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CAMELLIA PEST ... A warning from the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners: Camellias provide beautiful blooms in the spring, but if any blossoms turn brown and mushy and fall to the ground, remove them immediately to halt the spread of a disease called petal blight. Throw away the damaged blossoms; don't use them in compost.

MULTIPLICATION AND DIVISION ... Flowering bulbs multiply underground and after a few years they become crowded, resulting in smaller bulbs and plants. After the leaves are spent, you can dig them up, divide them into individual bulbs, and then replant them with space to grow. The Penn State Extension website at has more information.

WILDFLOWER HIKES ... Spring has sprung, and this year's rainfall should bring an array of wildflowers to the local landscape. Docents with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District will take hikers to see and learn about local wildflowers. Reservations can be made at

IS IT DONE YET? ... It may seem like Stanford Shopping Center's El Camino project is taking forever, but according to the City of Palo Alto, it's more than 60 percent complete. Other than building 130,000 square feet of retail space, you may not know that the project features a 60,000-gallon rainwater-harvesting cistern.

TREES AND SHUTTERBUGS ... On April 9, from 10 a.m. to noon, arborists from the nonprofit Canopy will offer a neighborhood tree walk of Crescent Park in Palo Alto, complete with instruction about nature photography as well as the opportunity to practice on a variety of trees, from the prehistoric maidenhair tree to the Australian tea tree and the saucer magnolia. RSVP online at or email

PARTY FOR THE PLANET ... On April 21 at the Oshman Family JCC, the nonprofit Acterra will honor local environmentalist Peter Drekmeier at its Party for the Planet. This year's auction will feature items like a tour for four of Facebook's new, Frank Gehry-designed "MPK20" building and nine-acre green roof and a rafting trip for 14 on the South Fork of the American River, guided by Drekmeier himself. Cost for the event is $200.

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