Real Estate

Home front: Rhododendron talk; sharpen your tools

Also, a free talk on heat pump water heaters

A roundup of local home and garden news and events, including a talk on a rhododendron collection, a class on sharpening pruning tools and Palo Alto encouraging residents to switch to heat pump water heaters.

RHODODENDRON TALK ... The DeAnza Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society will host a talk on Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 18 of the Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos. The program will feature Jason Martinez, a horticulturalist at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, who will speak about the Garden's rhododendron collection, which he oversees. Martinez also is in charge of the Ancient Plant Garden, the Garden of Fragrance and the Mediterranean Garden.

SHARPEN YOUR TOOLS ... The Palo Alto UC Master Gardener program will host a hands-on workshop on how to sharpen pruning tools on Thursday, April 19, from 7-8:30 p.m. Master gardener Allen Buchinski will show attendees how to clean and sharpen hand pruners and loppers — even those that have been neglected — as well as how to keep their pruning tools in top working condition. Bring your pruners, and if you have one, a carbide or ceramic sharpening tool. The event will be at the Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto.

ALL ABOUT WATER HEATERS ... On April 24, the city of Palo Alto will host a free talk on heat pump water heaters, which use electricity rather than natural gas to move heat from one place to another and are two to three times more energy efficient than conventional ones. The city is encouraging residents to switch to heat pump water heaters to help it reach its carbon reduction goals and launched a pilot program that offers $1,500 rebates to those who make the switch. According to the city's website, the majority of Palo Alto's residential water heaters are fueled by natural gas. The talk, which takes place from 3-6 p.m. at Mitchell Park Community Center, El Palo Alto Room, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, will cover what you can do to make the switch and how to receive your rebate.

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