Home & Garden

Talk series explores 'bringing nature home'

Northeast Ohio barely had a snowy winter, and spring is here with green shoots popping up everywhere. Also emerging in our neighborhoods is a movement to look at green spaces differently. Instead of feeding, weeding, and mowing lawns, some landowners are growing more and mowing less.

The movement is inspired, in part, by entomologist Doug Tallamy. His books, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants and Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard, are calls to action to restore biodiversity at home.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:31 AM, 03.28.2024

March 10 talk explores efficacy of deer sterilization

Is deer sterilization an effective way to reduce deer populations humanely?

On March 10, Sunny Simon, chair of Cuyahoga County’s Education, Environment, and Sustainability Committee, will speak on the topic at 3 p.m., at the University Heights Library, during a meeting of Green Noble, a Cleveland Heights environmental activist group. 

Simon has led an experimental effort in South Euclid to capture and sterilize deer with the help of a private contractor, White Buffalo Inc.  The five-year program, now in its third year, tranquilizes some does and removes their ovaries. The deer then are released back to the neighborhood.

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 2:53 PM, 02.28.2024

Learn how birds sing 'winter into spring'

Have you noticed that some of the first spring bird songs begin as early as late January? By March, resident birds are already claiming their territories and advertising for mates.

Quiet Clean Heights invites the public to a talk with Lisa Rainsong, “Singing Winter into Spring: bird songs as the snow thaws.” The free program will take place at the Lee Road Library on Feb. 21, 7–8 p.m. (Doors open at 6:45 p.m.) Cookies will be provided.

A longtime Cleveland Institute of Music professor, Rainsong now teaches classes and presents programs and in-service training throughout Ohio on the music of nature. On Feb. 21, she will share her field recordings and photos of avian singers while explaining how to listen and learn their songs.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 4:30 PM, 01.30.2024

HCC celebrates 50 years as fall tour returns

Heights Community Congress (HCC) is proud to announce that its Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour will return for its 43rd year on Sunday, Sept. 18, from noon to 6 p.m. This year's theme: The Tour is Back in Town!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of HCC, which formed in response to the results of the historic St. Ann Audit of Real Estate Practices in Eastern Cuyahoga County in 1972. That year, five brave women from St. Ann Church published their findings on racial discrimination in real estate selling practices throughout Cleveland Heights, triggering a series of legal and community actions which forever changed the community.

The five committee members who researched and produced the St. Ann Audit are honorary chairs of this year’s tour.

All proceeds from HCC's tour support its fair housing and diversity programs, and tickets are 100% tax-deductible.

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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 12:10 PM, 08.31.2022

Noble Gardeners' Market opens Aug. 6

Noble Gardeners' Market 2022 (NGM) will open on Aug. 6 for the first of eight consecutive Saturday mornings at the mini-park at Noble and Roanoke roads. Open from 10 a.m. to noon on each market day, NGM provides a hyper-local opportunity to sell fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables to neighbors and other market-goers. The date of this year's final market will be Sept. 24.

Anyone who grows fruits or vegetables in their backyard or in a community garden is welcome to sell, for a couple of weeks or for the entire eight-week season.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:36 AM, 07.29.2022

GardenWalk CH 2022 featured a riot of blooms

GardenWalk CH 2022 (July 16 and 17) provided Heights residents and visitors with the opportunity to tour, for free, more than 40 gardens and yards in Cleveland Heights.

Some of the stops along the tour showcased flowers at their peak bloom time.

Among them were the fleeting but spectacular daylilies, echinacea (coneflowers), and even a water lily, at a garden on Englewood Road, which also featured a raised-bed vegetable garden, espalied apple trees, and a giant bird aviary.

Sharp-eyed visitors might also have spied the baby praying mantis, perched on a daylily bloom.

At a double-yard garden on Cambridge Road, perennials and annuals were everywhere, in pots and in the ground, leading the eye—and feet—along numerous pathways full of color, attracting garden visitors and pollinators, including a hummingbird that the homeowner said returns every year.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:06 AM, 07.29.2022

GardenWalk CH returns July 16 and 17

At first glance, two of the 40-plus gardens to be featured in this year's GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, July 16 and 17, seem quite different from one another.

