Whether you’re looking to sharpen your gardening skills, want to take in the pre-spring flower blossoms or find homebuying resources, you’ll find plenty of opportunities in our February home & garden events calendar.
February bloom watch (and orchids) at Filoli
10 a.m.-5 p.m., daily | Filoli Historic House & Garden, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside| general admission (adults): $32 | Advance tickets required
FIloli’s garden shows its first signs of spring in February. Come watch it transform as the weather warms up and a new season begins. This is the time of year when fruit trees begin to blossom, daffodils emerge and the fragrant magnolia start to bloom. Those interested in “bloom watching,” can use Filoli’s bloom calendar to find out the best time to see specific flowers and foliage come into bloom.
From now until Feb. 22, the historic estate is abloom with rare plants from local orchid societies. Orchids are on display in the Visitor’s Center and rare historic specimens adorn the house. Find more information here.
Interested in a behind-the-scenes tour? On Feb. 21, the staff who design and care for Filoli’s garden and houseplant collection will take visitors on an exclusive walk through the historic and propagation greenhouses. Learn about the life of a plant at Filoli, from houseplants to bedding plants to perennials to succulents. Find more information and tickets about the Greenhouse Horticultural Tour.
51 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos | Free
Discover the stories behind Los Altos’ street names at the “What’s in a Name? History of Los Altos Street Name” exhibit. Using county subdivision records, U.S. Census records and museum archives, the exhibit uncovers the origins of more than 150 street names and sheds light on a lesser-known facet of the community’s legacy. Many of the streets honor historical figures, such as early explorer and politician John C. Fremont and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, as well as early settlers, landowners and European immigrants.
The exhibit features an array of artifacts, including vintage Los Altos street signs, original maps of the area, and photographs of the streets mentioned. A pie chart visually breaks down street names into categories and types of names utilized, such as trees, cities, last names and Spanish words.
Sharpen your gardening skills
9 a.m. – noon, Thursdays, Feb. 8,15, 22, 29 | Collective Roots Community Garden, 1785 Woodland Ave., East Palo Alto | Registration required
Sharpen your planting, pruning and composting skills at Collective Roots Community Garden. Operated by the nonprofit Fresh Approach, the garden offers a place for community members to gain hands-on experience with organic gardening. The garden is one of several Fresh Approach programs aimed at increasing community access to fresh healthy foods and nutrition education. The nonprofit also operates the East Palo Alto Community Farmers’ Market, the Mobile Farmers’ Market, the Veggie RX Nutrition program and more.
O’Donohue Educational Farm, 175 Electioneer Road, Stanford | Volunteers must be 10 years or older | Registration required
Come help keep the 6-acre O’Donohue Education Farm running. While farm work varies from week to week, volunteers are needed to perform various tasks such as keeping the fields free of weeds and rocks, planting new crop rotations, deadheading flowers, teaming up on irrigation, composting and mulching.
The farm, a living laboratory for the Stanford community and beyond, grows more than 200 varieties of vegetables, flowers, herbs, field crops and fruit. Over the course of a year, the farm will harvest more than 15,000 pounds of produce.
Volunteers should come prepared with close-toed shoes and clothes they don’t mind getting dirty. Gloves and tools will be provided. All volunteers are required to complete a safety wavier upon arrival.
First-time homebuyers webinar
Noon, Tuesday, Feb.13 | webinar hosted by Stanford Federal Credit Union| Free. Registration required.
Thinking of redoing or modifying the look of your front yard with drought-tolerant plants? Many water-wise plants are starting to bloom now, making February a good time to start looking at plants and collecting ideas.
Master Gardener Sandy Wright will use information from the Master Gardeners Handbook to help participants achieve curb appeal. Basic design element and layout plans will be discussed to help participants find the right place for the right plant. Additional information will be provided about viewing drought-tolerant plants at local Master Gardener demonstration gardens for inspiration.
Valentine florals party
2-4 p.m., Feb. 11, 12, 13 |Filoli Historic House & Garden, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside| Cost: $150 | Registration required
Parking area at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, Edmonds Road, Redwood City | Free | More information
Explore signs that early spring has arrived with docent naturalists Liz F. and Lyle Rice. During this 4.2-mile moderately paced hike, participants will view spring wildflowers and new growth on bushes and trees while hiking along the Blue Oak and Dick Bishop trails.
Gamble Garden guided tour
1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 20 | Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto | Nonmembers $15 adults, $5 under 18. Recommended for participants ages 10 and older | More information
Step back in time to explore the life of Elizabeth Gamble and her historic gardens. The 90-minute guided tour starts on the front driveway of the house. The tour will highlight the paperbark maple, the estate’s newly acquired magnolias and other notable trees and plants of Asian origin at Gamble garden. The tour also will explore the edible garden, where guests can admire nearly 100 different kinds of winter vegetables.
Explore the popular mid-19th century pastime of creating an herbarium, a collection of dried flora assembled for decorative purposes or as a garden record. Learn best practices and techniques for working with delicate pressed flowers. Participants will create their own imaginative floral compositions mounted on paper.
Registration includes materials kit to recreate the fun at home: a selection of dried and pressed flowers, paper, adhesive, assembly tools, pre-cut wood, paper, cardboard and hardware to assemble a small-scale flower press.
Homebuyer down payment program
10-11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 24 | webinar hosted by Housing Trust Silicon Valley | Registration required
First-time homebuyers can learn about Santa Clara County’s down payment assistance program, Empower Homebuyers SCC (Empower), during this one-hour webinar, which will cover requirements and eligibility, income limits and how to apply. The webinar also includes a Q&A session.
Funded by the 2016 Measure A Affordable Housing Bond, the Empower program offers down payment assistance loans of up to 30% of a home’s purchase price with a maximum loan amount of $250,000. The program is available to households with low to moderate incomes.
Household hazardous waste drop-off
7:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Thursday – Saturday, year-round | various locations | free | appointment required
Through the Household Hazardous Waste Program, Santa Clara County residents can dispose of unwanted household products labeled as flammable, toxic, corrosive or reactive for free at one of the county’s designated drop-off sites in San Jose or San Martin. Along the Peninsula, temporary sites in Los Altos, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara will be open on select Saturdays in April. Once you make an appointment, the address of your drop-off location will be emailed to you.
Common products that can be dropped off include auto fluids, batteries, electronics, fluorescent and LED lightbulbs, garden chemicals, household cleaners, paint and many other products that require proper disposal to prevent harm to humans and the environment.
Note: Palo Alto residents who want to schedule a drop-off need to contact their city’s household hazardous waste program at 650-496-5910.