With Ken Martin

A GARDEN OF GOOD: In 1998, we purchased a large piece of property here in Castro Valley, just over one-half acre. When we bought it there was little on the lot but the house itself and some questionable trees. Except for some plants around the house, little had ever been done in the way of beautification. Our almost immediate move was to virtually denude the lot, removing everything but a shed and some great orange trees.

We then proceeded to enlarge the deck behind the house, build a four-car garage with shops and storage attached, install a swimming pool, and erect two other buildings, one to house our well and pool equipment and the other a small train station to accommodate my hobby of garden railroading, and plant trees Within four years of moving here we pretty well had the place as we wanted it.

Meanwhile, my wife, Patty, who loves to dig in the dirt – excuse me, I mean soil – and is a very active member of Eden Garden Club, began to do some planting and landscaping. Gradually she brought in plants and placed them where they could display their beauty at its most. Soon the entire yard, front and back, was full of lush foliage and colorful flowers. Patty still maintains our property in that condition, pulling weeds, trimming shrubs, and constantly planting new plants. I sometimes marvel that she even finds space for the many new plants she brings home.

Patty also likes what she calls “garden art”. Our yard is liberally sprinkled with gazing balls, statuary, wind chimes, and the like. A walk through her garden is full of pleasant little surprises.

Seeing all this, two of her friends nominated Patty for an award. Recently Patty got the recognition she rightfully deserves for all this effort. At a meeting of the Bay Bridges District, which covers the entire Bay area, of the California Garden Clubs, Inc., Patty was named “Gardener of the Year”, a well-earned award for a beautiful, hard working lady. Congratulations to her and my personal thanks for filling our home and my life with so much beauty.

OPENLY CONFIDENTIAL: To Thomasina Cordero: Their really are other good grocery stores in Castro Valley. The Li’l Grocer wasn’t the only alternative to Safeway and Albertson’s. Check out Al’s Food Market at the corner of Somerset and Parsons (not too far from your neighborhood) and PW Market in the 580 Marketplace. Virtually all of my grocery dollars are spent at these places with about 90% going to Al’s. They’re both great stores. Give them a look. I think you’ll like what you see.

Since Romley’s cum Pasquinelli’s cum the Li’l Grocer have all failed there, do we really need another grocery store in that location?

RUTLESS RUTLEDGE: I am sure I am expressing the thanks from many Castro Valley people (and particularly from Moose Lodge members) to the Selmeczkis and Roarks for the fine paving job that now covers Rutledge Road. It is a great improvement with even a white line down the middle yet! Very nice and much appreciated.

What’s your favorite activity? Let CV Side Trips know at or (510) 727-9296.