And a few of
Native Plant Pro
And a few of
takes on the
rude bus driver
|Thai White Rock Cafe?||Another FIG
in the Village
|More Blight in
But we've made progress
on Alum Rock Avenue
to this new tree?
Walking in the Park
Yesterday I walked down through the park;
April 15, 2003
Howard Shellhammer is a recently retired professor of Zoology at San Jose State. He is a consultant for the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project. Howard wrote this poem with mentoring by his friend and fellow poet, the late John Leary. NNV hopes to share more about fascinating Dr. Shellhammer (“just call me Howard,” he says) in a future edition. Howard lives in the Fleming Avenue neighborhood.
Meanwhile, click here for photos of Howard and his flowers.
The San Jose Public Library Foundation is not really a new kid on the block, but it may seem so to us folks who live here in the Alum Rock area. Because the Alum Rock library branch has always been a part of the Santa Clara County library system, we have not necessarily had much affiliation with the San Jose Public libraries. With the opening next year of the new Alum Rock library branch being constructed at the corner of Alum Rock Avenue and South White Road, we will suddenly find ourselves patrons of the San Jose Public Library system.
The San Jose Public Library Foundation is a non-profit organization which assists San Jose’s public libraries of which our new library will be one. They hope we will be patrons of our new branch in both senses of the word. Of course, they encourage us to be the patrons – or customers – of the branch. After all, one of their main missions is to “encourage reading and a life-long love of books.” The more we patronize our new branch, the more their mission will be fulfilled.
But, they would also like us to be patrons in the other, more noble sense, as well. The foundation was formed in 1987 “to provide advocacy, financial support and innovative leadership…..to transform San Jose’s public libraries into vibrant learning centers.” Another of their missions is to raise “private funds from individuals, corporations and foundations…..to complement the City’s annual allocation to the Library.” Such “funds enable new ideas, new initiatives, and new resources for the San Jose public Library system.”
The Foundation’s goal is to raise $10 million to bring expanded collections, advanced technology, and specialized equipment to the fourteen libraries being renovated and the six new libraries (including ours) being built as part of the current library expansion underway now until 2010. It is appropriate for members of our community to be the sort of patrons who organize and take part in philanthropic events which benefit the Library Foundation and, ultimately, the Alum Rock Library branch. NNV encourages our readers to be involved, be patrons (or even “patron saints”!) to help assure that our superlative new library reaches its full potential.
Want to know more? Please contact Marie Bernardy, Executive Director of the San Jose Public Library Foundation, at (408) 808-2174 or phone or e-mail New Neighborhood Voice at (408) 272-7008 or JudyET@NNVESJ.org.
Click here for photos of how the new Alum Rock Library will look and of the Groundbreaking Ceremony. Use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this edition.
In the April NNV, Greg Smestad and Ed Allegretti wrote about the expedition of explorer Juan Bautista de Anza in and around the Bay Area. If you missed it, click here to read what they wrote. Here are the details (and a map) which the reader can use to plan day trips to visit many historic stops along the route.
Details for Santa Clara County
Travel north on US 101 to CA 85 north.
To visit the Peralta Adobe, a 1790s structure lived in by Anza expedition member, Luís María Peralta, take Guadalupe Parkway (Highway 87) North.
Take the Santa Clara/Julian Street off ramp.
Take the Julian Street exit. At the bottom of the off ramp, turn right.
Turn right on Terraine Street (small side street).
Turn left into the parking lot on the corner of Terraine and West St. John Streets.
The Peralta Adobe is at 175 W. St. John Street.
From there, you can visit Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the sister mission to Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), founded by Anza expedition members. Take The Alameda west and northwest until it becomes El Camino Real. Stop at Mission Santa Clara de Asís at 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara. Continue onto the San Tomas Expressway. Take the Expressway south to I-280.
Continue west on I-280 to the intersection of CA 85.
Continue on CA 85 north toward Mountain View to CA 82/El Camino Real.
Exit and take El Camino Real north.
In the City of Palo Alto, stop at El Palo Alto, the tall tree measured by Father Font (see it in El Palo Alto Park at the corner of El Camino Real and Alma Street).
Follow U.S. highway 101 from San Benito County to Santa Teresa Boulevard to Almaden Expressway (G8) north to Interstate 280 west to Stevens Creek Boulevard (state highway 85) to El Camino Real north to San Mateo County.
For the return from San Francisco, follow El Camino Real from San Mateo County to San Tomas Expressway, east to Montague Expressway to Interstate 680 north to Alameda County.
Auto Tour (to be described in the upcoming guide book)
Follow state highway 101 north from San Benito County, to Santa Teresa Boulevard past Uvas Park Preserve, Santa Teresa County Park, and Almaden Lake Park. Take Blossom Hill Road west to Los Gatos Boulevard. Turn southwest on Los Gatos Boulevard to Los Gatos–Saratoga Road (state highway 9) and north to Saratoga–Sunnyvale Road (state highway 85) to Stevens Creek Boulevard (past De Anza College) and left to Foothill Expressway. Follow Foothill to the Springer Road exit and connect with El Camino Real (state highway 82) to exit the county.
On the return from San Francisco, take El Camino Real through San Mateo County to Montague Expressway east to North Park Victoria Boulevard in Milpitas to Alameda County.
In the eastern county, the historic return route can be followed in part, but a detour is required to skirt a roadless area. Take Old Mines Road from Alameda County into San Antonio Valley. The road ends at private property while the historic route continues south. Follow county road 130 and turn west over Mount Hamilton. This road leads to highway 101 south. As you can see from viewing the map, the trail would not actually have gone up to Hall’s Valley (the Grant Ranch) from Alum Rock Avenue but rather would have gone from Morgan Hill, through Henry W. Coe State Park, to Hall’s Valley. Since there is no longer an accessible road to Hall’s Valley from Henry W. Coe State Park, the historic trail markers follow 101, to Alum Rock Avenue, to Mt. Hamilton Road, over the hill to San Antonio and Livermore Valleys.
