Last updateWed, 29 Jun 2016 8am

Residents highlight Eichler attributes while trying to create historic district

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Eichler homes, like that of Tracy Gibbons, feature glass walls, post-and-beam construction, open floor plans and A-frame roofs.

Visionary developer Joseph Eichler and dentist Barry Gordon would sit in the courtyard of Gordon’s Los Altos home, smoke cigars and talk mid-century architecture.

“Barry was a frustrated architect,’’ Margot Gordon said of her late husband. “He just loved to talk to Joe.”

Native sods serve as drought-conscious solution

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Native grasses create billowy meadows that feel soft underfoot. Let the grasses flower and go to seed, marking the turn of the seasons and attracting pollinators. Their deep roots build soil and foster a diverse community of soil fauna.

The longer the drought goes on, the more sense it makes to question lawns in our summer-dry climate.

Toyon provides spectacular berries in winter

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
The deep golden berries of the Davis Gold cultivar of toyon contrast with the clean evergreen foliage.

It took me a few years to appreciate toyons, with their often-gangly branches and irregular forms when newly planted in garden settings. But while walking in a local park at the beginning of the year, I was once again reminded how spectacularly beautiful a toyon can be in the middle of winter, with the sun lighting up the profusion of berries in the high-dappled shade of an oak woodland.

Home Brief

Master Gardeners host table at Mtn. View Arbor Day event

The UC Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County are slated to participate in the annual Mountain View Arbor Day Festival, scheduled 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 12 at Rengstorff Park, 201 S. Rengstorff Ave.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to host an information table and children’s activities.

Staying organized can help for disaster preparation

Courtesy of Amanda Kuzak
Storing nonperishable essentials on a shelf in the garage can help in case of an emergency.

As a professional organizer, I look inside dozens of homes every week, and it always shocks me when I don’t find an emergency kit.

Bay Area home sharing the new norm as housing costs soar

An-Li Herring/Peninsula Press
Mountain View High School teacher Nicole Higley, left, chats with colleague and roommate Evan Smith in their Mountain View apartment after school last month. Higley and Smith decided to find an apartment together after confronting the steep cost of living in Silicon Valley.

Nicole Higley couldn’t afford to rent her own apartment when she began teaching Japanese at Mountain View High School three years ago. So she did what many other Bay Area residents are doing: look for a roommate.

Evan Smith, who has taught math at Mountain View High for 13 years, meanwhile, was looking for an apartment at the same time. Although he owns a house in Santa Clara, he had leased it for a reduced price to a family of five, choosing to rent an apartment until the family’s three children finish elementary school. During a coffee break one day at school, Smith and Higley decided to find housing together, and they now rent a two-bedroom apartment in Mountain View for $2,495.

New book unlocks the key to identifying manzanitas

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Santa Cruz Manzanita boasts boat-shaped leaves and sticky, depressed- globose fruit. In general, you can find a few fruit year-round on most manzanitas, even though the fruit is seasonally abundant and eaten by lots of wildlife.

Plant nerds, rejoice! Gardeners who hike and who favor local natives will welcome a new book devoted to “nature’s shrubby rock stars.”

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