Best Nursery

Larger-than-life sculptures are strategically placed among the nursery’s inventory, lining the 405 freeway from Sand Canyon to Jeffrey Road and entertaining bored northbound commuters. A gape-mouthed T-rex and a brontosaurus grazing the treetops started it all, then every week a new surprise: a giraffe joined the munching brontosaurus and a dolphin leaping over a hedge. Moon Valley grows and guarantees all its trees, and the bigger boxed ones they plant for free. Founded 30 years ago by Les Blake in Moon Valley, a Phoenix neighborhood, with the then-radical notion of “You buy it, we plant it,” the nursery hasn’t stopped growing. Or marketing. While airplanes flying ad banners over the beach are a little much, the freeway menagerie makes up for it, big time.

6500 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, (949) 769-2449; also at 21251 Bushard St., Huntington Beach, (714) 908-4821;

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