A loop from Gilroy allows further experience of the historic route. Exit highway 101 east on Leavesley to New Avenue north to Roop Road east which goes to Gilroy Hot Springs and Henry W. Coe State Park. Return on Cañada Road, turn left onto Pacheco Pass Highway (152 east), then turn west on Bloomfield Avenue to state highway 25 to highway 101 again.
Nearby Stops Along the Anza Trail
Campsite #97 - Rio de Guadalupe (Guadalupe River Park, downtown San Jose). Campsite #97 is near Alviso and the outflow of the river into the bay. Nearby, visit the trails within the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS).
Trails within Henry W. Coe State Park include Los Cruzeros, a noontime stop (visit the Henry W. Coe State Park Visitor Center) near Gilroy and Anderson Reservoir, and Gilroy Hot Springs, Camps #103, #104
Chitactac (Coastanoan) - Adams Heritage County Park
Uvas Creek Park Preserve, both near San Martin (Arroyo de los Llagas)
Rancho Santa Teresa Historic District/Santa Teresa County Park:
Santa Teresa Springs, Bernal Adobe Site and Bernal-Joice Rancho
Mission Santa Clara de Asis. The mission is located on the grounds of Santa Clara University, the Alameda, Santa Clara.
Plaza de Caesar Chavez, formerly Plaza Park. The Plaza is circled by South Market Street between San Fernando and San Carlos Streets in downtown San Jose . Around 1797, the pobladores (settlers) moved to higher ground to avoid the flooding Rio de Guadalupe. They built adobes, gardens, and water channels around a central plaza, which remain today as Plaza Park. Nearby, a block down, is the Parque de Los Pobladores (Park of the Colonists), formerly "Gore Park" at 2nd and Market Streets. This has a wonderful triple monolith bas relief artwork and a tile map that honors the Anza expedition and founders of the Pueblo of San Jose.
First site of El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe. This State Landmark Monument on the city's Civic Center grounds, recognizes the first site of the pueblo which was named for the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the Anza Expedition of 1775-76.
Luis Maria Peralta Adobe. This pre-1800 adobe, one of the first houses in the second plaza of the Pueblo of San Jose, is believed to be built by Jose Manuel Gonzales, an Apache who accompanied the Anza party. Luis Maria Peralta, also with his parents on the Anza trip, became Comisionado (Commissioner) [1807-1822] and lived at the adobe until he died in 1851. City Landmark No.1, located at 184 St. John Street in San Jose, is open for docent tours only. The gardens and exterior are open to the public during regular park hours.
Saint Joseph Cathedral. This was the site of the first non-mission church in California and is San Jose's oldest place of continuous worship. San Jose's earliest residents grew weary of traveling to Mission Santa Clara for services, so they built their own church. Built by pueblo residents in 1803, the first Saint Joseph church was a simple adobe structure. Most of the contributors were from the Anza trek of 1776.
Jose Maria Alviso Adobe – Higuera Adobe, Alviso Historic District
Camp #93, Cupertino (de Anza Park, Rancho San Antonio)
McClellen Ranch Park/Stevens Creek
Rancho San Antonio County Park
El Palo Alto
Fernando Berryessa Adobe
Mountain View Shoreline Park
Sunnyvale Baylands County Park
For More Information
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
Meredith Kaplan, Superintendent
1111 Jackson Street, Suite 700, Oakland, California 94607
Tel 510-817-1438, Fax 510-817-1505
Henry Coe State Park
Anza CD-Trail Guide Project
Santa Clara County Parks
Guadalupe River Park
Parque de Los Pobladores, formerly "Gore Park,"
2nd and Market Streets in downtown San Jose
Click here for photos of the trail signs and the trail route in the San Francisco Bay area. Click here for more on the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail Guide and Audio CD Project.
About the authors, Greg Bernal-Mendoza-Smestad and Edward Bernal Allegretti:
Both are eighth generation descendants of several members of the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition of 1775 to 1776. Greg’s ancestors include Apolinario Bernal y Soto, Luis María Peralta, and Juan Salvio Pacheco. Ed’s include Ignacio de Soto, Ignacio Linares and Juan Francisco Bernal.
|Boccardo Blooms: Boccardo Trail Hike Report by Lori Raymaker, SCCOSA|
|County Historical Commission - Less onerous Preservation Ordinance by Edward Allegretti|
|Do Your Kids Need Health Insurance? Visit SJV Health Fair for solutions!|
|If You Build Them (Nest Boxes) They (Western Bluebirds) Will Come|
|“An Elegant Alfresco Dinner at Alum Rock Park” – D.I.D. #2|
|Brain Buster Tournament at ARYC by Jennifer Pineda and Salvador Quintero|
|Dave Ellis and His Bigger, Better Sewing Machine and Vacuum Center|
|Lots of Wonderful New Young Trees Beautify James Lick Area|
Open Space Authority volunteer, Paul Billig, led seven enthusiastic hikers up the Boccardo Trail from Alum Rock Park on Sunday, April 4th. This 6-mile hike led us to the top of the Boccardo Trail through some of the most beautiful grasslands in the east foothills.
Along the trail, Paul introduced us to the numerous wildflowers. We saw fiddle neck, scarlet pimpernel, poppies, blue-eyed grass, shooting stars, mustard, mule’s ears, and Johnny jump-ups, to name just a few.
Because of this year’s unseasonably warm weather, the wildflowers are blooming and dying off earlier than normal. However, if you get a chance to get out on the trail in the next month or so, you should still be able to see a large variety of wildflowers.
For a list of plants and animals that you may see along the Boccardo Trail, visit the Natural Resources Database at www.nrdb.org. Under “Simple Search,” you will find a listing for the Boccardo Trail Corridor. This database was developed and is managed by private citizens. It is a great resource, not only for the Boccardo Trail, but many other parks and open space lands.
Click here for photos of the Boccardo Trail Walk. Click here for the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority Web site and here for the Boccardo Trail Web page.
The regular monthly meeting of the Historical Heritage Commission was held on April 15th in the County Board of Supervisors' chambers.
