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News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of Ob...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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