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News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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A nighttime backyard: How does a garden glow?


Photo By: Above Photo by Saroj Sancheti/SPecial to the Town Crier Right photo Courtesy of Laxmi Natarajan
Photo Above Photo By Saroj Sancheti/Special To The Town Crier Right Photo Courtesy Of Laxmi Natarajan

Mosaic tables, comfortable furniture and mood lighting, above, enhance the backyard ambience on a warm summer evening. Yarrow ‘Moonbeam’ can illuminate the garden at night.

Some of the best aspects of summer are the long, cool evenings; the clear, crisp air; the night sky adorned with twinkling stars; and the moonlight shining gently on the earth, lighting up the flora in the gardens with a magical and enchanted hue to bring it to life.

Spending time in the garden is therapeutic at all times, but in summer we have an extended time to enjoy it into the night as well. After a long day of work and chores, it is great to let your eyes adjust to the slight darkness, wander around a bit and have a place to settle down and relax.

Several easy-to-implement ideas can enhance this experience and make your garden a night star.

Nighttime bloomers

Adding the right kind of plants can make a garden glow at night. Some moonlit gardens shine in the evening because of the plants. Such gardens are full of plants that are pale in color, have lighter green-gray leaves or have white, pale-pink or other light-colored flowers. They boast plants that bloom at night and rely on fragrance to attract pollinators, as opposed to day-blooming plants that use color.

My all-time favorite night bloomers include Evening Primrose, with white, heart-shaped petals and a light, lemon/honeysuckle scent; Angel’s Trumpet; and Night Phlox, with its almond-vanilla-scented flowers.

Others to consider include Yucca filamentosa; silvery foliage like Artemesia; Stachys byzantine (Lambs ears), Yarrow ‘Moonbeam’; Jasmine vine, with its heavenly scented white flowers; Echeveria elegans; Euphorbia characias; different shades of hostas; Helichrysum petiolare ‘Limelight’; and Lavandula stoechas (Spanish lavender).

Plants like the Climbing Hydrangea, with its stunning white flowers and leaves that change color from pink to gold to dark green, are shiny, reflective and great additions to moon gardens.

Appealing to the senses

The night garden often relies on appealing to all the senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Incorporate the following elements for a full sensory experience.

• Train spotlights on water features, statuaries and architectural elements like arbors, pagodas and arches to add to the nighttime splendor and provide a visual and auditory thrill to the beholder. The use of garden lighting, solar lights, simple lanterns or candle votives creates an inviting ambience to spend time with family and friends.

Landscape lighting today comes in all formats. Using spotlights, focal lights, path lighting and area lighting highlights and accentuate the garden’s features, makes it more accessible and allows you to entertain guests into the wee hours of the night.

• Adding comfortable seating and bright furniture like mosaic side tables, bistro tables, cushions and accessories can make the space welcoming and functional. If your yard gets summer wind, then create a sheltered area for sitting, keeping bug repellents like citronella candles and insect traps around the yard to protect from pesky bug bites. A heater or a coffee table with a fire pit adds extra warmth when you need it and provides a toasty place to gather as the night becomes cooler.

• Outdoor movie screens are making an appearance in many home gardens as families congregate to enjoy a movie in the garden.

• Install music streaming in the night garden via hidden outdoor speakers, available in different sizes, designs and price ranges, from simple to those embedded in fake rocks.

The sky is the limit, or rather the canvas against which you can set your garden scene this summer as you enjoy the mysterious and beautiful delights of the night garden.

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

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