Of the many items discussed of particular interest to East Hills residents is the updating of the Santa Clara County Historical Resource Inventory. Staff have been engaged to update the inventory (listing of historical houses, buildings, etc.) in Santa Clara County. Currently they are concentrating on the East Foothills and should have their draft reports completed by mid-May for the meeting on May 20th. The final updated inventory should be completed in June and will then be made available to the public. Hopefully in the future we will be able to give the listing of historic properties in our area.
The proposed Preservation Ordinance was again discussed. At the direction of the commission, county staff presented some incentives that are currently available in Santa Clara County to those who own historical properties and gave an overview of what some other counties and cities in the state additionally offer.
Amongst the incentives that are possibly available to historic property owners now are: Rehabilitation tax credit (if your property is designated on the National Register of Historic Places), easement deduction (again must be on the National Register), Mills Act (tax savings of up to 50% for rehabilitation in those counties, such as Santa Clara County, which have adopted it), and a few others. Although these all can be excellent incentives for those who qualify (they are quite specific) none of the current incentives are affected either way whether the Preservation Ordinance is passed or not. Thus, the commissioners asked for what could be done specifically in our county to help those people in a positive way who own an historic property. Some of the possibilities discussed were:
Relaxing of current zoning code requirements.
Reduction or waiver of permit and certificate of appropriateness fees.
Quicker approval and review processes.
Historical plaque program.
Removal of the 1,000 square feet maximum allowable for a secondary dwelling on rural properties.
Designated staff to assist those with historical properties through the process.
Currently none of this is offered in Santa Clara County. The commission has directed staff to give us information on all current zoning processes, permit requirements and fee schedules so that we can review these in detail and hopefully recommend some changes that would give easier processes and less expensive permit fees to those owning and improving historical properties.
Yes, this ordinance review process is lengthy but very important given that it directly affects property rights and can determine which historical properties may be saved or lost forever.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be on May 20th at 6:30 PM in the Board of Supervisors' chambers in the County Building on Hedding Street. The commission will resume discussion of the proposed Historical Heritage Ordinance.
Click here for the Santa Clara County Planning Office Web site for the proposed ordinance. Click here for our April article on this subject. Comments or questions can be e-mailed to Ed Allegretti at EAllegretti@rosendin.com or to the Historical Heritage Coordinator, Dana Peak, at Dana.firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch our Community Bulletin Board and Letters to the Editor for the latest on the HHC meetings and comments from readers.
Do your kids have health care insurance? You can register your children at the St. John Vianney Church Health Fair – even if yours is not a “low-income” family.
Lily Tenes of the St. John Vianney unit of PACT (People Acting in Community Together) points out that a lot of children don’t have health insurance now because their parents have lost their jobs and subsequently had to drop their insurance coverage. Many traditionally middle-income families are probably not aware that their children are eligible for one of several health programs.
On Sunday, May 16th, from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, PACT will organize a Health Fair at St. John Vianney where children can be registered for the Medi-Cal for Children, Healthy Families or Healthy Kids programs. PACT is concerned that the State may put a cap on children’s insurance when the budget comes up in June. Now’s the time to get kids registered ahead of the budget cutting.
The Health Fair will also feature other agencies and will provide information on dental health, vision, prescriptions, mental health and other health-related areas. There will also be entertainment, activities for kids and even some free health food giveaways.
St. John Vianney is located at 4600 Hyland Avenue. The event is free of charge.
Late in February, NNV reader, Barbara Springer, e-mailed us to ask us to forward the following message to Dorothy (“D.J.”) Johnson who writes every-other-month NNV articles on the birds of Alum Rock Park and its surrounds.
I enjoy your bird articles so much. I live on Clayton Road and have both woods and open grass areas on my property. I have seen most of the birds you write about around my property and I am slowly starting to identify them. I have many eight foot high wooden fence posts and want to install perches and/or bird houses to support the local birds. Do you have any suggestions or can you point me to resources that could help me? The types of questions I have are:
1) What types of birds would actually use a bird house that is eight feet off the ground? (I can install something to keep cats from climbing the posts.)
2) The posts are about one hundred and fifty feet apart, but in the corners three posts are within ten feet of each other. Can I put up three houses this close together or are there territorial issues?
3) Are there any particular birds that need more housing in this area?
4) I want to mount a few perches on some posts for birds of prey and owls (1/2 inch rebar, 2 feet long, mounted horizontally near the top of the post). Will this scare off birds from using the bird houses one hundred feet away?
D.J. e-mailed this response:
Thank you for your e-mail. I’m thrilled you want to put up some birdhouses. There are many species that could benefit from extra housing, especially Western Bluebirds. Many species are facing heavy competition for nest cavities, much of the competition coming from the European Starling, a non-native very aggressive cavity nester.
Other cavity nesters include Woodpeckers, Western Screech Owls and Kestrels. You might want to think about Barn Owl boxes, too. Your set-up sounds good to me, especially the posts that are one hundred fifty feet apart.
Each species of bird has special requirements for housing. I’m going to refer you to the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society for further info. Their e-mail address is email@example.com and the web site is www.scvas.org. Please keep me posted on your progress.
On April 15th, Barbara e-mailed NNV to bring us up to date on her wonderful success!
After hearing from Dorothy, I took her recommendation and chose to build nest boxes for Western Bluebirds. In March, I built and installed three nest boxes around my house. Plans for the nest boxes are readily available on the Internet. Within a week, a pair of Western Bluebirds began building a nest in one of the boxes (see picture). Bluebirds have two to three broods per season so I’m looking forward to seeing many young Bluebirds around my house in the coming weeks.
NNV Note: Click here to see Barbara's photo of the nest. Unfortunately, Barbara was premature in counting chicks. The breaking news as we went to press is that the Bluebird duo flew the coop and set up nestkeeping elsewhere. Barbara still has high hopes for her nest boxes, however.
The Youth Science Institute (YSI) is serving Dinner in the Dirt again. Last year’s premiere event was such a smash hit that an encore is irresistible!
