The sign at the Woodside library announces the library, and right below, the native plant garden. This acknowledgment is well deserved; the space of the garden seems as large as the library itself. You have to enter the garden from the library. The chairs and tables makes it clear that al fresco studying is encouraged here. And the people of Woodside take advantage of the natural office setting.
The manzanita grove to the right immediately delighted me with their dark red bark. The horse smell from next door reminded me that I’m in Woodside. Every place, even the library, has a horse rack in front.
The redwood grove in the back uses its half arch for benches. A great place for a school class to enjoy some lunch. Benches are sprinkled throughout the garden, inviting everyone to take a break.
The native garden is open during library hours:
Monday – Thursday 11 am to 7 pm
Friday and Saturday 11 am to 5 pm
365 days a year you can go over to Old Palo Alto and see what’s in bloom or just chill and soak up the beauty.
The Gamble Garden is open for the public year round, on the grounds of the historic home where Elizabeth Gamble grew up 100 years ago. The garden became a public park in 1985.
Every second Saturday they open the doors a bit wider. The next event is January 12th, 2019. A morning (10 am – 11:30 am) for the whole family. They offer tours around the garden, a family nature hunt, and a tour of the first floor of the home.
I enjoyed the Second Saturday in December with some friends. We browsed the seasonal offerings of decorations and the holiday greens sale. It was fun to see all the kids digging for the longest worm.
My friend introduced me to her passion of photographing water droplets on plants; we could find many examples.
I was so glad we caught the tour with Mary our tour guide! We started at the new water catching area, a water tank that feeds a little stream with water plants, experienced the wisteria room and its tranquility, and got a lesson in photosynthesis and how to describe plants.
It was a festive outing with the holiday carols from the acclaimed Schola Cantorum chorus.
This will be on my holiday to-do list for the upcoming years. A great tradition is born.
If you are interested in visiting the Gamble Garden for the next Second Saturday you should register with them on their website.
If you missed the Silicon Valley Open Studios this year, but you are still on the hunt to purchase local art, one place to consider is the Community Art show at PJCC. The Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City currently shows art to purchase by 83 local artists until August 26th, 2018.
On a variety of mediums from metal to paper, jewelry, and sculptures you get a great overview of the local art scene.
Of course you are encouraged to find your own winner of the show.
I enjoyed a light lunch at the cafe and ate outside at the Mark Hamlin Garden. The Grow Justice Mural at the garden facilitated by Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen, has an eerie current relevance, one of the five panels is showing a mother with a child andthe words ‘Human’, ‘Rights’, ‘Stop Profiling’, ‘Immigration Rights’ and ‘Freedom’ on tiles below. Grow Justice is a Jewish commandment to make the world a better place; a goal we should all strive for – no matter what we believe.
If you are Inspired to paint yourself, the PJCC offers classes for young and old.
Gardening is always the top tip of every happiness blog. If you don’t have the opportunity to work in your own garden you can volunteer at the Forge Garden, which is part of the Santa Clara University. Volunteer hours are Wednesdays 1 pm – 4:30 pm or Fridays 9 am – 11 am, just drop in. You should be prepared to get your cloth dirty, wear sturdy shoes and bring water and sunscreen. The monthly Forge Fridays Cooking in the Garden is designed to bring the community together by harvesting, cooking and eating together. Check out their website on all upcoming events.
They also let you wander around the grounds Monday – Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Check out what’s growing, say ‘hi’ to the chickens, admire the beehives and the aquaponic system. The farm stand is open on Fridays between 11:30 and 1:30.
If you like to learn more about gardening you can attend one of their workshops. Up front you can find a book and seed exchange.
The roses are in bloom at the Allied Arts Guild . This place has an overabundance of tranquility. The Allied Arts Guild is a little gem in Menlo Park. Not only are the stunning gardens a reason to come here, they also host a group of artists. There are unique shopping opportunities and a cafe.
For your gift shopping needs, I would suggest checking out the artisan shop. It’s a mixture of jewelry, handmade gift items, and high quality donated treasures. Proceeds go to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.
Lunch and coffee is served at the Wisteria Cafe. A great place to meet with friends or relax with a drink.
And do make it to the back of the property. The wood shop doesn’t sell furniture, but they will restore your best pieces. The smell of dust, wood and polisher will transport you to a rustical heaven.
To virtual explore the Allied Arts Guild check out their website for an interactive map.
Why Stanford’s Arizona Gardenis also called Cactus Garden is quite obvious when you come closer. Here are more than 500 species of cacti and succulent. In fact, these species are from around the world, not just local to Arizona.
I was there when some of them were in bloom; what a spectacular site!
While lizards are native they tend to be rare to find, but here you have a great chance to see them. We saw at least three on our little excursion.
You can find this free garden between Campus Drive and Arboretum Road. It is a bit of a hidden treasure; when I asked about this in the visitor center, the students had to ask around to find out where it was.
Have you ever been to this garden? What did you think?
Sometimes you learn something while you are on your way to something else. Like the water-wise garden in front of the Mountain View Library. This is a relatively new addition to the Pioneer Memorial Park, which borders the Center for Performing Arts and the Library.
There are examples of water-wise plants.
If you are interested in water-wise gardening the city of Mountain View recognizes businesses and homes that have landscapes that conserve water. They call this the Green Garden Showcase and provide a map to go check them out. Please be respectful of the privacy of the owners. Enjoy a great garden tour.
Do you have an idea for frugal sightseeing in the Bay Area?