The backyard garden on Northampton Road is a tranquil, secluded haven—a shaded outdoor space with natural stone paths, ground cover, flowering bushes and roses. Its owners chose to minimize manicured grass, and instead expand a stone patio.

Across the city, on North Park Boulevard, a relatively massive backyard presented the owners with both a challenge and an opportunity, because of its size. By focusing on small, managable sections, they installed a panoply of plants, integrating art and color into multiple intimate seating areas. They describe the result as “an experience of inspiration.”

Despite the apparent differences, a conversation with the four owner/gardeners revealed similarities. For example, all of them believe in working with nature, rather than against it, and all enjoy functional outdoor spaces with multiple seating areas, and water features. Their gardens, which they designed and planted themselves, are versatile enough to allow them to create, relax and entertain.

Interestingly, each of the gardeners described being inspired by birch trees.

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 5:55 AM, 06.30.2022

CH bee inspector explains swarms—and why not to panic

To some, a nearby swarm of honeybees can set off alarms, and send them running back indoors. Understanding why honeybees swarm can lower anxiety levels and provide the tools to protect these essential, beneficial, and critically threatened insects.

The Green Team reached out to Cleveland Heights resident Patrick McGuigan, who is the Geauga and Monroe County Apiary Inspector for Ohio’s Department of Agriculture, to ask what one should do when a swarm of bees settles on a front porch eave, or outside a kitchen window, to rest and recharge.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:23 PM, 05.01.2022

GardenWalk CH seeks gardens for July tour

Cleveland Heights gardeners are invited to participate in GardenWalk Cleveland Heights 2022, the weekend of July 16 and 17. GardenWalk CH is a free, self-guided tour of flower and vegetable gardens in private and public spaces in the city of Cleveland Heights.

Its organizers know that many gardeners reading this invitation will think, “My garden is not good enough.” They are not looking for perfect gardens. (Whatever that means!)

The event is intended to showcase the variety of gardens in Cleveland Heights: large, beautifully manicured gardens, as well as small patio gardens, water features, tree houses, orchards, edible gardens, and gardens for children.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:39 PM, 04.01.2022

GardenWalk CH looks ahead to 2022

This year’s GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, held July 17 and 18, featured 60 Cleveland Heights gardens. It attracted visitors from California, Texas, Virginia, Utah and Colorado, as well as Russell Township, Amherst, Chagrin Falls, Hudson and North Ridgeville, and 28 Cuyahoga County municipalities.

It’s difficult to accurately count participants in this free, unticketed annual event, but one gardener counted 230 guests over the weekend.

“This joyful experience was everything I’d hoped it would be!” commented one of the gardeners at the end of the weekend. The gardeners were exhausted but exhilarated after greeting guests and answering questions for five hours each day. 

The variety of gardens on the walk reflected the variety of properties in Cleveland Heights—from large gardens, to pocket pollinator gardens, and intimate backyards that seemed like an extension of the house.

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Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 9:27 AM, 09.02.2021

GardenWalk CH is July 17 and 18

As a Cleveland Heights newcomer, Mary Hosier wandered into one of the Heights’ favorite bookshops, said she needed to make new friends, and asked about local gardeners. The recommendation was to go find Jan Kious. This launched a decade-long friendship, and Hosier joined the planning committee of GardenWalk Cleveland and, more recently, GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, founded by Kious.

This year’s Cleveland Heights event (https://gardenwalkclevelandheights.com) will be held on Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, noon to 5 p.m. each day. 

GardenWalk Cleveland (https://gardenwalkcleveland.org), which features nine Cleveland neighborhoods, will be held one week earlier, on Saturday, July 10, and Sunday, July 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:31 AM, 05.25.2021

GardenWalk CH returns in July

The third annual GardenWalk Cleveland Heights garden tour will be held Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18. The free, self-directed tour will feature private yards, community gardens and public spaces, with more than 20 spots expected to be included in the event.

