Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Garden indoors to make the home come alive


Courtesy of Laxmi Natarajan
Indoor plants can bring calm and serenity to an often high-stress area, such as an office. They provide extra oxygen and act as a filter for the air.

Many people spend a majority of their time indoors working in office spaces, home offices, school classrooms, restaurants and the home. As one of those people, I began working with indoor plants to bring a slice of nature inside.

I previously focused on designing with outdoor plants, shrubs and trees, so it was a learning process to understand a new set of plant materials and their care. I was excited to discover a wide variety of indoor plants that provide different colors and textures.

The benefits of indoor plants include the sense of calm and serenity they bring to a space, the freshness they provide by increasing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide and their ability to act as a filter for dirt and other air pollutants. Studies show that humans are more productive and less stressed when they are surrounded by nature. Greenery can make a space warm, inviting and alive.

When deciding which plants to use where, consider these important factors: What kind of light is available, what shape of plant can fit in the space and how big the plant should be.

If you want a plant to provide some screening, then use a tall and dense plant. Some plants do fine in low light conditions and others thrive in bright light.

My favorite plants are easy to care for, extremely hardy and work well in indoor environments. A few different varieties of Dracaena – Dracaena Lisa, Dracaena Janet Cragii, Draceana marginata, Draceana ‘Ricky’ and Draceana Lemonlime – top my list for their versatility, hardiness, variety of green shades and ability to bear low to moderate light. Sanseveria, Schefflera, Ficus, Palm, Philodendrons, Pothos, Crotons, Aglaonema, Spathyphyllum, Hedera, Yucca and Aspidistra all come in different varieties. There is ongoing research to make them hardier and pest resistant and new hybrids are constantly introduced on the market.

You could place a single planter in a corner, a set of planters in an arrangement or fill an entire garden room with indoor plants. You can have atriums with beautiful ferns or a sunroom with tropicals. There are plenty of options for creativity and imagination when designing and building beautiful indoor plant gardens.

Planters come in all shapes, sizes and colors – from traditional to contemporary and modern styles – and they are sold in home stores, in garden centers and at retailers. Self-watering containers and sophisticated container-watering irrigation systems are available for those wanting to install something more reliable and solid. You can also set up drip irrigation if you have a garden room with many planters together.

Indoor living walls, a trend these days, are easy to install and maintain, with ready-to-hang wall systems. In addition to interior decorating, we can now interiorscape our homes, offices and indoor spaces, enjoying healthful green living indoors.

Plants bring life to spaces, so whether you have a spare room to convert to a garden room or a small apartment nook, bring some green indoors and enjoy a touch of nature.

Laxmi Natarajan, a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers, is a garden and flora designer at Bagicha Garden & Flora Design, which specializes in creating custom living walls and indoor plantscapes. For more information, call 703-9756 or visit bagicha.com.

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