Faces of Menlo

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There are sunflowers — and then there is the sunflower forest in Art Scott and Cindy Sumida-Scott’s Menlo Park backyard.

First came the work of local landscape designer Janet Bell, who redid the yard. At that project’s conclusion, the couple sent cards to the various workers, expressing “this beautiful garden representing the analemma [sun’s path] will save water and be friendly to bees, birds and butterflies.”

Earlier this year, Art and Cindy planted five varieties of sunflowers in the garden’s center from seeds purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Art attributes the amazing result to part art and part science.

“For us, it’s important to pass on the Aloha spirit,” he said, himself  both artist and scientist. “So kids come over and wander around and so do the neighbors.

“And when I get too deep in thought, I go to the garden and walk around. It’s a way to balance.”

Cindy said without Art, there would be neither the analemma design nor the sunflowers. “We used to sit and imagine how we could transform the backyard,” she said. “Art wanted a place where he could walk safely, where we both could stop and look around and enjoy without any sharp corners.

“Gradually the analemma idea came into being. That configuration would not exist without Art’s mind. Janet’s landscape design shows it off perfectly.”

The couple look at this year’s sunflowers as an experiment and say they’ll probably plant fewer next year. Meanwhile they are taking in not only the visual pleasure of their garden but also the sounds. “The birds are visiting like a whole circus came to town,” said Art.

And of course, what would a sunflower garden be without a sundial, which, Art points out is, on nature not daylight savings time.

Photos by Robb Most (c) 2017

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Former Assembly member Rich Gordon is named new President & CEO of California Forestry Association

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Effective July 17, former Assembly member and Menlo Park resident Rich Gordon will lead the California Forestry Association (Calforests) as President and CEO. Gordon will work in Sacramento four days a week and telecommute from his Menlo Oaks home one day. “Healthy forests are crucial to the sustainability of our planet. It is an honor […]

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Vocalist Madeleine McGlynn debuts at Stanford Jazz Festival

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Menlo Park resident Madeleine McGlynn (fourth from left), who we profiled in June, made her performance debut today appearing with three other vocalists at the Stanford Jazz Festival in a program called Celebrating the Great American Songbook. Backed  by a five-piece band, she appeared solo for two songs, singing Night and Day and Feeling Good, which she said […]

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Madeleine McGlynn takes the stage at Stanford Jazz Festival this summer

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Menlo Park resident Madeleine McGlynn started singing about the time she started talking. “My Dad listened to jazz standards, and every day when he got home from work, I’d have him play whatever songs he wanted to introduce me to. That music has remained my era. I love Harlem Renaissance jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday.” Madeleine will […]

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Farewell to a Menlo Park treasure – the family who ran the Plantation Cafe

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Yesterday was the last day for the Plantation Cafe on the Alameda, operated the last 15 years or so by  Soo Shin, her mother, Maryann Kim, and brother Ji. They were much beloved by their regulars, including a generation of La Estrada school kids. Notes one regular: “The joy they brought to people is probably […]

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A volunteer pursuit turns into full-time occupation for education expert Charlene Margot

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The third time Charlene Margot’s son took the SAT exam when he was a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School, he put his fist through a wall. It was a wake up call for Charlene. “There was a rising tide of student stress and not very good parent education for public schools,” she recalls. “I’ve been in […]

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Cathy Bitler brings her background in science to making handcrafted soaps

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Most of Cathy Bitler’s professional career was spent in the lab. As a biochemist, she worked at companies involved in finding new drug therapies for stubborn-to-treat medical conditions. Today, her focus is on more immediate gratification through her handcrafted soaps, lotions, and scrubs made in her Menlo Park home. Her journey to soap maker started, somewhat […]

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Free Jazzercise classes in Menlo Park for young women during 2017

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Young women ages 16 to 21 are invited to take exercise classes at Menlo Park Jazzercise at no charge for the rest of 2017. Dubbed “GirlForce,” the program aims to empower young women by giving them a place to get fit, learn healthy habits, and find a place they belong in their communities, free of charge. […]

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A second peek at Kathy Brenzel’s rose-filled Menlo Park backyard

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Editor’s note: Along with InMenlo contributing photographer Frances Freyberg, we visited Kathy Brenzel’s Menlo Park backyard, which is ablaze with roses. This is the second report about what we saw; part one is here. Kathy has a special place in her heart for the roses that Frances captured sitting in a little vase. “It’s an […]

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Kathy Brenzel finds her Menlo Park garden ablaze with roses this spring

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That almost 50 roses populate Kathy Brenzel’s Menlo Park backyard may not be surprising given that she is the former Garden Editor of Sunset, who retired last year. But the roses go further back than her career at the magazine. “It all started with the Cl.Cécile Brünner,” she said about the roses surrounding her while being photographed by InMenlo contributing […]

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Erin Cooke works to implement SFO’s sustainability goals

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Menlo Park resident Erin Cooke doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. Or more accurately, she bikes to Caltrain, hops off at Millbrae and bikes to her job at SFO as the airport’s Sustainability Director. In that capacity she’s overseeing what she calls the airport’s “moon shot,” work to translate the Airport’s Five-Year Strategic Plan […]

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