Landscaping

Post image for A sunflower forest grows in Menlo Park

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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Help us solve this mystery about the sculpture horse at former Sunset headquarters

Thumbnail image for Help us solve this mystery about the sculpture horse at former Sunset headquarters

Update: Wouldn’t you know that this mystery was solved, at least in part, just 30 minutes after this was posted. We heard from InMenlo copy editor Pat Guyer, who should know about sculptors given that she’s married to sculptor Terry Guyer. Pat emailed: “That horse is by Deborah Butterfield. She has one at the Cantor. She is […]

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Portola Valley and Woodside team up for Earth Day Fair on April 22

Thumbnail image for Portola Valley and Woodside team up for Earth Day Fair on April 22

Bring your family and join your Portola Valley and Woodside friends and neighbors at beautiful Runnymede Sculpture Farm  (980 Runnymeade Road) for a day of fun and information. Learn how to design landscaping that is beautiful now and will remain beautiful through dry and wet seasons. The event is sponsored by the Woodside Sustainability & Conservation […]

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Numerous Earth Day related events planned in Atherton on April 22

Thumbnail image for Numerous Earth Day related events planned in Atherton on April 22

Atherton’s Earth Day celebration runs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the Town Center (Ashfield Road and Dinkelspiel Station Lane). The Town’s Environmental Programs Committee, Recology and the Atherton Library are teaming up to bring residents free garden mulch, e-waste safe recycling, secure shredding, eco-friendly 3-D printing, the San Mateo County Bookmobile, earth […]

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Spotted: Nano Park on Oak Drive in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Nano Park on Oak Drive in Menlo Park

Regular walkers of “the creek loop” probably noticed the front yard landscaping project that was going on during the summer at a home on the corner of Oak Drive and Ambar Way. What undoubtedly surprised them when it was over was the creation of what homeowner Shosh Cohen describes as a “Nano Park.” The park has […]

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Plants perfect for this area offered at Woodside-Atherton Garden Club sale on April 23

Thumbnail image for Plants perfect for this area offered at Woodside-Atherton Garden Club sale on April 23

Get ready for prime time spring planting at a local plant sale celebrating “Every Day is Earth Day” on Saturday, April 23. from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Woodside-Atherton Garden Club members have grown and collected hundreds of native drought-resistant plants, colorful pollinators, and kitchen garden heirlooms for their biennial plant sale at Woodside Library […]

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David Barry talks about the promise of Mist, the “world’s smartest sprinkler system”

Thumbnail image for David Barry talks about the promise of Mist, the “world’s smartest sprinkler system”

Brown lawns may turn green again if weather forecasters are correct in predicting a strong El Niño with heavier than average precipitation throughout California this fall and winter. At the same time, residents are urged to conserve. Enter the promise of a device named Mist, branded as the “world’s smartest sprinkler system,” watering just the […]

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Dan Dieguez transformed his backyard into magical wildlife garden

Thumbnail image for Dan Dieguez transformed his backyard into magical wildlife garden

Dan Dieguez grew up in the Menlo Park home he lives in currently. But it’s his personal stamp that’s transformed the large backyard into what he calls a “wildlife garden.” “My friends call it ‘organized chaos,’” he explained during a recent visit accompanied by Menlo Park-based photographer Frances Freyberg, whose photos of the garden are featured here. […]

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Keith Willig hands out five-gallon buckets to clients to promote water conservation

Thumbnail image for Keith Willig hands out five-gallon buckets to clients to promote water conservation

Keith Willig Landscape Architecture and Construction (KWLA), based in Menlo Park, recently began a small initiative to increase public awareness of the drought and to promote water conservation. The company ordered 100 five-gallon buckets to hand out to clients around the Bay Area to inspire water collection in every form. Tied to each bucket is […]

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Sunset Garden Editor Kathy Brenzel looks back at her Sunset career – and ahead to Celebration Weekend

Thumbnail image for Sunset Garden Editor Kathy Brenzel looks back at her Sunset career – and ahead to Celebration Weekend

Editor’s note: On June 6-7, the last Celebration Weekend will be held at Sunset Magazine’s iconic Cliff May-designed offices in Menlo Park. Last December, the magazine’s owner, Time Inc., announced that it had sold the seven-acre campus of  gardens and 1950s ranch-style buildings to Embarcadero Capital Partners, a San Francisco real estate investment and management company. The location of the magazine’s […]

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Janet Bell talks about her approach to landscape design – and her much-loved “pom poms”

Thumbnail image for Janet Bell talks about her approach to landscape design – and her much-loved “pom poms”

Editor’s note: Janet Bell opened her Menlo Park-based landscape design, construction and maintenance business, now called Garden Sense, in 1996. We met her not over a garden fence but rather in Lisa Burnett’s Pilates studio. When she started talking about her soon-to-bloom “pom poms,” we enlisted the help of photographer Frances Freyberg, and through an email exchange, learned […]

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