Puddingstone's panoramic views provide eyefuls of the San Gabriel Valley's rocky ranges from every perspective, whether it's the mountains' natural grandeur or their reflection off the placid waves of the resort's namesake lake. While its picturesque plateaus set breathtaking scenes for weddings and other special events, the resort's 20 semiprivate hot tubs are its premier attraction. Nestled within its own cabana—complete with a private changing room, CD player, and controls for water temperature and light—each of the open-air hot tubs instantly conjures romance and relaxation. As candles flicker and sparkling cider chills on the surrounding deck, bathers take in beautiful views of the sun setting over Puddingstone Lake and the valley below. Hot-tubbers may bring a cooler and basket of snacks to enhance the evening, so long as containers aren’t made of glass and patrons wait at least 30 minutes before swimming laps.
With a verdant variety of shrubs, trees, roses, and vines, the friendly plantologists will help you wade through the veritable ocean of foliage. Beginning green-thumbers can take advantage of a jumbo planting kit, including ample plant food, vitamin B1, and planting compost—everything a person needs to lure an unsuspecting plant into captivity ($15.97 for the regular kit; $29.97 for the jumbo kit). Advanced yard-enhancements abound in the form of trees and shrubs, such as a selection of 5-gallon citrus trees, good for accenting a living space and forming a focal point for the worship of the Lemon Pledge gods ($34.99). Armstrong can also help organic gardeners reach full-flavored nirvana with a bevy of 3-inch plant varieties ($2.99; selections vary by season and location).
After a course at Village Kitchen, accomplished chefs will inch closer to pro status, while those who've chopped more fingers than potatoes will have their clumsiness exorcised thanks to patient instruction from Village's enlightened gurus of all things edible. Classes are held every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (the classes are also offered one Wednesday a month at 6 p.m.), while the theme varies from week to week. On April 10, learn to master the pressure cooker to easily turn out incredible delights like coq au vin with button mushrooms, or discover the joys of the spring harvest on April 24 with a complete tutorial in a four-course seasonal feast with salmon medallions, baked gnocchi, and cherry-chocolate gelato. On May 8, harness the subtle power of Indian spices to create tandoori shrimp, curried salmon with cinnamon rice and golden raisins, and warm rice pudding; or craft the perfect wine appetizers (you'll make five), like scallop ceviche with melon and red-onion asparagus quesadillas, on May 22. You'll eat everything you make and get a beverage, so no one escapes hungry. Classes are limited to 18 people, so when you find the apple class of your human eye, call to schedule before it fills up.
Plants, mankind’s greatest enemy, are finally on the ropes thanks to global warming. Teach your children how to hunt the last of these enormous nitrogen junkies by observing them in captivity with today's Groupon. For $30, you'll get a yearlong family membership to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (a $60 value). Founded in 1927, the garden is now the largest living museum exhibit of California’s native plants.
A family membership to the garden provides two adult membership cards, free admission for children of the household, a quarterly newsletter, a 10% discount in the Garden Shop, discounts on classes, early admission to plant sales, late release from plant variety shows, a one-year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and more. Open year-round, the garden offers a rotating cast of floral stars depending on the season. The winter collection, ending in early March, features manzanitas, while spring will offer a colorful bouquet of spring wildflowers, perennials, and shrubs. During the summer and fall, the garden will parade an array of native fruits and seeds—in the winter, the garden will ice parade them.
Rancho Santa Ana supplements its seasonal offerings with a busy calendar of events that are educational and inspirational. On March 19, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Rancho Santa Ana will sell a variety of California native wildflowers that can turn any home garden into a home garden with California native wildflowers. From April 2-4, browse a special selection of Pacific Coast hybrid irises and coral bells. On May 7, come for National Public Gardens Day, or on May 23, observe Mafia Day by bringing the corpse of your favorite stoolie to fertilize the wild lilacs.
This Groupon is not available for current members of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
The Los Angeles Times has featured Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, saying:
- Prepare for romance. There is nothing that quite compares with the first stroll through Rancho. – Emily Green
Nine Yelpers give the garden a 4.5-star average, and three Insider Pagers give it five:
- I love this garden! This is the best place to see California native plants in a garden setting. There is a wonderful wildflower garden in the spring, and the entrance goes through a lovely desert garden. – Naomi F., Insider Pages
- Enjoy a stroll through this beautiful botanic garden dedicated to California's native plants. 86 acres of paths taking you on a journey into nature. – Ann F., Insider Pages