Building upon and commemorating the YSI “Wonderful Wednesday” evening picnics in the park which were a tradition many years ago, Dinner in the Dirt revives that delightful custom. However, then there were rustic potlucks, now the event is a catered dinner (by Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme) served with linen napery, spectacular centerpieces, and fine wines. Uniformed waitstaff are at the diners’ beck and call, offering outstanding hors d’oeuvres, wine cocktails and beer.
You can hardly wait? Make sure you receive an invitation! Call YSI at (408) 356-4945 ext. 10. Then mark your calendar for Wednesday, June 23rd, 5:30 PM to Sunset.
Click here to see some photos from last year. Use the Back button on your Web browser to return to this edition.
The San Jose Cal-SOAP program hosted the Brain Buster Tournament on April 21, 2004. Students from Pala Middle School participated in the tournament that took place at The Alum Rock Youth Center. The Brain Buster Tournament required students to play games such as Shape by Shape, Set, and Quiddler. These games require visual perception and imagination in order to win. The students competed for educational related prizes like school planners that contained calculators, rulers, pens, and organizational tools. Students who participated in the tournament received free pizza and beverages.
The first game students participated in was Shape by Shape, supervised by Salvador Quintero. In Shape by Shape the player is given fourteen puzzle pieces, and a card with a picture. The players have to use the pieces to match the picture on the card. The student who finished the puzzle in the fastest time was the winner. After six rounds, first and second place winners were selected. The first place winner was Chris Martinez, followed by a close second place winner in Luis Martinez.
The second Brain Buster game played was Set, supervised by Kevin Nguyen. The objective of Set is to identify sets of three cards. Each card is unique in its four features: numbers (1,2,3); symbol (diamond, squiggle, or oval); shading: (solid, striped, or open); and color (red, green or purple). A set consist of three cards on which each feature is either the same on all the cards, or different on all of the cards. The winners of Set were Antonio Chavez coming in first place with fifteen sets, and Briana Arriola coming in second place with ten sets.
The third game in the Brain Buster tournament was Quiddler, administered by Jennifer Pineda. The objective of Quiddler is to combine all three cards in your hand into a word. The word can be any type of everyday word. There are eight rounds in the game; it starts with three cards and progresses to four until the maximum number of cards (ten) is reached. Each card has a point value that is accumulated as words are formed. At the end, the player with the most points in his word or words wins. The first place winner of Quiddler was Esteban Lopez, who earned 154 points. The second place winner, Melissa Chavez, came in with 112 points.
The Brain Buster tournament was a big success. Students were already asking when the next tournament would take place. Students were entertained as well as excited to receive free pizza for their participation. Hopefully this tournament can be expanded to more schools in San Jose, as well as the Bay Area.
Click here for photos from this event.
NNV Note: San Jose Cal-SOAP (California Student Opportunity and Access Program) provides college information and assistance for students in the Greater San Jose area. The program provides outreach services to elementary, middle, high school and community college students who are low-income and/or first-generation college attendees. Click here for the San Jose Cal-SOAP Web site.
We have a new neighbor doing business in the Country Club Plaza shopping center just to the east of Save Mart. While sewing machines and vacuum cleaners are not exactly the sexiest or trendiest gizmos of the 21st Century, they are traditional mainstays in our households and they’re not going away anytime soon. Dave Ellis and his son Jon have moved their longtime local sales and service shop from the Long’s/Albertson’s center at White and Aborn Roads. Dave says that he moved his shop because it could be larger and better equipped here on McKee Road and he likes his new landlord waaaay better!
As it happens, your domestically inclined NNV editor has a sewing machine very much in need of maintenance and she is thrilled to be able to take it to a close-by location. (It’s really heavy!) She realizes that many folks have abandoned sewing in these busy times, but she also knows that virtually every household has a vacuum cleaner - or needs a vacuum cleaner - or needs to have a vacuum cleaner serviced. And, what could be nicer than a friendly, trustworthy little shop located right where we buy our groceries?
Dave and Jon (and Marjorie - who will become a household word in our neighborhood, Dave assures us) are planning big, Grand Opening events on May 7th, 8th and 9th. So, when you’re at Save Mart to grocery shop or at the Coffee Cup to schmooze on that Friday, Saturday or Sunday, drop in and meet Dave, Jon and Marjorie. (You probably need a new supply of vacuum cleaner bags anyway, right?) They’ll be giving away a sewing machine and a vacuum cleaner as well as smaller prizes. And there will be “specials on everything,” per Dave.
Their business card reads, “Household – Industrial – Sales – Service – Parts – Embroidery” You can find out the details at their website, www.sew-vac.net.
When driving by the south side of the Lick High School campus, westbound drivers are always distracted by the challenges of buses pulling out of the bus-stop, cars exiting the school parking lot (hidden by the buses until it’s almost too late to brake for them) and occasionally folks nonchalantly jaywalking across Alum Rock Avenue. So, it’s no wonder if few people have focused on the wonderful new young sycamore trees planted in the tree pockets all along the edge of the sidewalk.
On a late March Saturday, five neighbors got together with sixteen volunteers from Our City Forest to fill all the empty tree spaces around the high school - and the gaps on both sides of the street all the way down the street to Calvary Cemetery. There are now many healthy ten-foot-tall saplings straining at their tethers and braving the Avenue breezes as they put down their roots to become the mature trees which will provide shade for the next generation of high school students.
All the trees, stakes and other planting materials were provided by Our City Forest. The sweat and elbow grease were provided by OCF volunteers and the small band of local volunteers. The commitment to water these young beauties rests with volunteers who signed “watering contracts” and with the high school which needed only to take on the responsibility of adding the new trees’ water needs to those of previously planted ones which they were already tending.
One small tragedy has occurred, however. Midway between the school parking lot and Fire Station #2, one tree has been vandalized – broken off about four feet from the ground. To NNV, it looked as though it had survived the insult, but its “leader” is now truncated so it can never join its fellow trees in making a tall continuous arbor along the north side of the street. One hopes that Our City Forest and our Neighbor-Volunteers will be able to replace that tree with another which will catch up to its fellows. And, one hopes, the vandal who perhaps accidentally broke off that little tree, regrets his callous act and will defend the young trees from here on out. Perhaps he might realize that he and his future wife might enjoy the un-interrupted shade of this allee of trees when they stroll Alum Rock Avenue shepherding their young family of toddlers and babes in strollers.