Because of the pandemic, the 2020 GardenWalk was held as a virtual tour of more than a dozen local gardens. This year’s GardenWalk returns to its in-person “roots” (pun joyfully intended), with leisurely outdoor browsing and visiting. 

Each year GardenWalk spotlights the creativity Heights residents infuse into their outdoor spaces. A new structure that is sure to be a crowd pleaser was built by Janet Kious and her family.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:17 AM, 04.01.2021

Gardeners' market to open with Covid guidelines in place

The second season of Noble Gardeners' Market launches Aug. 1. The market will operate at the corner of Noble and Roanoke roads from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, on Saturdays through Sept. 19. 

Gardeners who grow fruit, vegetables and flowers in their yards or community gardens are welcome to sell. Each seller should bring a table or ground cloth on which to display items, and must be able to make change for customers. Sellers must sign in but are not charged for space, and sellers who live and grow outside Cleveland Heights are welcome to participate. 

Some growers planted their gardens this spring to make sure they have something to sell at the market. One Richmond Heights man expanded his already-extensive backyard beds to grow a variety of tomatoes and peppers. A woman in Cleveland Heights planted her entire community garden plot in garlic, and expanded her home flower beds to make cut-flower bouquets to sell.

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 2:34 PM, 07.20.2020

Friends start work to preserve and restore Bradford path

The Bradford Cinder Path is buzzing with activity. Strollers and dog walkers, joggers and families all share the path. It’s the perfect place to learn to ride a bicycle. During a normal school year, it’s a great shortcut to get to school. 

A group of neighbors, Friends of the Bradford Cinder Path, have come together, united in the desire to prepare the path for its second century. [See the related June 2020 Heights Observer article, “A look back and ahead at the Bradford cinder path,” by Marian Morton and Peggy Spaeth.]

The volunteers plan to partner with the city and its neighbors to preserve the path’s mature trees and replace invasive plants with carefully selected native trees and shrubs. They intend to retain the path’s shady beauty, and create a long-term plan for the maintenance of this much-loved path.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:25 AM, 07.03.2020

2020 CH GardenWalk will be virtual tour

GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, a free, self-guided tour of private and public gardens in the city, began in 2019. This year, due to the coronavirus, the tour will be conducted virtually.

Throughout the summer and fall, gardeners in Cleveland Heights are invited to upload videos (five minutes or less) or photographs of their gardens, both flower and vegetable, to the Cleveland Heights Garden Walk Facebook page (www.facebook.com/heightsgardenwalk/).

Gardeners are invited to share pictures of works in progress, small areas of special creativity within a larger space, unique plants, water features—anything that will show off what they have done, and bring joy to others.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:25 PM, 07.01.2020

Neighbors collaborate to create pollinator habitats

If you went down Bradford Road last summer, you may have noticed some interesting tree lawn activity—and it wasn’t on trash night.

With guidance from residents Peggy Spaeth and John Barber, neighbors collaborated on a project—now the Bradford Pollinator Path—to beautify the street while helping the environment. Participating households agreed to dedicate a patch of their front yards or tree lawns to the planting of native species that are known to be supportive ecosystems for insects and birds. 

Having transformed their own front yard and tree lawn into a biodiverse habitat, Spaeth and Barber, the co-founders of Friends of Lower Lake, wanted to increase the impact by expanding it on their street.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:23 AM, 06.02.2020

Free talk series aims to bring nature home

Early spring is the perfect time to think about what to plant in our yards. These days, we know that the choices we make impact nature as never before. We have a declining tree canopy, declining insect and bird populations, and a global climate emergency.

