The popular blooming lightbulb garden in San Jose will soon be welcoming visitors

There is great news on the horizon for people who want to enjoy colorful beauty this spring. Rich Santoro, also known as The Bulb Guy, plans to open his garden in San Jose to the public for a week starting March 27th.

The garden at 850 Gateview Court in the Berryessa neighborhood was never opened last year after Santa Clara County issued a stay at home order to help stem the tide of COVID-19. With infections dropping and vaccines increasing this year, leading to loose restrictions this year, Santoro is delighted to be able to showcase the collection of tulips, daffodils, snowdrops and other bulbs for the 13th time.

“The garden looks absolutely fabulous,” he said. “I’ve made a few small changes that seem to bring it together a little bit more.”

One of the big changes he made was planting 28,000 bulbs this year, almost doubling last year’s record of 14,300. Additionally, since 2016, he has raised more than $ 43,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital from donated visitors.

The garden is open from March 27th to April 3rd from 12pm to 5pm. While the garden has been open on Easter Sunday in the past, Santoro said it will be closed so he and his wife Riza can spend the day in memory of two family members who have died of COVID-19. Masks are required and no more than 10 people – and no pets – can be in the garden at the same time. Visits are limited to 15 minutes.

More information about the garden and its history can be found at www.the-bulbguy.com.

THEATER WITH HISTORY: It may be hard to believe, but Palo Alto Players, the oldest theater company on the peninsula, is 90 years old this year. Founded in 1931 during the Depression, the company invites audiences to laugh, cry, and ponder from its home base at the Lucie Stern Theater, which was introduced to the city for Palo Alto Players in 1933.

On Monday, Palo Alto City Council recognized the company’s milestone by declaring March 15 Palo Alto Players Day. Unfortunately, it was almost a year to the day that Palo Alto Players – and other performing arts groups in the Bay Area – were forced to close their doors to audiences due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, in her remarks to the city council, managing director Elizabeth Santana talked about the 490 productions that took place, with thousands of stage performers and backstage craftsmen and tens of thousands of people over those nine decades.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and focus on healing and uniting the community,” Santana said, “there is no recovery without the arts and culture industries.” You can follow what Palo Alto Players will be doing for the next 90 years at paplayers.org.

FOOD FOR THOUGHTS: After reading about the Italian American Heritage Foundation’s St. Joseph’s Day drive-through event, Marilyn Zelaya at Willow Glen Travel Agency said it would be a great idea if San Jose expanded the March 19th celebration even further. Not only does she pick up the traditional bag of a fava bean, bun and orange, but she also suggests making a donation to her favorite food bank and stopping at a local restaurant to celebrate our city’s rich heritage across many cultures.

Incidentally, she looks forward to seeing people back at the agency’s Lincoln Avenue office later this spring, if Santa Clara County’s protocols permit. “I hate working from home,” she said. Spoken like a travel agent.

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