I promise you two rose gardens

I promise you two rose gardens

At the Municipal Rose Garden in San Jose the smell is overwhelmingly luxurious.

Roses at the Municipal Rose Garden in San JoseNames like love song, white delight, jump for joy, sparkle & shine, passionate kisses speak to the traditional use of roses as a gift for the loved one.

Here you see a lot of people stopping and smelling the roses, taking pictures and wandering in awe. A perfect location for wedding photos.

 

Only 1.5 miles to the north, up Naglee Ave is San Jose’s Heritage Rose Garden. First I thought it odd to Roses at the Heritage Rose Garden in San Josehave two rose garden so close to each other. But the two could not be more different. There was no one else around when I explored the garden. So close to the street I thought the smell was fuel, but I only had to wait a few minutes to realize the the garden is on the flight path of San Jose airport and most likely the smell was kerosene. In between planes it is actually a quiet place and the amount of roses shows that the purpose of this garden is to preserve them. With almost 3,500 plants and 3,000 varieties from heritage to modern to miniature roses, this is an amazing experience. So, if you are a true rose aficionado this might be the place for you.

Where do you stop and smell the roses?

Find the path to run

Find the path to run

This Saturday (5/13/17) is the 16th Annual Los Altos Hills Pathways Run/Walk. It’s a 5K, 10K or 1M Fun Run.

This year’s motto is ‘Color my run’ and if you participate you will get a t-shirt to color in your way and a coloring book. The event starts at the Westwind Community Barn and runs through the Byrne Preserve, a hilly and challenging endeavor.

Los Altos Hills pathIf you prefer to explore Los Altos Hills pathways without a crowd challenge I advise you to get the pathways map from the Los Altos town hall ($4). This pathways system is quite unique in it’s vastness and it is used by school children, walkers, horseback riders and bicyclists alike. So, please observe the 3 Cs – common sense, courtesy and communication and enjoy your path.

 

Do you know of any hidden pathways in the Bay Area?

 

Catch some chrysanthemum

Catch some chrysanthemum

Redwood City used to be know in 1926 as the ‘Chrysanthemum Center of the World’. When Jane Kim was asked to paint six murals the original idea was to have local dogs in funny poses. Now there is only one dog in the series called Flora from Fauna, the rest are local animals like squirrels and foxes all with chrysanthemums.

Mural by Jane KimI love the whimsical idea of the flowers engaging with the animals. Kim brought attention to the historical importance of the flower industry by Japanese immigrants and is also an advocate for wildlife. When I walked around Redwood City I saw 3 of the murals, all impressive in their attention to detail.

 

This is a great addition to the public art works in Redwood City. Mural by Jane Kim

Check out the murals here:

  • Arthur Murray Dance Studio at 2065 Broadway,
  • Cafe La Tartine at 830 Middlefield Road,
  • Polam Federal Credit Union at 770 Marshall St.,
  • Marshall Street Parking Garage at 750 Marshall St.,
  • Behind the theater at 870 Jefferson Ave.
  • City Hall bench

 

For more information:

http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2017-03-23/creating-path-for-public-art-downtown-redwood-city-flora-from-fauna-murals-set-to-spark-conversation/1776425177710.html#sthash.VGUr4X8a.dpuf

https://medium.com/redwood-city-voice/historical-blog-series-industries-7d370790d4bc

http://sf.curbed.com/platform/amp/2017/3/24/15053718/redwood-city-jane-kim-murals-art

 

Do you have a favorite mural?

Watch some whales

Watch some whales

Whale watching is an activity you can do almost year round in the Bay Area. I have never been whale watching on a boat – that is still on my to-do list, but the gray whales migrate and swim quite close to shore, so sometimes you can get lucky and see the giants from land.

From December to May the gray whales migrate back from Mexico. First the males and the juveniles and later when the babies have some blubber the mothers with their babies. Orkas, not really whales but named killer whales, can be seen then too hunting the baby gray whales. Humpback whales and blue whales are in the Monterey Submarine Canyon from mid April to December.

Ms. Blue, a blue whale skeleton outside of Seymour Marine Discovery CenterIf you want to get an idea of size of a whale I recommend stopping by the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Outside is what might be the world’s longest blue whale skeleton, Ms. Blue is an impressive 87 feet long! They also have a grey whale skeleton. I took the tour – which comes with the $8 admission, the volunteer was very knowledgeable and they let you touch some baleen, the whales filter system for eating. Plus you can pet a shark and some other ocean creatures inside the center.

Where do you go whale watching?

Stand up for science

Stand up for science

April 22nd 2017 is Earth Day and you can support your scientist by marching. Many of the marches end with an Earth Day celebration, or with activities for kids. A great way to introduce the importance of marching for democratic rights to your children.

