Native Plants: How to re-oak your neighborhood

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Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
This mature coast live oak at a botanic garden in Southern California shows the sculptural branching patterns.

California’s native oaks have always evoked the feeling of “home” for me, even though I spent my first quarter-century well east of the Sierra Nevada. From afar, I appreciate the muscular, sculptural beauty of coast live oaks. Up close, I love the multitude of birds and other critters that are drawn to the trees.

Coming Up Roses: Pretty purple rose boasts heavenly fragrance

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Julia Isaac/Special to the Town Crier
The color of Ebb Tide roses changes in response to temperature and light. In the early spring and late fall, when the temperature is cooler, the flower is a deep, smoky purple. In the hot summer, it transforms into a violet-red.

I want to introduce a beautiful purple rose called the Ebb Tide. Ebb Tide may be the deepest, darkest, most scrumptious purple rose I’ve ever seen. If you love purple roses, this is certainly one for your collection.

Top trends: Designer reveals what’s hot in kitchen renovations

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Courtesy of Viscusi Elson Interior Design & Rutt Kitchens
A white kitchen provides a neutral backdrop for both bright and subtle colors and earth tones, said Gina Viscusi Elson, owner of Viscusi Elson Interior Design & Rutt Kitchens of Los Altos.

Kitchens have been on overdrive since Thanksgiving, with Christmas Day, perhaps, being the swan song for an outdated or dysfunctional one – that is, if Santa got the message.

By Design: Seamlessly incorporating heirlooms into your home

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Celeste Randolph/Special to the Town Crier
Displaying heirlooms in a home can make the space feel unique, special and authentic.

“Anyone may have diamonds: an heirloom is an ornament of quite a different kind.” – Elizabeth Aston

In 1932, George Liebenstein gave Maud Taylor a silver tea set engraved with initials “MTL” to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. More than eight decades later, it sits in our home, reminding us of our family’s past.

Native Plants: Monarch waystations provide necessary habitat for butterflies

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Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Monarchs seek out milkweed, above, to lay their eggs, because the caterpillars eat only milkweed leaves.

Did you see any monarch butterflies in your garden this year? If not – or if you want to see more – consider creating a monarch waystation. That’s a pollinator garden designed specifically to cater to the needs of monarchs.

Coming up Roses: Reine des Violettes shines in romantic rose bouquet

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Julia Isaac/Special to the Town Crier
The Reine des Violettes rose was bred by Mille-Mallet in France in 1860.

I have introduced some of my favorite roses to the readers of the Town Crier, such as Pierre de Ronsard, Geoff Hamilton and Wollerton Old Hall roses. However, all of these are modern roses. I would like to introduce an old garden rose – Reine des Violettes, also called Queen of the Violets.

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