An upcoming series of free talks, Bringing Nature Home, is intended to help attendees take positive actions at the ground level. The speakers, presented by Friends of Lower Lake and the Doan Brook Watershed Partnership (DBWP), will journey from the tree canopy, to the shrub layer, to the ground layer for a holistic look at what makes up healthy habitat in public and private green spaces. The series' tagline, “It’s About Time,” reflects the urgency of restoring urban habitat to good health, as well as how the sequence of plant life supports insects and birds throughout the growing season. Personal choices can make a difference, and this series of talks is intended to provide a guide.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 8:56 AM, 02.28.2020

Heights Tree People prepare for spring

Thirty-some years ago, Bill Hanavan planted a tree in his yard on Yorkshire Road, and fell in love. He couldn’t stop looking at trees, buying trees, and planting trees. In Kalamazoo, Mich., where Bill and Pat Hanavan raised their two daughters, their yard became a veritable forest. Retirement and grandchildren brought the Hanavans back to Cleveland Heights, where Bill still looks at, buys, and plants trees—free of charge—for anyone who wants one.

A notice in Nextdoor, the social networking service for neighborhoods, elicited some interest, and Hanavan planted more than 20 trees for friends and neighbors. But in this time of climate consciousness and controversy, Hanavan was looking to meet up with other tree enthusiasts.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:01 AM, 02.28.2020

HCC's home and garden tour is Sept. 15

The 42nd annual Home & Garden Tour, presented by Heights Community Congress (HCC), will be held on Sunday, Sept.15, from noon to 6 p.m. This year’s theme is Timeless Elegance, and the tour will feature homes and gardens in Cleveland Heights' historic Coventry and Fairmount neighborhoods. 

The five homes on the tour, two of which have gardens, were all designed and built in the early 20th century, and are a testament to the timelessness of quality workmanship. Their elegance is displayed in ornate carved woodwork, beautiful molding and plaster friezes, hand-wrought ironwork, and expert tile work, among the many special features. There are also three stand-alone gardens to visit on the tour. Refreshments will be available at Fairmount Presbyterian Church from 2 to 4 p.m. 

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 2:09 PM, 09.02.2019

First CH GardenWalk a success despite heat

The first GardenWalk in Cleveland Heights, held July 20 and 21, was a free, self-guided tour of 50 gardens across the city. With the temperature on Saturday at around 95 degrees, few peopled ventured out, but on Sunday, with the temperature 10 degrees cooler, most gardeners reported having more than 50 guests.

The gardens included one with an adult tree house, and there were many with wonderful water features, and ponds with enormous koi. Others showcased beautiful perennial flower beds and several Japanese-inspired gardens. Old friends reconnected, and neighbors met neighbors. The walk proved to be a great community-building event as well as an inspiration to all who enjoyed the beauty of the landscaping.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 1:44 PM, 09.02.2019

Save the date for Sept. 15 home and garden tour

The 42nd annual Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour, presented by Heights Community Congress (HCC), is planned for Sunday, Sept. 15, noon to 6 p.m. This year’s selection of homes will focus on the Coventry and Fairmount neighborhoods, and showcase several elegant and historic Cleveland Heights homes, built in the early 1900s, that were designed and built by the premier Cleveland architects and builders of the era. All of the homes have maintained their original essence, often combining an old-world feel with mid-century furnishings and updated kitchens and baths.

The traditional preview party for tour sponsors, patrons and special guests will be held Saturday evening, Sept. 14, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s majestic Tucker Hall. Party attendees will be greeted with a champagne cocktail, and have the opportunity to stroll through the Nicholson B. White art gallery, linger in the church’s lovely stone patio, and partake of some hearty appetizers. Lolly the Trolley will then transport guests on a sunset “sneak peak” of a select group of homes on the tour.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:00 PM, 08.01.2019

A Heights resident shares the joy of her home garden

In Joan Mallek’s verdant home garden, one can see the results of a 40-year labor of love—growing beautiful plants.

A self-educated and self-trained gardener, Mallek designed her landscape through her own inspiration and ideas, experimenting over time. She spends three full weeks each spring preparing her yard, deadheading, amending the soil,and deciding if she wants to make any changes. After the harvest in the fall, she takes just as much time and care putting her garden to rest for the winter.