Click here to see the new trees. Meanwhile, The Village is still awash in trash – now it’s coming up over the curbs. Click here for a photo. Something has got to be done about this mess! But we're making progress on the election signs - click here for a recent photo - and we're happy to report that as of April 23th, the Joe Coto sign has also been removed.
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Area gardeners, both "Master" and casual, share their wisdom and experiences with East side gardening and related topics here.
Call the Master Gardener Hotline at (408) 299-2638 with your gardening questions or check out our website at www.mastergardeners.org/scc.html.
Powdery Mildew: This fungus produces a white powdery appearance on leaves and sometimes other green plant parts. It can be found on roses, dahlias, chrysanthemums, peas, chard, and squash. Some rose varieties are so susceptible that you should think about 'root pruning' (dig it up). An effective non-toxic spray can be made with baking soda. To each gallon of water add 3-4 teaspoons of salad oil and 3-4 teaspoons of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda and mix well. Use a fine spray and apply to affected plants. This can also help prevent black spot on roses and some foliar vegetable diseases. Some plants may show some sensitivity. See the Pest Note on Powdery Mildew at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7493.html for more information.
Ants: The first step of ant control is clean up any food crumbs or spills that might attract the ants. Store food in tight containers. Next, keep the ants out by caulking cracks and crevices. Use baits such as stakes or stations. Place baits in locations that are not accessible to pets or children. Control with baits can take several weeks. If ants are a problem in trees, control them by applying a sticky substance such as Tanglefoot on top of a tree wrap of tape or fabric. Check every two weeks to renew. The pest note is www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html.
Carpenter Bees: These bees are similar in appearance to bumble bees, are about an inch long and do not sting. They are considered beneficial insects because they pollinate many plants and trees. They tunnel into unpainted softwood such as pine, fir and redwood to make nests. Adults overwinter in the nests, emerge in the spring, mate, deposit food in the tunnels and lay eggs. The tunnels are sealed with wood pulp and the new adults chew their way out. After the bees emerge, fill the holes with steel wool and wood filler. Apply paint to the surface to prevent re-entry. Further information is available at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7417.html.
Earwigs: Earwigs are second only to snails and slugs in plant damage. They can be beneficial as they eat insects such as aphids, but unfortunately they also feed on soft plants. Earwigs can do quite a lot of damage if there is a high population. They feed at night and hide in moist, tight-fitting places during the day. Trap them by putting out moistened, tightly rolled newspaper or corrugated cardboard in the evening. In the morning dispose of the paper and the trapped insects. Another method of control is a covered container such as a small margarine tub with holes cut halfway up the sides. Pour in about an inch of soy sauce and a thin layer of vegetable oil in the container. Empty as needed. Other control methods are available at www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74102.html.
Gophers: Gophers or more properly Pocket Gophers make their presence known with crescent shaped mounds of dirt in the garden. Snacking on plant and tree roots as they tunnel through the soil, they are active year round and can have up to three litters per year in well watered areas. They can also gnaw on irrigation lines and divert water into their tunnels, making it difficult to properly water plants. Adults live about three years. Homeowners can use several methods to control them. Locating the main tunnel is the first step. Placing Macabee or box traps or poison baits is explained in detail in www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7433.html. Another method involves excluding them with wire fencing. Ultrasonic devices and chewing gum have not proved successful.
Mulching: As summer nears and efficient watering practice becomes more important, mulching is an effective technique to keep soil temperatures even, to retain moisture and to prevent weeds from germinating. Mulching with organic matter such as chipped tree trimmings, compost, or barks not only reduces water usage but also improves the organic content and texture of soil. Apply at least two to three inches of material (three to six inches of larger bark pieces), keeping it several inches away from the trunks of trees and shrubs to prevent crown rot. Renew every few years as it decomposes and enriches the soil.
When we landscaped our home garden with California natives three years ago, the first couple of seasons our plants were small. To fill out the beds, we planted wildflowers, and by the second spring, every inch of space in every bed was filled to overflowing with poppies and clarkias. We couldn’t have been more pleased.
It wasn’t until the onset of summer that we came face to face with the flip side of gardening with wildflowers. For half the year -- after the plants drop seed at the end of spring, and before the rains in late fall -- there is not much to see in a wildflower bed other than dead, dry stalks. If you like neat-looking beds, you will have to remove the dead stalks and save the seeds for later use. If you have to maintain several large beds, this can become a tedious seasonal chore.
Moreover, during their period of active growth in winter and spring, wildflowers can shade out other smaller plants, causing them to become stunted or die from lack of light. I have damaged or lost young ceanothuses and buckwheats because I didn’t have the heart to cut back the wildflowers. Now, after three years, some parts of my garden still have a first-year look because the plants are so small. The lesson: don’t allow wildflowers to shade out small shrubs and perennials.
Well, there is no reason you can’t enjoy both wildflowers as well as perennials. Your garden can get its dose of wildflower color during spring, yet maintain interest during summer and fall with well-chosen complementary perennials. In this article I encourage you to consider planting two types of perennials, bunchgrasses and forbs (broad-leaved herbs other than grass), with the wildflowers to provide year-round interest.
First, the bunchgrasses. The dictionary defines a bunchgrass as “any of various grasses of many genera that grow in tufts or clumps rather than forming a sod or mat; chiefly of western United States.” California bunchgrasses are perennials that live for many years. They survive the summer and fall with the help of deep root systems. In the absence of water, they turn brown and go dormant, but with added water, they will stay green throughout the year.
In nature, bunchgrasses often grow side by side with wildflowers. In a garden, bunchgrasses tolerate summer water and fit into a variety of garden situations. Here are some that have done well in my San Jose home:
Purple Needlegrass (Nassella pulchra): The basal leaves of this grass support airy culms topped by long-awned seeds swaying gently in the wind. They add motion and drama to the garden with the slightest breeze. Cutting the dry leaves back at the end of fall will force new green growth.
