Flies are underappreciated pollinators


Photo by Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Because flies eat nectar and perch on flowers to bask in the sun, they serve as important pollinators, supplementing the work of local bees.

Flies are the second-greatest pollinators after bees. As pollinators, flies are undervalued, understudied and underappreciated, according to John Whittlesey, owner of Canyon Creek Nursery and Design.

Whittlesey spoke at the Northern California Botanists’ Symposium last year. He said he started doing macrophotography several years ago, taking photos of “whatever ends up on a flower,” and saw lots of flies. He discovered that flies are very photogenic, and he wondered what they were doing.

Planting for privacy: How to create living fences and grow strategic espaliers


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Vines and espaliers can serve as a natural curtain, offering privacy with the perk of bonus natural visuals. Planting to create a “sanctuary space” requires planning which green screens can grow to fill a need without overcrowding or requiring constant trimming.

Hedges serve the purpose of fences but are more visually appealing, espaliers and vines can function like natural curtains and strategically placed plants used as screens or garden dividers can result in a “splendid sanctuary space,” according to Kevin Raftery, owner of Kevin Raftery Horticultural Services.

“Planting for privacy can screen what you don’t want to see and direct the eye to what you want to see,” said Raftery, who is also a horticulture instructor at Foothill College and teacher of the “Planting for Privacy” class at the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in Palo Alto.

A jewelry-box cottage stores tiny charms


Photos Courtesy of Amanda Kuzak
A simple remodel turned into a down-to-the-studs rebuild after Los Altos residents Amanda and Chris Kuzak bought a 930-square-foot house in Los Altos. They removed a wall to open up the living and dining area, right, and added a kitchen island, above, that provides both storage and home for a cooktop and pop-up exhaust fan, above. The marble in the kitchen’s tiles appears again in bathroom and living room flourishes.

Amanda Kuzak calls her Los Altos home a jewelry box.

“It’s small, but there are treasures inside,” she said.

Adobe Creek Lodge lives on as luxurious private home


Photo Courtesy of Ryan Gowdy
Adobe Creek Lodge, which once hosted thousands of guests each weekend, now functions as a private family home in Los Altos Hills. The 48-acre property retains its 8,500-square-foot Tudor-style manor house, now scaled to include just three bedrooms.

The iconic Adobe Creek Lodge in Los Altos Hills has a colorful past and is looking toward the future.

In the span of 84 years, it has come full circle from a luxurious private retreat to a luxurious private home. In between, it has been a swim club, a supper club, a day resort and a popular venue. At its height in 1970, the lodge hosted 8,000 guests per weekend.

Local Winchester House preserves legend, with less mystery


Photo by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Winchester-Merriman House in Los Altos preserves a three-quarter acre lot and many of the Carpenter Gothic flourishes of the late 1800s. Now on the market, the 12-room house last sold in 2003.

The land is so beautiful under the enormous oak at the historical property on Edgewood Lane in Los Altos, it is not surprising there is evidence of a house here as early as 1840. The Ohlone lived here long before that. With the Coast Range as a backdrop and wildflowers blooming in the sunshine, it is an ideal location people long to call home.

The property was once a piece of the 4,440-acre Rancho San Antonio, granted to Juan Prado Mesa in 1839. Mesa, a soldier, died in 1845, badly in debt. His executor sold the land for

Modern home tour spotlights Silicon Valley showplaces

The Modern Architecture + Design Society returns to Silicon Valley for the 2018 Modern Home Tour 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 9, offering a curated selection of homes that embody the region’s unique modern architecture and design aesthetic.

The sixth annual event will give regional architects, designers and home builders the opportunity to showcase their work. In turn, the self-guided tour will enable local residents to engage the minds behind the designs and ask questions as they explore some of Silicon Valley’s modern homes up close, inside and out.


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