For more than 35 years, Cactus & Tropicals has livened up sparse plots and reinvigorated depressed patios with a vast, verdant variety of cacti, flowers, and gardening gear. Focusing as much on sprouting seeds as fostering field creativity, the lush storefront boasts an elaborate display area showcasing high-end floral fashions. Winding catwalks guide buyers through crowds of leafy house plants ($3.95+), annuals ($1.79+), and a colorful gathering of orchids culled from around the globe ($16+). Growers with a history of prickly relationships with plants can learn how to care for a cacti garden ($1.95+ each), get paired up with an easy-to-please perennial ($4.29+), or adopt a well-behaved bonsai guaranteed to sit still during fussy grooming sessions.
Silver Star Hardware’s friendly staff skillfully proffers advice for home improvement while helping to outfit and accessorize homes with an eclectic, frequently updated array of functional and decorative accents. Troves of hardware promise to grease the wheels of domestic efficiency, from a menagerie of elephant hooks ($9) and butterfly hinges ($6.50/pair) to toggle and outlet-flattering switch plates ($21.50–$27.50) and twig-shaped toilet-paper holders ($49.50). Fulfill metal urges with a spangling of cast-iron star knobs ($4.50) or copper house numbers ($11.75 each) that ambidextrously emblazon either addresses or pi, or pin households’ hearts on their façades with vivid peace-dove banners ($12). Once residential shopping lists are dispatched, customers can browse the gift shop or treat their own soul habitats to a cup of steaming java at the on-site coffee bar.
Trifecta Design's florists construct elaborate arrangements with blossoms sourced from around the world, earning Best Flower Shop accolades from City Weekly in 2010. Owners Pamela Ostermiller and Lindsay Vieta-Vest draw on their love of fashion, architecture, music, and visual art to stylishly arrange colorful seasonal blooms such as orchids, lemongrass, kiwi, and roses. Finished bouquets reside inside tinted glass cubes and handcrafted wooden boxes chosen to highlight their inventive compositions. The creative establishment also compiles edible gift boxes, which entice gourmands with artisanal breads and cheeses, smoked meats, and local chocolates nestled amid textured wrappings.
Forsey's Furniture Galleries gussies up living quarters, stocking its two stores with furniture, art, and home accessories from high-end designers such as Stickley, Copeland, Dale Tiffany, and Global Views. A Fred and Ginger sculpture ($105) pays tribute to the human form with an abstract rendering of two dancers in midtwirl, and the Aarhus box ($147) stylishly protects documents and jewelry from dust, light damage, and thieves who don't know how to open boxes. Customers can cast a multichromatic glow over living spaces with lamps from Dale Tiffany ($197), each channeling the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright with geometric patterns forged from richly hued stained glass.
Shafts of sunlight pierce Tracy Aviary’s dense conifer forest, sending great grey owls into hiding until nightfall, when they emerge to hunt silently above the treetops. The Owl Forest is just one of five diverse ecosystems that dot the aviary’s eight acres. Nearby, at the South American Pavilion, aviary keepers tend to keel-billed toucans as their colorful beaks break through the cereal boxes in which they incubate. And on the Kennecott Wetland, visitors can espy long-billed curlews and American coots roosting in the tall grass.
In addition to providing a diverse habitat in which native and endangered species can thrive, Tracy Aviary’s curators strive to educate visitors about threats to avian species and to encourage stewardship. To that end, the aviary frequently hosts bird encounters, small group talks with avian keepers, and even the opportunity to feed various species.
A 3.5-acre horticultural haven, Millcreek Gardens gives bloom-seekers a means to realize dreams of colorful, lush outdoor spaces by presenting a wide array of shrubs, trees, and assorted flowerpot inhabitants. Stroll amid verdant rows of plant life, perusing prettified foliage ranging from the serene cerulean hues of a delphinium to the cheerful, bubbly blooms of a hydrangea. Accent a lovely lawn with a classic apple tree ($40+), make the bed for a plot of fragrant flowers ($2–$20), or cover up barren yards with a symphony of shrubbery ($6.50–$50). The one-stop shop also stocks organic plant foods, soil amendments, and fertilizers for keeping growing greenery as strong as a box of oxen.