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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Winter gardens showcase colorful beauty

Photo Courtesy Of Laurie Callaway Rely on color-rich evergreens to give bone structure to the winter garden such as Phormium 'Yellow Wave,' Loropetalum rubrum and the chartreuse 'Breath of Heaven,' above.

 

After watching the Weather Channel and seeing how much of the country is being pummeled by snow and sleet, I’m grateful that here in the Bay Area we can garden in winter. However, our winter gardens can look a bit down as well. Following are a few tips to make your winter garden a real standout.

As you design your garden and decide on the plants you’d like to include, think foliage not flowers. Flowers in the garden, however wonderful, come and go. Evergreen leaves are with you always and form the bones of the garden and its beauty year-round. A combination of evergreen and deciduous shrubs, trees with winter bark, winter-blooming perennials and annuals achieve good bone structure.

The many colors and shades of evergreen shrubs make them stars in their own right. Green, chartreuse, gray, silver, blue, red, purple and variegated leaves give the garden depth and beauty. Try Loropetalum rubrum, Euonymus Emerald ‘n’ Gold, Pittosporum ‘Silver Sheen’ and Phormium ‘Sundowner’ to give the garden punches of color.

Perennials that bloom successfully in winter include Helleborus niger, Helleborus orientalis and Helleborus argutifolius. Each brings color and great leaf structure. Geranium ‘Biokovo’ is a low-growing geranium good for creating borders that bloom in winter and need very little care the rest of the year. Bedding plants such as cyclamen, poppies and primulas can create bright spots and fill the borders until spring perennials begin to bloom.

Consider interesting bark and berries for a bright spot on cloudy days. Acer Sangu Kaku with its coral bark is stunning, as is Acer griseum Paperbark Maple. Other winter standouts are Crape Myrtle, Lagerstroemia fauriei ‘Natchez’ with its patchwork bark, brilliant white Betula nigra and Prunus serrula’s mahogany-red bark. The berries of many of the nandinas, hollies like Ilex verticillata ‘Winter Red’ and crab apples offer patches of bright color and food for wintering birds.

Camellias are stars in the winter garden. Include both the large-leaved Japonicas and spreading Sasanquas in your design. White Camellias are particularly striking on cold winter days. Camellias often begin blooming by Thanksgiving and continue into March.

Finally, don’t forget the bold and beautiful conifers. These are the most underused shrubs in the Western garden. You can’t beat them for color, structure and interest.

A few dwarf conifers worth trying are Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Threadleaf,’ Pinus mugo ‘Aurea’ and Picea abies ‘Nidiformis.’

Deciduous plants are wonderful in the garden because they are the harbingers of spring, but it’s really the evergreen shrubs that make a winter garden sing.

Laurie Callaway, a Certified member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, practices in the Bay Area. She is a regular contributor to HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” and conducts tours of English gardens each June. For more information, visit www.callawaygardens.com or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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