Last updateThu, 21 Jul 2016 12pm

Pruning: Following a bunch of fancy rules

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Thinning cuts are made to reduce the size of main branches and redirect growth. Cut back to a branch no smaller than one-third the diameter, and make a clean cut so that it can heal properly. Never leave stubs.

Pruning is logical and simple, according to author and fruit-tree specialist Ann Ralph.

“You don’t need a bunch of fancy rules,” she said, quoting nurseryman Ed Laivo.

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers

Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier
Amy Randazzo purchases older homes in Mountain View to “flip” after they undergo a makeover. Her transformed houses feature open floor plans and she searches for properties with “good bones.”

Amy Randazzo is improving neighborhoods one house at a time.

In fact, that’s the slogan on her business card for Modern Day Homebuyers LLC, the company she founded in 2014.

Filoli offers free admission to military personnel

Town Crier File Photo
Filoli invites military personnel to tour the estate and grounds at no charge as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

Filoli estate in Woodside is one of more than 2,000 museums and cultural institutions in the U.S. that will offer free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families this summer in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Melissa and Nick French, right with son Grayson, pooled their talents to design their dream home. Melissa designed the living room sofa and table.

Melissa and Nick French took “do it yourself” to a new dimension when they rebuilt their mid-century modern home on La Cresta Drive in Los Altos Hills.

Just consider that they conceptualized the project, he as general contractor and she as interior designer.

Function meets beauty: Punctuation of color sets Los Altos Hills home apart

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Karen Talmadge and John Fiddes remodeled their Los Altos Hills home with a modern flair and pops of bold color.

Karen Talmadge and John Fiddes have brought their kitchen into the “modern” world – in the true sense of the word.

“We have lots of toys,” she said of the sleek remodeled kitchen in their Los Altos Hills home. “It’s now functional and integrated into the social life of the house.”

The buzz on stewardship, bee swarms and post-pipe gardening

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
The emphasis on stewardship in English public gardens extends to protecting and nurturing healthy populations of bees and other beneficial insects, even when visitors may be slightly inconvenienced.

Garden writer and designer Nan Sterman thinks that people can understand their own gardens better by seeing what people do around the world.

To underline her theory, she led a tour to venerable English estate gardens a few summers ago and was intrigued to discover that though the British did many things in their gardens that local gardeners might call “sustainable,” they never used that word. Instead, they talked about stewardship.

Pruning natives properly enhances beauty of the garden

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
If monkeyflower branches grow too long, you can reduce them to 6 inches long in the winter. The semiwoody shrubs are prone to flopping over or getting too leggy if they get too much shade or water.

Proper pruning can make your native garden more appealing, according to landscape designer Patricia Evans, who spoke to a group of native-gardening enthusiasts in Los Altos this month.

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