In 1905, Kuniyoshi Uchida and a friend arrived in San Francisco from Japan to work on the railroads. Cut to two generations, many offspring and much diligent gardening and nursery work later. Cousins Alan and Dale Uchida run the successful and much-loved Pasadena plant resource, Bellefontaine Nursery. Bellefontaine features mainly organic fertilizers; specializes in drought-resistant, succulent and local varieties; and carries such interesting species as the Japanese Shishito pepper plant and Matilija poppy. It also offers a wide selection of irises and penstemons and re-sells exceptional local vendors like Annie's Annuals, Native Sons Nursery, San Marcos Growers and Gardner & Bloome. Stroll through the sweet-smelling, mazelike grounds and watch out for the butterflies and ladybugs whizzing past. 838 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena; (626) 796-0747,

—Adam Gropman

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