Planning year-round blooms

Coral bells” width=
Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
In the spring, coral bells enliven shadier areas in the garden.

In our dry summer climate, it’s easy to have a garden that conserves water – bursting into color with the winter rains and then becoming considerably less dramatic as the year progresses. However, there are ecological, as well as aesthetic, reasons to include plants that bloom throughout the year. 

The many lives of a historic Grande Dame of Los Altos

725 University Avenue” width=
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The two-story shingled Craftsman bungalow at 725 University Ave. is on the city of Los Altos’ list of historic resources. Completed circa 1911, the house still features many original architectural details, including coffered ceilings and divided-light windows.

The lady has good bones. She’s referred to as a “Grande Dame of Los Altos” and with good reason.

The house at 725 University Ave. was built for the Keatinge family and completed in 1911. Since then, a number of families have called the house home. Today, the city of Los Altos designates the house a historic resource of local significance.

Taking a closer look at a healthy garden

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
A lady beetle, the iconic beneficial, patrols a manzanita in early spring, almost blending into the manzanita berries.

The more closely you look at a healthy garden, the more likely you are to notice the plethora of insects and spiders that keep it in balance. Take a close-up picture of a flower, and when you look at the photo on a bigger screen, don’t be surprised if someone you hadn’t noticed is lurking.

A healthy garden needs beneficial insects and spiders to pollinate, control insects that damage plants and aid decomposition. Of the million species of insects, approximately 99% are beneficial or benign.

Add summer entertaining to the menu

LAUREN EDITH ANDERSON/Special to the Town Crier
Although entertaining at home isn’t as popular as it once was, columnist Celeste Randolph believes it is a custom that deserves to return.

While sitting lazily in my friend’s inviting and fresh white kitchen with views of her French-inspired garden recently, I told her how much I loved drinking tea and spending time with her in her home. She replied that few people entertain at home anymore.

Statistics do show that entertaining at home is on the decline. In 2012, The New York Times declared the act of hosting guests at home “endangered” and published an article about the death of the dinner party by Guy Trebay titled “Guess Who Isn’t Coming to Dinner.”

Migrating monarchs: Terraces at Los Altos residents offer refuge with native garden

Zoe Morgan/Town Crier
Gary Cooper inspects a Cleveland sage plant in the new butterfly garden at The Terraces at Los Altos. Cooper, along with Bill Fanning and Claire Taylor, recently created the garden.

Every so often, there’s an uproar from Los Altos residents about flight paths over the area. But there’s one flight path no one will complain about – that of the monarch butterfly.

In fact, residents of The Terraces at Los Altos are providing a small reprieve for the butterflies on the insects’ 2,000-mile journey to Mexico.

Not your mother's wallpaper

Courtesy of Amy Kopp
Wallpaper can change the energy in a room, whether it features a more subtle pattern or a bold design.

When I started in the interior design business, wallcoverings had been making a comeback for several years. I remember showing grasscloth samples to a client, hoping to transform her ordinary dining room into something fabulous.

She mentioned her parents had just stripped grasscloth from the den they had papered in the 1970s, feeling it was dated. It took a lot to convince her that she’d love the look, and the paper would feel fresh and current.

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