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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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