Pine Bluegrass (Poa secunda): This bunchgrass looks great throughout the year. In winter, its luxuriant green leaves arch upwards and outwards from the center before falling back to touch the ground. In spring, the flowering culms change color from a creamy green to a bluish purple for a striking effect.
Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha): The smallest bunchgrass in my garden grows 1’ wide by 1’ tall, and fits in nicely between poppies and cream cups.
California Fescue (Festuca californica): This bluish gray bunchgrass prefers shade, and grows in the wild in the shade of buckeyes and manzanitas. The leaves form a large pompom at ground level 2’ in diameter, and the flowering culms rise as high as 4’-5’. Mine are planted in the shade of a fig tree interspersed with Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea).
Foothill Sedge (Carex tumulicola): If you recall the rhyme, “Sedges have edges, and rushes are round, and grasses have leaves down to the ground,” you can readily see this plant is a sedge, not a grass. It was discovered by our own Jeff Caldwell in Cupertino; it was propagated and introduced to the trade by the East Bay Botanical Gardens, hence it is also known as Berkeley Sedge. It is one of the most handsome plants in my garden, 6” high and 2’ in diameter, with a perfect circular, fountain-like shape. It grows equally well in sun as well as shade, and doesn’t demand irrigation. Long after the wildflowers are gone, its rich green color and artistic form commands attention.
You don’t have to rely only on bunchgrasses. There are several easy to grow native perennials that can add color and interest to your beds.
Sulfur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum polyanthum): On the Going Native Garden Tour this year, this small plant was the star of the front yard: a low, mounding shrub (1’ by 2’) topped with lemon yellow flowers that the insects seem to love. On this native of the Shasta range, the flowers last and last, eventually turning reddish brown. Its small spoon-shaped leaves look neat throughout the year, and are flecked with red during the height of winter.
Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus): You can see this perennial favorite (also called Blue Bedder Penstemon) growing along road cuts on Mt. Hamilton Road. Its blue-purple flowers attract hummingbirds and bees. Plant it on a slope or in soil with good drainage. Cut back the flowering stalks before they go to seed to prolong its life.
Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malvaeflora): Judith Lowry, the author of Gardening With a Wild Heart, introduced us to this lovely local native. This ground hugging plant has dark green round leaves, and sends forth stalks of lovely pink flowers with veined petals during spring. In summer, it will go dormant without added water, but it returns predictably during the winter.
Mountain Iris (Iris douglasiana): This may be the best known among native irises, with delicate, brilliant purple flowers in spring. The sword-like dark green leaves attain an architectural quality as the underground bulbs grow and multiply. Does best in part shade. Pulling brown leaves encourages new leaf growth.
California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum canum): In late fall, when nothing else is blooming, this ground-hugging perennial looks striking with its tubular red flowers. Hummers fight over the feeding rights at my garden over this plant. Does well in clay or well-draining soil without added water. With water, it can become invasive.
* * *
I hope this list gives you some ideas for plants to introduce to your garden. Whenever you choose native plants, you provide one more element in the habitat mosaic for insects, butterflies, and birds which depend on them for food and shelter.
If you plant any of these plants in the coming months, remember to water them regularly, at least 1-2 times a week, during the first season. In the second season, you can reduce your watering schedule. By the third season they should be well established and not require additional water to survive.
Happy native gardening!
Sources of California Native Plants/Seeds:
Common natives can be found at most commercial nurseries, like Summerwinds, Orchard Supply, or Home Depot. The following nurseries specialize in native plants and carry a much wider selection.
|Larner Seeds||www.larnerseeds.com||(415) 868-9407||P.O. Box 407, Bolinas, CA 94924|
|Yerba Buena Nursery||www.yerbabuenanursery.com||(650) 851-1668||19500 Skyline Blvd., Woodside, CA 94062|
|Native Revival Nursery||www.nativerevival.com||(831) 684-1811||2600 Mar Vista Dr., Aptos, CA 95003|
|Rana Creek Nursery||www.ranacreek.com||(831) 659-4851||35351 E Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel, CA 93924|
|Elkhorn Nursery||www.elkhornnursery.com||(831) 763-1207||P.O. Box 270, Moss Landing, CA 95039|
Arvind Kumar’s garden was one of 32 home gardens featured on the Going Native Garden Tour in April 2004 (see story just below). You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Sunday, April 18th, was a perfectly sprinkley, gray sort of day for the “Going Native” Garden Tour. The plants and flowers loved a respite from the spring sun and so did the gardeners who came to admire them. NNV visited the two close-by gardens and saw marvelous horticultural creations designed and tended by Bracey Tiede and Arvind Kumar. These names should sound familiar to NNV’s garden readers because Bracey is a Master Gardener who writes a monthly “Hot Topics” column which she shares with us and Arvind is the native plant guru who writes frequently in NNV about growing native plants in our area (see their May articles above).
Arvind’s garden, naturally, (pun intended, of course) features nearly 100% native species. Only his fruit trees and a very occasional specimen are non-native. The lush grape vine growing on the arbor over his three-seater lawn swing is an example of the California native grape which is used as the disease-resistant root stock for much of the wine grapes here and in Europe. Arvind says that the fruit is small and the seeds are large, but the juice is intensely delicious.
It’s no accident that mid-April was chosen as the time for the tour. Spring is the time when California native plants bloom their lovely fragile hearts out - to set seed before the rigors of the summer’s dryness parch them into submission. In Arvind’s garden, the wispy, delicate, coral colored Clarkia intertwined with golden poppies created a dazzling treat for the eyes.
Arvind’s garden has been created over just the last several years. Many of the plants – even the trees! - are ones which he started from seed. Apparently he has the infinite patience necessary to create a slowly evolving tapestry of color and texture, lovingly shepherding and nurturing each individual plant to its fullest potential. His passion produces glorious results!
