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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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