Late afternoon sun washes across the deep salmon-colored bricks and green shutters of the Georgian colonial in a watercolor painting that hangs above Gary Richard’s fireplace. The home depicted in the painting is the very house in which it hangs—the 97-year old home on Lake Ave. near 116th St. that Richards has lovingly restored over the last decade.
Home & Garden
The way we decorate our dwelling has changed over the years. We used to think of our homes as our worth and although that value may still hold true for some, style, function and personal identity play an important role as well. I think we’d all agree that Lakewood is like no other place in the Cleveland area. Same goes for the people here. It’s the perfect place to express your personal identity.
Neubert Painting is a residential painting contractor located in Lakewood. We’ve been in business since 1975 and part of our mission as a company is to give back to our community. That’s why we started our Charity Paint Giveaway in the summer of 2008. Each year we ask the community to nominate a worthy homeowner or charitable organization that is in need of a paint job, but truly cannot afford it.
Spring is upon us and summer will soon be here. As you awake from your winter slumber and find yourself outdoors, it may be a good time to inspect the exterior of your house and garage. You might find that winter has not been kind to your home’s exterior. A careful survey of your home might tell you it’s time to paint. What should you look for?
For 24 years, the Keep Lakewood Beautiful organization has been recruiting volunteers to aid the City of Lakewood with maintaining green spaces within our community. We have grown the program from seven Adopt a Spots in 1986 to the current 59. We are looking for a few interested new gardeners.
Have you had work done to your home?
It’s that time of year when we all start thinking about our gardens, planting schedules, and spring clean-up. Well…almost all of us. For me, it is the time of year to start thinking about bringing the outdoors in and adding it to the décor.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that some of the lawns of Lakewood homes are quietly disappearing. In their place are an interesting mixture of groundcovers, prairie flowers, trees, shrubs, and evergreens. I admire these passionate gardeners with enough guts to go grassless and was excited to meet one Lakewood family who has permanently put their lawnmower to rest.
Upon entering Sean and Hope McGuan’s landscape, the first thing I realized, besides the obvious fact that there was not a blade of grass in sight, was the sense of tranquility and comfort amid the flora and fauna.
Although the yard includes a compost bin, rain barrel and other sustainable features, the benefit of having less lawn and an anchor of native plants is the focus of this visit.
When questioned about why he chose to eliminate his lawn about seven years ago, Sean McGuan points out the environmental benefits, such as requiring much less water and fertilizer, being very low maintenance, and being attractive to wildlife. While Sean is not a native plant purist, he pointed out that he has not included any invasive species.
Sean possesses a wealth of knowledge about prairie plants and plant history and folklore, much of it gained at Holden Arboretum's library while he was a teacher-in-residence there. His passion while showing me his favorite plants and touting their many virtues made it clear that this is a true labor of love.
Running Serviceberry, which I learned has edible berries that taste much like blueberries, is used as a foundation plant. A Sugar Maple tree and an asymmetrically shaped Jack Pine were planted in the front yard and help block the view of Lakewood Hospital across the street. Bar Harbor Juniper, Virginia Sweetspire, Wild Senna, Native Rhododendrons, Blue Star, and native grasses including Little Blue Stem, are just a few of the plants garnering his enthusiasm.
An enormous ancient oak tree sits on the back property line and is attractive to an array of wildlife. An inviting hammock is stationed under its shade, surrounded by naturalized plantings. Wildlife, including an owl, hawks, Goldfinches, winter Wrens, and Chickadees, have discovered this little paradise. Meanwhile, Sean is hoping to attract Cedar Waxwings with Eastern Redcedar, a type of Juniper.
The southern side of the house has become Hope McGuan’s vegetable garden. It includes big Brussels sprouts and huge, healthy, heavy-bearing Roma tomatoes that Hope uses to make spaghetti sauce, which she freezes.
Like many gardeners, Sean’s plans for his garden are always evolving. In the future, he envisions a rooftop garden of succulents on top of his garage.
Sean ended our tour by saying that he would like to see more people moving their landscape border more than five feet from their home’s foundation and choosing beneficial plants.
I left with a gift of homemade spaghetti sauce and a "Must Have" list of native plants, wishing I had more time to discuss the merits of each and every plant in this ecologically aware landscape.
The first time my morning walk took me down Summit Avenue, I found myself gazing up, up upward at the most magnificent white oak tree I had ever seen. My pace slowed as my heart filled with a sense of wonder and awe. I paused to take in its massive girth and widespread and welcoming branches and then felt a wash of serenity pass over me. I might have said a prayer; instead, I made a wish to the sky and whispered a promise to this glorious monument.
“The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what ‘the story of the trees’ would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand” – Author Unknown
As I walked the sidewalk so graciously curving around the base, I noted a small plaque stating “This is a Moses Cleaveland Tree. It was standing here as part of the original forest when Moses Cleaveland landed at the Mouth of the Cuyahoga River, July 22, 1796. Let us preserve it as a living memorial to the first settlers of the Western Reserve.”
This was one of 150 native trees over the age of 150 years old selected in 1946 by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History as representative of those standing as noted above. Several hundred trees were nominated around the county and Lakewood is proud to have this noble giant.
Drive or walk down Summit Avenue and make your wish.
The buzzword for some time now has been "carbon footprint". Companies are measuring it in terms of energy usage, hours of commute, and even flying time. Given that carbon dioxide may be the most ubiquitous element, we are also talking about measuring and capturing ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and methane. However, with all this talk about chemicals, there has been relatively little about water footprints. Have you ever stopped to think about how much water you use everyday?
Shower. Toilet. Brushing your teeth. Laundry. Dishes. Those are just the basics.
What about washing your car? Washing the dog? Watering your garden?
Historically, water conservation efforts have been uphill battles due to the artificially low price of water. However, with a surging population, global warming, and ever larger quantities of waste, many believe we are approaching “peak water“. We have a finite supply of usable fresh water: Of the earth’s water, only 3% is fresh water and only 1% is drinkable.
Water is most certainly different than oil in the respect that we cannot live without it. Sure, oil has alternatives, yet there is no alternative for water. So, we must implement conservation efforts in every aspect of daily life and business. Many businesses recognize that water is a commodity and are implementing drastic conservation efforts to reduce need and, in turn, costs. As individuals, we can reduce water usage by 50% by doing simple things like installing low-flow faucets and dual flush toilets, repairing leaks, and installing/replacing aerators on sinks.
For more information on calculating your water footprint, check out the One Minute Water Calculator at http://goblue.zerofootprint.net.
If you missed the opportunity to receive cash for your gas-guzzler, this fall you may receive government money for going green with new appliances. The government has set aside about $300 million for states to use to give out rebates of $50 to $200 to buyers of energy-efficient household appliances carrying the federal “Energy Star” seal of approval for efficiency. The allocation to states is based on population, working out roughly to $1 a person per state. Ohio’s allotment would be about $11 million. Steve Schoeny, director of strategic initiatives at the state Department of Development, said that it hasn’t been decided how the rebate money will flow back to consumers. The state’s priorities are helping consumers purchase more energy efficient appliances and give the state’s economy a boost. He noted that appliance maker Whirlpool employs about 10,000 in Ohio.
The Law Bag
Why is it when you entertain, everyone wants to be in the kitchen with the hostess? Why not? She’s a fantastic cook, it smells so good, it is a cozy atmosphere, and the newly remodeled kitchen is a most enjoyable place to be.