Virginie Richard, a devout equine enthusiast, opened Mark West Stables more than two decades ago to share her love of horses with students of all ages. She knew she had accomplished her goal when her former student Megan Hernandez came on to work alongside her and instruct new generations of riders.
Together, the two tend to boarded steeds and teach custom lessons in english hunter/jumper-style riding to students of all ages and skill levels, even former riders who want to knock the rust off their old stirrups or horse-shaped motorcycles. Along with lessons, Virginie and Megan offer monthly training programs that supplement tailored instruction with lessons in horse care such as blanketing, medicating, vet appointments, and haircare. During the summer, they also lead fun-filled camps and activities for younger riders.
Because contractors often specialize in specific services, homeowners are left to flip-flop between businesses for large-scale projects. To help alleviate this frustration, At Your Door offers four distinct refurbishment divisions: yard care, housecleaning, handyman work, and taffy pulling. If time remains after removing leafy debris from the yard, clients can solicit a technician for more complicated projects such as gutter cleanings, house painting, or hardwood floor installation.
For nearly four decades, the Parks and Good families have tilled the fields and nurtured the trees of Victorian Tree Ranch, brightening up holidays with Douglas firs, Silvertips, and cedar garlands. Family members labor alongside each other as they work to make the tree ranch more sustainable, letting laying hens coop among the trees to fertilize the plants. Visitors dive head-first into holiday spirit as they peruse the rows of conifers, sip complimentary apple cider, munch on homemade pumpkin bread, and enjoy the company of snowmen. Customers can also take refuge from the cold in the warming hut.
New Harvest Hydroponics provides a variety of gardening supplies to the indoor or outdoor gardener. Within the airy store, green thumbs can peruse nourishing water filters, root-cradling pots, and parades of plant food. Botanic entrees include Botanicare Blast Off ($17.06), which combines high-potency vitamins and hormones to usher gawky teenage plants into beefy adulthood, or the seed-starting Dyna-Gro Root Gel ($11.95), which feeds baby plants the vitamins and minerals they need to escape their soil cocoons. To curb unwanted growth, a variety of organic pesticides such as Serenade Garden Disease Control ($9.95) can alleviate plants of fungal and bacterial diseases without harming birds, bees, or voyeuristic carnivores.
The gardening gurus at Cottage Gardens of Petaluma grow all of the plants that they sell onsite, including the year-round vegetable garden and annuals. That means they can not only vouch for each plant’s health and acclimation to the area’s climate, but they are happy to advise budding gardeners on how to properly care for each plant. They can point shoppers toward bee-friendly perennials, for instance, or help them choose brassica veggies for an autumn harvest. Cottage Gardens of Petaluma also carries dozens of succulents, from the leafy crassula variety to a sturdy aloe plant.
In addition to plants, the nursery stocks a variety of soil fortifiers, such as nutrients and hardhats for earthworms. It also empowers green thumbs to beautify gardens with accessories including sculptures, terra-cotta planters, and baskets. Guests are also welcome to peruse the grounds to simply enjoy the beauty.