Greetings Alviso Adobe friends, 

As we swing into the fall season, change and transformation is happening before our eyes. Although our indoor facilities remain closed, our outdoor open space known for its breathtaking views, luscious vegetation, and historical markers are awaiting your discovery. Take a peek at our newest resources and offerings. We hope you enjoy!
 S T A Y  C O N N E C T E D
F O L L O W  us on F A C E B O O K F O L L O W us on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W us on I N S T A G R A M F O L L O W us on I N S T A G R A M
V I S I T our W E B S I T E V I S I T our W E B S I T E


I Want to Be Like a Tree
by Naturalist Martha Cerda
“I want to be like a tree
I can learn how to bend, how to sway
‘Cause I know that I’m stronger
That way
That’s what I learned from a tree”
The following lyrics of ‘I Want to Be Like a Tree’ by the Missoula Coyote Choir & Friends have been replaying over and over as I take my evening strolls. The tune is not only catchy, but a kind reminder that we can learn so much from these ancient organisms. Like the lyrics point out, trees truly do learn how to bend and how to sway. Scars and unique curvatures along the trunk and branches show their adaptability to poor weather, scarce water, or seeking light. Continuous resilience at its finest. With the turn of each season come many changes, and the fall is no exception.
It won’t be long until we see the California Buckeye tree with few to none crispy droopy leaves and branch tips with hanging clusters of what look like large leathery pears. Live oak trees will keep their dark green leaves and if lucky you will witness their narrow, short acorns held by a sturdy acorn cap. The soft and fuzzy leaves of the California Sycamore will be floating down to the ground. Trees prepare for the fall season in different ways. Some are ready to shed the fruits of their hard labor and prepare for a well-deserved snooze.
The Alviso Adobe Community Park is home to a variety of trees. Recently, I was watering our gardens, hints of rosemary and remnants of lavender aromas swaying through the air when our orchard caught my eye. Instantly, I was transported to last fall and remembered the excitement I felt when we were able to harvest the apples from our crops to make apple cider for the very first time since they were planted. I remember purchasing apples from the Safeway around the corner, thinking “Well… I am not sure if these apples will work for the cider, so I’ll buy some just in case.” I was wrong. Our apple orchard fruits were delicious providing a tangy, but sweet flavor that made my taste buds sing.
Our historic orchard, as we call it, consists of both Asian plums and apple trees. It was planted to pay tribute to the people that managed the surrounding landscape. This family orchard section is reminiscent of what an individual family might have planted for its own use. It was typical of Californio families (elite families who received land grants during 1830s-1880s) to cultivate orchards and crops such as olives, figs, herbs, and spices on their rancho. Francisco Alviso named this area Rancho Palo Secas (the dry or dead trees). After being occupied by the same family for nearly 30 years, the Kroeger family leased the Adobe property from 1899-1912. The Kroeger’s were tenant farmers and planted sugar beets and grains near the Adobe house. During the Meadowlark Dairy’s operation years, the Dana family planted a small fruit orchard north of the manager house and walnut trees along the property edges. Sugar beets and tomatoes were grown on the south end of the park. It was fairly common for a working orchard to be a part of daily life on a farm, as it supplied fruits and nuts to be canned and eaten throughout the year.
The apple originated in the Tien Shan mountains of Kazakhstan millions of years ago and has spread through trade, but how did it get to the golden state? I wondered who planted the first apple orchard around the Bay area and when it happened? The earliest record I could find was the legend of the Russian priest and the Fort Ross apple orchard. Legend goes that in 1811, Russian colonists landed on the Sonoma coast, built their church and their fort and planted an orchard. The early Fort Ross residents recall that the priest blessed the orchard with the invocation that “neither pests nor vandals' hands shall prevent fruitfulness” (Calisphere, University of California, 2011). Following the founding of the missions, Spanish monks established orchards of apple, apricot, peach, pear, plum and other varieties of fruit. The presence of orchards continued well on to the rancho period, supplying a variety of fruit to families.
Apples, taxonomically, are members of Rosaceae, the Rose, family along with raspberries, cherries, peaches, and other yummy fruits. Trees can grow as tall as 40 feet, but most are pruned to be about 10 feet to make it easier to pick the fruit (the ones at the Alviso Adobe Community Park average to 7 feet.) The bark is greyish in color, and scaly in texture. With leaves that are broad, flat, oval, and green. The delicate flowers are predominantly white with tints of pink around the tips (University of Illinois Extension, 2020). Like all members of the Rose family, the flowers typically feature five petals.
Apple trees are very hardy and can live a long time. As the seasons change, we begin to notice how apple trees gradually change right in front of our eyes. Closer to the fall, the apples ripen. If not harvested, they will drop to the ground. Many of our wildlife neighbors won’t let them go to waste though. Wild turkeys, squirrels, and opossums all have a picnic of their own! After being left fruitless, the tree will begin to shed its old weak branches and stems, preparing for dormancy. During the winter months, it will not grow nor bloom. The apple tree begins its growing season during early spring. As the foliage grows, buds and shoots begin to form. The buds bloom, producing flowers. It is here where the services of our pollinators are crucial! The stamen of the flowers produce pollen which pollinators, such as honeybees, help spread to another flower of another tree while snacking on some nectar. When this happens, the flower petals fall off and an apple starts to grow. During the summer months, the apples grow larger and the color changes until ready to harvest.
We can learn so much from trees. Each bend and each sway tell a story of adaptability to their surroundings. As you peek through your windows or stroll through a park, take a look around you. What trees do you see? What can you learn from them? What stories are they telling? If you are interested in learning more about our local tree diversity, check out the Alviso Adobe Community Park gardens.

Calisphere, University of California. (2011). Labor in California Apple Orchards. Retrieved from;NAAN=13030&doc.view=frames&
University of Illinois Extension. (2020). Apples: A Class Act. Retrieved from
To the left you have our fruitful orchard. Can you spot the Wild Turkey performing a balance act?


Are you ready for an adventure? Check out this interactive scavenger hunt and discover history in a new way! 

Download the Adventure Lab App to get started!


We want to hear from you! What's got you wondering? Send a postcard with your questions about local natural history - anything from landforms, wildlife, to historic objects. Each month we will highlight 1-2 questions and responses in our newsletter. 


Available for viewing starting this Saturday, September 19.  
Come along on a virtual tour and enjoy the views with a slice of history. Experience the park's historic Adobe home and other story-filled buildings! Click here to begin your journey. 


Visit the Virtual Library & Recreation Center for other Adobe resources and more. Here you'll find a great selection of free applications, online services and quality content that you can access from home. 
Alviso Adobe Community Park
3465 Old Foothill Road
Pleasanton, CA 94588

Closure of Non-Essential Facilities and City Government Meetings

Alameda County Public Health Department's current Health Order—issued on May 18, 2020—does not provide a sunset date for sheltering in place as previous Orders provided. Non-essential City services and facilities will be closed until further notice. For more information, and for live updates impacting our community, visit the City of Pleasanton COVID-19 Update Page.

Essential services that will remain available include Paratransit service to medical appointments and grocery stores only; Open Heart Kitchen's senior lunch program brown bag pick-up only; and Spectrum Community Services' Meals on Wheels. 

Contact our Staff:

Martha Cerda
Library and Recreation

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City of Pleasanton · 3465 Old Foothill Road · PO Box 520 · Pleasanton, CA 94566 · USA