Bracey’s California-Mediterranean garden on Clayton Road is older and more established. About a third of her plants and trees are natives. She has species from all over the world’s Mediterranean-type climates blooming year-round in a carefully planned, environmentally sensitive environment. Hers is a “working garden” where one can see the underpinnings – not a manicured Sunset magazine sort of place. Bracey’s Rockroses (in several types and colors) are phenomenal. And, she’s a walking talking resource book ready to answer just about any garden question. Most apparent is that she puts into practice the same golden rules of gardening that she writes about.
A familiar face was at the registration table in front of Bracey’s garage.
“Do I know you?” asked your editor. “I don’t know,” was the reply, “my name is
Lisa Krieger.” Aha! This modest lady is a frequent guest on Belva Davis’ Friday
evening This Week in San Francisco television program and a writer for the San
Jose Mercury News. Asked how she knew Lisa, Bracey said, “I don’t! She just
volunteered to work hosting the table for the day.” Lisa says she lives in Palo
Alto, so volunteering in East San Jose that Sunday was a really generous act.
There was quite a busy flow of traffic around Arvind’s neighborhood (near White and Quimby Roads) and around Bracey’s, too. If you missed this year’s Going Native Tour, be sure to put it on your mental calendar for next spring. You won’t be sorry!
Click here to see photos of Arvind's garden and here for photos of Bracey's garden.
Honestly, it was only a misunderstanding. But try telling that to the bus-driver.
One Monday morning, as usual, your editor walked past the stopped #64 bus in its far-east terminus slot near the Country Club entrance. Although she greatly espouses bus-riding, she never avails herself of a ride down the hill, preferring instead, to hoof it down Alum Rock Avenue to White Road to burn a few calories.
On this particular morning, she ignored the dozing bus moored in the bus stop and she schlepped over the Miguelito Bridge. Upon arriving at the west end of the bridge and descending onto the graveled area there, she was beset suddenly by a persistent rapid honking, “Beep! – Beep! – Beep! – Beep! – Beep! – Beep!”
The honking bus overtook your plodding editor and swerved precipitously onto the gravel where it threw on its brakes and came to a crunching halt. “There must be some emergency on the bus,” she thought, “maybe the driver needs help!”
She peered in the closed door of the bus and gestured for the driver to open it. “Are you getting in?” asked the driver politely. “No thanks,” she answered equally politely, “do you have a problem?”
Well, that driver’s face was so stricken that you would have thought he’d been punched in the nose. “How rude!,” he said, his eyes narrowed in his angry, contorted face. “How rude of you! And, here I even waited for you!” (Well, actually, he hadn’t, but who was to argue?)
Your editor is not exactly the type given to sassing bus-drivers – she’s a small blond lady in her sixties, given to wearing a purple plastic visor, dark green flood pants and orthopedic shoes. What the bus-driver perceived instead, was some old harridan who was capable of sarcastically uttering, “Do YOU have a prob-blem (dewd)?
It was your editor’s turn to wear that stricken expression as she tried to think of the right turn of phrase to assure the angry bus-driver that there was no hidden agenda in her honest query. (“I should have asked, ‘Is there a problem on the bus?’ or ‘Is there an emergency?’” she thought as she tried to get her mouth around an explanation.) All she could sputter was, “Wait, please wait!”
But NO, the driver would give no quarter to such a rude old crone and he angrily snapped the bus door shut in her face, accelerated abruptly and left her standing bewildered in a cloud of gravel dust.
Continuing her stroll down the hill, your mortified editor thought and thought about how she could right the injustice of being scorned and dissed by this stubbornly unreceptive man.
And then it came to her. Perhaps it was a compliment that this young driver thought her capable of sardonic cynicism, thought her a crusty old dame ready to fire off an in-your-face challenge at a bus-driver who dared interrupt her solitude with his bleeping, beeping bus. “Who wants to be a predictable mealy-mouthed old lady, anyway?” she pondered.
So, holding tightly to that thought, your editor quickened her pace down the hill, and, smiling to herself, vowed not to disappoint His Royal Rudeness. Next time she saw that dude, she’d raise her fist and shake it at him. And sneer! And, if she had her umbrella along, she’d shake that at him, too. Take that, you insolent young puppy!
You got a problem with that?
Click here for a "photo" of your editor and the bus.
|What on earth is happening at White Rock Café? And at Card and Party?|
|Is that really yet-another FIG being implemented in The Village?|
|Has any light been shed on the plans for the Alum Rock Feed & Fuel corner?|
|Anything new on the Alum Rock Stables situation?|
|Has NNV changed its links to the Mercury News? Why do I have to sign in now?|
|But I did get a nasty spam that appeared to come from NNV. Did NNV send it?|
A. Well, it seems the restaurant business has been sold and White-Rock-Café-as-we-knew-it will be no more. But ………. the signs in the window indicate that our neighborhood will now have a new restaurant to be called “Thai White Rock Café.” NNV peeked in the window one day in mid-April and saw that there is still the same weird old Roman Ruin décor, but now there are some new Siamese elements including a parade of three small black elephants lumbering along the window sill. The old Café was a favorite of many NNV readers and it will be missed terribly. Its longevity always was a bit unpredictable, but we can be glad we had its consistently good cuisine for so many years. The T.W.R.C. is probably open now and waiting for our patronage. Let’s show the new owners that we really care about good food in Alum Rock Village.
And, speaking of Alum Rock Avenue businesses changing hands, you’ve probably noticed that the Card and Party store in the old Wells Fargo Bank building is going out of business. NNV dropped in on owner, Sandy Callahan, the other day and discovered that she and her husband, Neil, are Canon Vista Drive neighbors. They bought the building directly from Wells Fargo Bank and have tried to make a go of the party supply business ever since they moved it from the corner of Alum Rock Avenue and Capitol Avenue. When “East – The Neighborhood Voice” was still a going concern, Sandy and Neil rented upstairs space to editor Jason Rodriguez.
For some reason, a shop selling greeting cards and party items just can make it on Alum Rock Avenue. Sandy said wistfully, “It’s just been terrible” (trying to make a success of the business.) They’ve heard from many customers who wish that the bank branch had never closed and think that it would be nice to have it back. The Callahans proposed leasing the building back to Wells Fargo, but the bank feels that it’s already stretched too thin.
