Best Nursery

You can buy your soil, plants and fruit trees at Lowe's, Home Depot or Armstrong Nursery and feel pretty much the same walking out as you did walking in. Tree of Life is more of a plant buying (and admiring) experience. First, you have to get to the place, inland from the 5 freeway off Ortega Highway. Surrounded by nature instead of mega-malled in, you are free to leisurely walk across the 30-year-old nursery's more than 40 sprawling acres. It's billed as the largest native plant supplier in California, supplying more than 500 species and varieties for landscaping and ecological restoration at the wholesale level; the general public can buy from the Casa la Paz Plant & Book Store. It's the type of place where you can go it alone or enlist the help of a friendly staffer who can tell you which plants attract butterflies or humming birds or produce high vegetable yields.

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