gardens in Menlo Park

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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


Spotted: Artichokes adorning a Menlo Park front yard

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On her walks, Menlo Park resident Amy Bayersdorfer has been watching these artichokes grow in the front yard of a home in the Stanford Oaks neighborhood. She snapped some photos now that they are flowering.

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Spotted: Easter tulips sporting Christmas red

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We spotted these large red tulips, which line both sides of a walkway up to a house on Ambar Way in Menlo Park, while out for a walk this afternoon. We think they’re fabulous!

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Menlo Park front yard is transformed from functional to peaceful (even on a busy corner)

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Stroll the streets of Menlo Park and a Keith Willig designed front yard is likely to grab your attention. The landscape architect has been transforming local yards for about 20 years, often using what he describes as a “modern paint brush.” “We like to keep it simple and honest,” he says. “We tend not to […]

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