumnal adventures that await kids and families. After navigating the twists and turns of the maze, guests can wander through the apple orchard to pick a fresh juicy globe or marvel at how weird bugs look. Visitors can also shop for jams, apples, and other farm fare at the barn, or go on a leisurely stroll on one of the walking trails. Kids' entertainment comes by way of the climbable hay mountain, the corn crib slide, and barnyard friends including goats, sheep, and bunnies.
Lotus's plant products have all been preferentially purchased from vendors who practice sustainable techniques. Harden your garden with colorful flower four-packs filled with wide-ranging bloomers such as begonias, marigolds, impatiens, petunias, pansies, and more for only $1.99. Or go on a tree spree with nearly 125 varieties of deciduous and evergreen trees, including Honeycrisp apple trees for $69.99 and autumn blaze maple trees starting at $89.99. You can even spawn beautiful roses—those symbolic flowering shrubs so often associated with romance and Burton Gilliam—from your home turf for $29.99. The yield from pots of hearty herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, $3.99) will spice up one's daily diet of boiled gruel and potato ice cream. For something that comes back each spring, unlike icicles and NBC sitcoms, load up on perennial flowers. For $6.99, you can choose from varieties such as Salvia (not the kind that makes you see stuff, the other kind), Rudbeckia, Phlox, and Veronica or, if you prefer, Betty.