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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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