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Los Altos trees herald the coming of spring

The annual parade of flowering trees that brightens Los Altos is well under way. The city streets showcase many colorful varieties of blooming trees. Leading off the show in January were bright pink flowering apricots, which don't bear fruit, and bright yellow Bailey acacia, sometimes called mimosa.

This month brought almonds, flowering plum, evergreen pear and the many varieties of Chinese magnolias.

As Arbor Day (April 27) approaches, trees take center stage. The second edition (2004) of "Trees of Los Altos" offers a convenient guide, including color photographs and addresses of 38 different species scattered around Los Altos.

Masses of white flowers brighten the fruiting plum and pear, bronze-leaf loquat and deciduous flowering pears and dogwood. Fuzzy, white flowers puff out on black acacia and, in April, on melaleuca. California madrone with its lustrous red bark sports clusters of white lily-of-the-valley-shaped white flowers. Huge white flowers begin to bloom on evergreen magnolias and will continue throughout the summer. The craggy old leptospermum at the Chamber of Commerce will soon sport flowers.

Downtown features blooming, red horse chestnut trees planted among the Chinese pistache on Main Street. Violet clusters will begin to appear on the Idaho locust trees at Hillview Center and near the churches on Orange Avenue.

Flowering cherries, fruiting apricots, flowering crabapples and redbud with its flowers shaped like sweet peas bring dazzling pink colors. The clouds of pink flowers blooming over the fence at the Almond Avenue Fire Station are tamarisk.

"Trees of Los Altos" is available for $12 plus tax at Los Altos City Hall, the Community Foundation, the History Museum and the Garden Supply and Nursery.

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