Science not Silence, pin designed by  Penelope Dullaghan
Science not Silence pin designed by
Penelope Dullaghan

Like the Women’s March on January 21st, the March for Science’s biggest crowds are expected in Washington D.C. But there are eight satellite marches in the Bay Area where you can show your support:

 

San Francisco Start: Justin Herman Plaza, 11:00 AM; End: Civic Center Plaza

San Jose Start: San Jose City Hall, 11:00 AM; End: Plaza de Cesar Chavez

Santa Cruz Start: Santa Cruz City Hall, 10:00 AM; End: San Lorenzo Park

Pacifica Start: 2:30 PM, from Linda Mar Beach to Rockaway Beach and back

Walnut Creek Start: Civic Park, 10:00 AM

Livermore Start and End: Livermore High School; 1:00 PM

Hayward Start: Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, 10:00 AM

Berkeley Start: Sproul Plaza, 4:00 PM

Here is a list of Earth Day events in the Bay Area:

http://www.bayareaearthday.org/bayareaearthdayevents/

 

Will you stand up for science?

Hunt for wildflowers

Hunt for wildflowers

We made it out of the drought and one of the perks after a rainy season is the abundance of wildflowers. While the ‘super-bloom’ refers more to fields in Southern California, here in the Northern part are also fast amounts of wildflowers.

Edgewood park in Redwood City is offering a free docent led tour every Saturday and Sunday at 10 am. This popular event draws so many people that they offer a free shuttle from East Palo Alto over to San Mateo.

Wild flower at Edgewood parkI visited on Tuesday morning and walked by myself. It was a stunning hike, which starts out uphill but shady, and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of the Bay. Plus, I found more than 20 different wildflowers along the way. Some of these flowers are tiny, which makes me wonder if our store bought flowers are on steroids.

For your convenience, the Edgewood Park also has a web page dedicated to what’s blooming this month, so you can look up the names of the flowers you saw. Happy hunting!
What is your favorite place to see wildflowers?

Read a used book

Read a used book

Used books make me feel great – less trash produced and less money spent. Now I have another reason: money raised for the San Mateo Historical Association.

The Encore Books on the Square store below the history museum in Redwood City is one of the largest used bookstores on the Peninsula.  

On April 8th and 9th from 10 am – 3 pm they hold their semi annual book sale; all 50% off.

Paperback section at Encore Books in Redwood CityI just found my book club book for this month there for $1.50. The German section has about 50 books and I loved their extensive cookbooks. The volunteers are very helpful and knowledgeable. I will be back soon.
What is your go-to used bookstore?

Come out and play

Come out and play

My son passed the age of playgrounds, but when he was a toddler and even up to young teen he loved climbing and sliding.

So, whenever I see a cool playground I remember the good times.

Slide at Las Palmas park in SunnyvaleThe playground at Las Palmas Park in Sunnyvale is one of those fun, creative hang-out spots. There are two playgrounds right next to each other, one for toddlers, one for 4 – 12 year olds. And if you‘ve got a ball player, there is even a great grass field.

Head statue at the Las Palmas park in SunnyvaleThe bigger playground is surrounded by water and some interesting sculptures. In the drought they don’t fill the pond which makes the heads look even more fascinating, plus not having water around makes it safer for toddlers. If there is water collecting in the pond it is left-over from the rain we had recently.

Here is a review from Silicon Valley Toddler with a lot of risk management features:

http://svtoddler.blogspot.com/2013/09/playground-review-las-palmas-park.html

 

Which one is your favorite playground in the Bay Area?

Smell the blossoms in the Valley of Heart’s Delight

Smell the blossoms in the Valley of Heart’s Delight

“No brush can paint the picture

No pen describe the sight

That one can find in April

In the Valley of Heart’s Delight”

Poem: The Valley of Heart’s Delight by Clara Louise Lawrence

 

Postcard of automobile routes around Santa Clara Valley to view spring blossoms, circa 1940.Before there was Silicon Valley this part of the world was known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight. It used to be orchards everywhere. A few of these orchards have been kept, most a fractions of their original size, but still a pretty sight in bloom. Back in the 1940 there was even an automobile tour around Santa Clara to see the blossoms. In a postcard from that time the blooming times were stated as: Almonds: Jan 15 to Feb 15, Apricots: Feb 23rd to March 1, Prunes: March 15 to March 22, Cherries: March 22 to April 5

Cherry blossomsThe Heritage Museum in Sunnyvale has an Apricot orchard, but unfortunately they have already bloomed. Now it is time to see the cherry blossoms. A patch of the old Olson’s cherry orchard can be found at S. Mathilda Ave in Sunnyvale, near the tennis courts.

 

Do you know of any other orchards in the Valley of Heart’s Delight?

 

Spot some hummingbirds

Spot some hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds in the world. They get their name from the humming sound they create by beating their wings about 50 times per second. I have always been fascinated by them and they give me joy when I spot them.

 

Hummingbird at the Hummingbird trail at UC Santa Cruz ArboretumThe UC Santa Cruz Arboretum has a hummingbird trail where the plants in bloom are sure to attract the little birds. For $5 you can wander the grounds and learn about plants from all over the world. And if you like to see more flying objects, they also have a butterfly walk. Butterfly chart from the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

 

Where do you spot hummingbirds?