Home & Garden

Wind In The Trees

Having been born and raised in Lakewood, I have always appreciated the City of Trees! However, now that many of those beautiful oaks, maples, sycamores and yes, a few elms have grown old, we are sadly forced to have them cut down. It seems that almost every day you can hear the sound of the chain saws and chippers on any Lakewood street.

We were faced with that very decision this summer when our 200 year old pin oak was declared a hazard and we made arrangements to have it removed. My husband, Jeff, and the four kids and I were saddened to be losing an old friend who sheltered our front porch, was leaned upon by many a child counted to ten during a game of hide-and-seek and was often bruised by a soup can during a riotous game of kick-the-can.

How to best save those memories? Having attended a chain saw carving festival in Pennsylvania a few years ago, I made it my mission to find a carver who would come to Lakewood and make the tree stump into something permanent. After searching the net, Pat and Jack from Sugar Ridge Carving in Kidron, Ohio, arrived to carve the stump into a tree with a wind-spirit face. We are happy to say that it is now complete and is a source of interest for all who pass by. But more than that, it allows us to still enjoy our oak. Maybe this is our small way of "going green," saving part of our natural heritage of old trees.

For anyone interested in seeing the carving, just drive by on Fischer Rd. Don't honk or even say anything...just enjoy!

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Volume 6, Issue 17, Posted 8:33 AM, 08.25.2010

Tour Lakewood’s Most Beautiful Homes And 50 Bottles Of Wine Raffle

House Tour

Tickets are on sale now for only $15 each for the rare opportunity to tour seven of Lakewood’s most beautiful historically or architecturally significant homes. This year’s tour will include: an award-winning stucco Arts & Crafts with a formal French garden; a stately brick center hall colonial; a classic Greek Revival; a vernacular Victorian with Arts & Crafts elements; a southern-inspired cottage situated in a lush garden paradise; a sophisticated lakefront with spectacular views; and Lakewood’s oldest home, the Nicholson House, which is operated by the Lakewood Historical Society.

The “Come Home To Lakewood” House Tour will be Sunday, September 12, 2010 from 1 to 6 p.m. In its 10th year, this biennial house tour is always highly anticipated by not only Lakewood residents, but from home and garden admirers from all over Northeast Ohio. Purchase your tickets soon as the tour typically sells out. Tickets can be purchased from the following:

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Volume 6, Issue 16, Posted 8:28 AM, 08.11.2010

Lakewood Biennial House Tour Coming In September

The Lakewood Historical Society has been serving our community since 1952 when a few determined residents recognized that Lakewood needed an organization for the purpose of collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of Lakewood, Ohio. Now about 500 members strong, among the Society’s accomplishments are: maintaining the Oldest Stone House Museum and Nicholson House; a photographic collection of over 14,000 images; award winning school programs; special events and public programs; and historical research.

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Volume 6, Issue 15, Posted 8:42 AM, 07.27.2010

Is Painting My Aluminum Siding A Bad Idea?

Many Northeast Ohio homes that were built in the 60s, 70s and 80s were finished with aluminum siding. Homeowners were led to believe that the exteriors of their homes would be “maintenance free.” If you own a home that was built in that era, or if you own a home that was resided during that time, you have no doubt realized that this is not the case.  Because of exposure to the sun, most aluminum siding begins to become “chalky” and fades after about 15 years. Once this happens, the original baked-on enamel coating washes off with heavy rain.

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Volume 6, Issue 13, Posted 8:18 AM, 06.30.2010

Local Artist Immortalizes Homes, Works With Lakewood Company For Worthy Cause

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.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 8:25 AM, 05.19.2010

Think Outside The Box With Your Lakewood Home

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.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 8:25 AM, 05.19.2010

Neubert Painting Announces 3rd Annual $10,000 Charity Paint Giveaway

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.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 8:26 AM, 05.06.2010

Is It Time To Paint?

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?

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 8:06 PM, 04.20.2010

Adopt A Spot Volunteer Opportunities

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.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 9:23 PM, 04.06.2010

Spring Is In The Air...Add It To Your Decor

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.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 8:17 AM, 03.24.2010

The Lawn is History for This Lakewood Teacher

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.

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Volume 5, Issue 23, Posted 10:16 PM, 11.17.2009

The Wishing Tree

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.

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Volume 5, Issue 20, Posted 10:52 PM, 10.06.2009

What Is Your Water Footprint?

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.

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Volume 5, Issue 19, Posted 9:31 PM, 09.23.2009

Dollars for Dishwashers

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. 

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Volume 5, Issue 19, Posted 9:31 PM, 09.23.2009

Someone’s In the Kitchen With Dina

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.

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 3:05 PM, 08.25.2009