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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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Autumn stunners brighten the garden year-round


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Select Mattole Hummingbird Fuchsia is a lower-growing mounding variety that looks a bit less delicate than other varieties.

If the only native plants you know are the ones you’ve seen on spring garden tours, you’re missing out. Although spring is the peak wildflower season, some of the most stunning and colorful plants don’t start blooming until midsummer and keep going until frost.

The most widely planted of the autumn stunners is Hummingbird Fuchsia, which comes in several varieties. Most exhibit flowers in the red-orange palette and foliage that ranges from gray-green to blue-green and silvery gray. You can also find white and pale-pink flowers. Some varieties can be 3 feet tall and a little floppy, while others grow only a foot or two. Select Mattole is the lowest-growing variety, with foliage and flowers less wispy looking than the other species, and it forms a neater clump.

True to its name, Hummingbird Fuchsia attracts hummingbirds. I can count on hearing the telltale whir of an approaching hummer whenever I’m in my garden in the fall. I haven’t seen the kind of territorial challenges that I’ve witnessed with Hummingbird Sage, but if you want to see hummingbirds, plant one of these.

Hummingbird Fuchsia tends to spread by underground runners, so you can expect each plant to spread at least 3 feet wide. It’s easy to rein in and not a thug, however. On the bright side, if you have a small garden, you can carefully pot up your extras and share them. To keep this perennial compact and floriferous, prune established plants to a couple of inches high in the winter.

Hummingbird Fuchsia is drought tolerant but manages occasional water well. I have a clump growing next to my purple potato patch and my summer squash plants under a perennial kale that gets regular water, and the fuchsia does not mind the extra moisture.

Fellow fall-blooming, drought-tolerant perennials include blue- to lavender-flowered California Aster and bright-yellow California Goldenrod and Gum Plant. All of these also tolerate varying amounts of garden water. Like the California Fuchsia, they may extend their bloom time in a particularly hot, dry summer if they get a little extra water.

Many native buckwheats in shades from off-white to pale and deep pinks also bloom from summer into fall. Some of their flowers may senesce into russet tones as the season progresses.

The Gum Plant and most of the buckwheats tend to boast strong stems, but the goldenrod and aster can flop over if they are not supported. Depending on your garden style, you may want to let the plants mingle and support each other, or you may want to provide stakes or supports.

For fragrance, the highlight of autumn is annual tarweeds. These tall, branched sunflower relatives sport sticky stems that when touched offer a pleasant resinous aroma. The daisylike flowers are bright yellow, often with a maroon blotch at the base of each petal.

Later in the season, you may get some fall color from deciduous native trees. The delicate leaves of the Vine Maple can turn rosy shades.

Tanya Kucak gardens organically. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . n

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