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News

FAA report

FAA report "a start" in allaying noise onslaught


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Anti-noise advocates exchange informational door hangers to give to neighbors.

A federal report released last week identifies possible solutions to the aircraft noise plaguing South Bay communities.

The Federal Aviation...

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Schools

Almond community packs meals for those in need

Almond community packs meals for those in need


Courtesy of Polly Liu
Almond School families worked together last month to package more than 15,000 meals for the Stop Hunger Now organization. Approximately 85 volunteers, including students in grades K-6, packaged meals of rice, soy, vitamins and...

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Community

Veteran Marie Houghton Mong: Mapping out a long life of doing

Veteran Marie Houghton Mong: Mapping out a long life of doing


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Marie Houghton Mong relaxes with one of her two 16-year-old cats at The Terraces at Los Altos retirement community.

On the average day, Marie Houghton Mong can be found in her attractive and comfortable apartment at T...

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Comment

Blame it on Rio: No Shoes, Please

In 2008, I wrote a column explaining why I thought Beijing was an inappropriate venue for that year’s Summer Olympic Games. I cited health risks: the city’s terrible pollution and the country’s corrupt food supply chain. I also note...

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Special Sections

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Melissa and Nick French, right with son Grayson, pooled their talents to design their dream home. Melissa designed the living room sofa and table.

Melissa and Nick French took “do it yourself” to a new dimens...

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Business

ATHENA awards recognize local leadership

ATHENA awards recognize local leadership


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Chamber of Commerce Mountain View presented this year’s ATHENA Leadership Award to Maria Marroquin, left, and Leane Reelfs, right. The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award went to Diana Bautista, center.

Chamber ...

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People

ERNEST TRAUGOTT

ERNEST TRAUGOTT

Resident of Los Altos 
August 18, 1920 - May 11, 2016 

Ernie died peacefully at his home, just a few months short of his 96th birthday. 

Ernie had an amazing life, born in Germany he and his family fled the Nazi's soon after Kristal...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company's 'Arts Razzle-Dazzle' showcases local talent

LA Stage Company's 'Arts Razzle-Dazzle' showcases local talent


Courtesy of Eileen Eng
Mountain View High junior Julia Rogers, 2015 South Bay Teen Idol winner, is slated to perform at Tuesday’s “Arts Razzle-Dazzle” at Bus Barn Theater.

Los Altos Stage Company shines a spotlight on the perfo...

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Spiritual Life

Former St. Nicholas pastor shares his story as exorcist

The Rev. Gary Thomas served the Los Altos faith community as pastor of St. Nicholas Catholic Parish for several years before he announced in 2005 that San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath had assigned him to study in Rome, not unusual for U.S. priests...

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Many plants thrive without soil


Courtesy of Laxmi Natarajan
Tillandsias are plants that take their nutrients through the air, not via dirt like regular plants.

The sight of a delicate green plant with a colorful bloom in a small hanging terrarium always catches my guests’ eyes - it’s a guaranteed conversation starter. On closer look, however, they notice that there is no soil in the terrarium and wonder whether the plants are living or artificial. It is an introduction for most to the genus Tillandsia.

Linnaeus established the genus Tillandsia in the 1700s and named it after Swedish botanist Elias Tillands.

Tillandsias take their nutrients through their leaves and need only air, water and light - no soil - hence they are also known as Air Plants. Epiphytes - plants that grow on other plants (such as trees) nonparasitically, or sometimes on some other object - derive their moisture and nutrients from the atmosphere, rain and sometimes the debris accumulating around them. Air Plants are epiphytes. Found in Central and South America, Mexico, the southern U.S. and the tropics, they are fascinating, low-maintenance plants that bloom with bright flowers. Members of the Bromeliad family, they usually sprout little pups on the side as the mother plant dies down.

Indoor and outdoor displays

Tillandsias are very popular for mounting because of their fantastic form and texture. They are small and grow slowly, making them easy to manage and maintain.

They can be attached to anything: a branch or twig of grape or Manzanita, a slab of wood, a coconut shell or driftwood. Choose a mount that will not disintegrate under the existing conditions.

Attach the plant with waterproof adhesives such as Liquid Nails, Goop or silicone sealer, available in hardware and home stores. The plant must be held in place until the glue hardens. A hot glue gun is the fastest and safest method if the plant is attached a few seconds after the glue has cooled. Sheet or Sphagnum Moss pressed around the plant and into the glue will present a more natural appearance. Nylon monofilament - fishing line - that is nearly invisible can also secure the plants.

The roots of these plants are tough, weather resistant and can be used to attach it to the substrate. Do not attach the plant by its leaves. When the leaves die, the plant will detach.

If the plant has no roots, tie it or wire it rather than fasten it with an adhesive. If the area around the base is damp but not wet, most Tillandsias will produce roots. Constant wetness at the base of the plant can cause rot.

Care of Tillandsias

Plants can be sprayed or misted daily, but the easiest way to water is to plunge the plant once a week into a container of water to which a Bromeliad Fertilizer 17-8-22 is added and let it soak five minutes to an hour or so. Drain or shake off excess water after removing the plant from its bath. Water trapped in the plant can cause rot.

Tillandsias must dry completely between waterings - they cannot breathe through a wet leaf surface.

When the mother plant blooms and dies, Tillandsia collections grow for decades because of the propagation of the pups. The plants continue to provide gardening gratification indoors and out.

Laxmi Natarajan, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, is a garden and interiorscape designer at Bagicha Garden & Flora Design. For more information, call 703-9756 or visit bagicha.com. n

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