Dreams of lush garden become water-wise reality


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mark and Pam Goodman reimagined their garden as a whimsical, grass-free space that’s water-wise and welcoming to native birds and insects.

Several years ago, Pam Goodman suffered a serious leg injury and, after graduating to a wheelchair, spent the majority of her recovery parked in the window-wrapped corner of her Los Altos home’s living room.

“There wasn’t much to look at other than grass, a Japanese maple and a fountain,” she said of the garden.

10 tips for creating dream closets


Amanda Kuzak/Special to the Town Crier
Professional organizer Amanda Kuzak recommends pulling all of your belongings out of your closet to assess in a new context which items you really wear.

After spending 15 years organizing closets, I’ve learned that no matter the square footage of a client’s closet or the size of his or her wardrobe, my top 10 tips for wardrobe bliss remain the same.

How to cultivate coziness at home by removing clutter


Lauren Andersen/Special to the Town Crier
The Danish word “hygge” means “coziness” and a “comfortable conviviality” that’s especially important in winter.

With the cold weather and rain we have been lucky enough to experience here in Los Altos these past few weeks, it has me longing for more time spent at home.

Planting the understory


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Fiesta Marigold monkeyflower is an eye-catching, compact, long-blooming small shrub that is attractive to pollinators and hummingbirds. It does well in part to full sun and is drought-tolerant, though it looks better with additional water if grown in a sunnier spot.

A common complaint of gardeners: “What can I plant under my tree?” It depends on the tree, but natives are especially good options under established landscape trees.

Consider four things when deciding whether you can plant under your tree: leaf drop, root competition, watering and shade.

Historical house on the market after major renovation


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Emerson House was recently updated with a nod to the home’s historical roots.

The year is 1906.

Just as Los Altos began to resemble a city, Edwin Emerson, a Bostonian, completed construction of an East Coast Shingle-style house on the corner of Emerson and Mira Monte roads, today’s Covington Road and Miramonte Avenue. It was the farmhouse for his 70-acre fruit ranch and took four years to build because he had trouble finding a contractor who could read his architectural drawings.

Bringing bugs to your garden


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Valley Violet ceanothus is among the most floriferous natives in early spring. All varieties of ceanothus are excellent habitat plants.

For gardeners – and anyone else concerned about the future of life on Earth – a recent article on the “insect apocalypse” is essential reading (New York Times Magazine, Nov. 27, 2018).

Researchers in Germany found that the number of insects is less than one-fifth of what it was 50 years ago. If you’re lucky enough to have lived that long, remember how many insects got plastered against your windshield on long car trips? Or how many bugs you couldn’t help but swallow on bike trips?


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