The shop is winding down now and everything is marked 75% off. Sandy thinks they will stay open until around May 21st. After that date, all the leftover merchandise will be donated to schools and organizations which have asked to have the leftovers. There are still plenty of interesting napkins, party favors, photo albums, invitations, seasonal decor and miscellaneous frou-frou for sale. Think about it …………………… seventy-five percent OFF!
Click here for some photos of Thai White Rock Café.
A. NNV doesn’t know what magic is involved in what seems to be a pretty steady flow of dollars for cosmetic improvements in The Village, but Mario’s barbershop and next-door neighbor Marco Rodriguez’ “Jewelry Designs by Marco” are the current candidates. NNV dropped in on Marco and viewed the blueprints for the new double-storefront façade. It will include the ubiquitous, but “Village-ish,” awning spanning the tops of the front doors, tidy compatible signage on the windows, and three gooseneck lighting fixtures per business. The old wooden elements of the existing facades are quite worn and dog-eared. Marco was a tiny bit impatient with the Redevelopment Agency; it seems they pulled off the old trim and signage weeks ago leaving the businesses looking really ratty and forlorn as they wait for new trim.
Click here for some photos of Mario's and Marco's.
A. Yes indeed! An avid NNV subscriber shared some information which had come his way. He says there are some “impossible to work with” problems with the setbacks (sidewalks, property lines and parking spaces) which will make it very difficult for the eventual developers to “turn a dollar” unless they build a three to four story complex with housing units above retail units. (Think Japantown style.) NNV wonders whether such a tall structure would be compatible with all the single story businesses in the Village, but, of course, if one or some of those retail units are home to good restaurants, should we quibble? We’re looking forward to Councilmember Campos’ community meeting(s) where we’ll get to give our feedback. Stay tuned.
Click here for photos of the Alum Rock Feed & Fuel corner. Use the Back button on your Web Browser to return to this edition.
A. Well, no, they’re not! It seems that the City will guarantee BABTT (Bay Area Barns and Trails Trust) only a renewable three-year driveway easement. The City says there is such a three year limit on park easements “unless the voters of San Jose agreed to change policy on this particular project.”
This is a real fly in the ointment! BABTT can’t go to the effort and expense of saving and renovating the stable property without a guarantee that the property will always be accessible. Their aim has been to preserve the property as a horse stable in perpetuity. Renewing a driveway easement every three years doesn’t make it sound as though the City wants to make a long-term commitment, does it? Three years! It does seem that the City is being arbitrary. Putting this little park easement on the ballot in November seems a foolishly expensive procedure.
Is there not someone who can sort out the priorities and allow the stables to be restored as a rare Alum Rock Park neighborhood asset? The City is quite aware that the stables property owner has patiently waited to sell his land for more than two years now. He can’t wait forever while the City makes BABTT jump through more hoops. Would the City really prefer to see a couple of “Trophy Mansions” built on this property overlooking Alum Rock Park?
Click here for photos of the Alum Rock Stables. Use the Back button on your Web Browser to return to this edition.
A. NNV hasn’t changed these links. The Mercury News has introduced a new “registration and member benefits program” as explained (buried in their contest page) at http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/contests/#note (you won’t need to sign in to read about this program!). Their note says:
“We are excited about some changes and great giveaways at MercuryNews.com, the Web site of The San Jose Mercury News. MercuryNews.com has introduced a free member benefits program and a site registration format. These steps will help us shape content and features that better serve our readers and advertisers.
You are now invited to complete a brief, one-time sign-up process in order to read articles on the Web site. When you sign up, you automatically will be entered into a drawing to win valuable prizes -- and you can choose to receive email newsletters that make you eligible to win Sharks season tickets, a $1,000 gas card, or season tickets to American Musical Theater!
MercuryNews.com respects your privacy. We will not:
• share your information with third
parties without your permission;
• spam you
Of course, the content and services on MercuryNews.com remain free.”
The Mercury News may be “excited” about this new plan but we’re not. We are Mercury News subscribers and we appreciate our local newspaper. That’s why we read it and link to stories. We bet that we do a lot more to promote MN readership than most other readers do (we do view ourselves as an MN promoter – NNV is certainly not a competitor).
A. We also have received spam that appeared to come from NNV. Sometimes it appears to be from one NNV e-mail address to another NNV address. You can be sure we didn’t send any spam to you. We send our new edition e-mails and alerts only to our “opt-in” subscribers (and we send Complimentary Copies to a few elected officials and others). Our how to unsubscribe info is in all these e-mails. Click here to read more about what we do to avoid sending you spam or viruses (and what you can do to avoid them).
Then how did you get that spam that appeared to come from NNV? Our own NNV e-mail addresses are on our Web site and they are “harvested” by nasty programs that use them to send spam to us and that appears to come from us. That’s why the advice is never to reply to spam – replies just confirm an e-mail address (yours!) which can then be sold (and you know what that leads to).
Your e-mail addresses are not on our Web site (unless you are a writer and have given us permission to use your e-mail address). If you are getting spam that appears to be from us, you can be sure that the spammers didn’t get your address from us.
We are actually optimistic about e-mail even though there is lots of spam. Most of the spam sent to our e-mail addresses is caught by our ISP’s spam filters with almost no false positives. Spam is a big problem but the key is not to try to fight it by yourself.
Words of wisdom: J.E. Blanton, the Eastside guru of printing at Foothill Printers told NNV the other day that he had solved the problem of not being very good at spelling. “I married the valedictorian!” He summed up his profound philosophy by adding that, “It’s always a good idea to marry “up.”
Of course these dictums require a boatload of humility and modesty, but there’s nothing wrong with that, hey?
E-mail us at JudyET@NNVESJ.org or fax to (408) 272-4040. Please limit letters to a few hundred words (shorter items are more likely to be used in the newsletter and read) and include your name and phone number in case we have questions. Contributions may be edited for content and space requirements. Want to take photos, write articles or essays? Please let us know!
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Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson, 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127
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Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson. All rights reserved. Updated 10/2/06.