Tue07222014

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Artist's downsizing sparks creativity


Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Barnett, above, a resident at The Forum, turned a bedroom into a workshop and office. Barnett’s home, left, features eclectic furnishings, including a mannequin whose dress is made of eyeglass lenses, below left, and a see-through, hand-painted side table with bracelets for the legs, below. Her collection of “assemblage art” covers her unit at The Forum, bottom left, proving that downsizing did not stifle her creativity.

Artist and TV host Suzanne Barnett has produced 1,200 shows for KMVT over the years, but perhaps she should have a camera focused on the new home she created for herself at The Forum Retirement Community in Cupertino.

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Replace your lawn and create memory-making spaces


Mary Dateo/Special to the Town Crier
Weeping Santa Rosa Plum, dwarf Nectarine, Woodland Strawberries and herbs add beauty to the garden as well as food.

Several years ago, a cousin who lives near Cannes surprised me by serving an al fresco breakfast on her patio. That became one of my favorite memories of France and inspired me to steal some space from my lawn to expand the dining area in my yard to give family and friends a similar treat. Many of my houseguests have since told me that our al fresco meal was one of the things they most remember from their stay.

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Reclaiming dirt patches: How to beautify a parking strip


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Butterflies are attracted to the purple flowers of lilac verbena, a fragrant, mounding perennial that does best in full sun. In a parking strip, the colors blend well with pink or white yarrow.

In many neighborhoods, the most unloved parts of the landscape are the parking strips between the curb and the sidewalk. At a presentation sponsored by the Gardening with Natives group of the California Native Plant Society last year, landscape designer Carrie Jensen advocated reclaiming those dirt patches.

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Manzanitas: The bones of the garden


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Proper pruning reveals the sinuous branching structure and beautiful bark of larger manzanitas.

You don’t need to prune manzanitas, according to landscape designer Pete Veilleux, but if you do, you can reveal the spectacular mahogany bark and sculptural branch structure. If you plant a manzanita near a path or driveway, carefully prune each branch that grows toward the path. That way, you can create a clear view of the structure from the path while maintaining the leafy cover and hummingbird-attracting flowers on the other sides of the shrub.

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Large stones add design element to gardens


Sarah Herman/Special to the Town Crier
Incorporating natural boulders into a landscape represents mass, durability and stability and can evoke reassuring permanence.

Most of us have gasped in awe and wonder at the phenomenal geological formations of Yosemite, Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. Nature’s most breathtaking landscapes, carved by wind and water over millennia, trigger our deepest emotions. We respond to the harmonious balance of rock, plants and water and experience a kind of transcendent beauty.

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Growing green: Local startup reinvigorates farming, one yard at a time


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Urban Edible Farm Co. founder Kamila Lambert transplants strawberry plants into a raised bed for Los Altos client Kate Evard.

Staring at a sea of grassy front-yard islands from a half-acre garden on the Santa Clara University campus, Kamila Lambert planted seeds for an unusual startup.

“I would look around and ask myself why people had lawns instead of using their yards to garden and give back,” said Lambert, who grew up in Los Altos and studied public health science and environmental studies at the university.

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