Mallek’s garden is one stop on this summer’s inaugural GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, planned for Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, noon to 5 p.m., The free tour will comprise multiple private yards and public gardens in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:59 PM, 05.08.2019

Gardening is for the birds

We choose each plant that we place in our garden. But what if birds and insects chose instead? After all, to humans plants are beautiful and fragrant, but to wildlife they are essential food and shelter.

Human health is inextricably bound to the health of wildlife for a healthy environment. Global-scale policies are needed to mitigate the impact of climate change, but individuals, neighborhoods and communities can do what is necessary to make a difference, such as choosing to plant native flora to support native wildlife.

Change can start small. This spring, 20-plus homeowners on Bradford Road are each planting a small patch of native flowers on their tree lawns and front lawns to create a pollinator path. The cumulative effect will be the creation of a quarter acre of native habitat—the Bradford Pollinator Path! Plants include milkweed varieties (Asclepias syriaca, A. incarnata, and A. tuberosa), cardinal flower, blue lobelia, Culver’s root, obedient plant, wild bergamot, and more.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:48 PM, 05.01.2019

CH GardenWalk seeks gardens for July tour

Many front yards in Cleveland Heights are very nice, but a walk around to the back might reveal all kinds of surprises. The first annual Cleveland Heights GardenWalk, a free event planned for Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, noon to 5 p.m. both days, aims to open up some hidden features of Cleveland Heights gardens and yards.

Efforts are underway to recruit gardeners in each Cleveland Heights zip code who have an interest in sharing the results of their labors. The goal of the event is to build community through gardening.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:17 PM, 04.01.2019

CH residents' free talk considers dangers of another 'silent spring'

Two Cleveland Heights residents, Laurel Hopwood and Tom Gibson, have put their heads—and energy—together, to work toward the goal of environmental sustainability. 

To honor Earth Day 2019, they will present a free program, "Next Silent Spring?" on Sunday, April 28, 2–4 p.m., at the Cleveland Museum of Art Recital Hall.

Years ago, when Hopwood read about bees, she thought about how bees have their place in the universe. Yet she saw people shudder when bees were mentioned, fearing bee stings. She knew that bees just want to do their work. Other than making honey, one of every three bites of food we feed our families is available because of the primary work of bees—pollination.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:14 PM, 04.01.2019

Noble Gardeners’ Market seeks sellers for 2019 season

Noble Gardeners’ Market will take place each Saturday, July 20 through Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to noon, at the intersection of Noble and Roanoke roads. The market’s mini-park venue is one block north of Monticello Boulevard.

The Noble Gardeners’ Market will need many sellers to meet the demand experienced in 2018, in a three-week test launch of the market late last summer. People came from Cleveland Heights and nearby cities to learn how they could sell and buy excess fruits, vegetables and flowers. The greatest interest was from neighbors who wanted to buy fresh vegetables from neighbors.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:11 PM, 04.01.2019

Talk addresses problem of non-native plants

Plants have been moving around the globe for millennia, hitching rides on mammals, traveling through avian digestive systems, and riding the wind. Explorers collected them on one continent for agricultural, medicinal and other uses on another.

Gardeners and nurseries have cultivated species to feed and delight us. The taste of a delicious Evercrisp apple and the fragrance of lilacs, native to Eastern Europe and Asia, are unquestioned pleasures.

But plant migration and cultivation have had unintended consequences throughout most of the world. Each continent struggles with non-native species that have become aggressive and invasive, and threaten healthy habitat and biodiversity. Many plants that we’ve invited into our gardens are now domineering, unwanted and dangerous guests in our native ecoregions.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 10:33 AM, 03.04.2019

GardenWalk seeks CH gardens for free summer tour

GardenWalk Cleveland Heights is a new organization formed to showcase the beauty of neighborhoods in Cleveland Heights, and to build community within Cleveland Heights and in the Greater Cleveland area.

The first GardenWalk Cleveland Heights is planned for the weekend of July 20 and 21, from noon to 5 p.m.

The spirit of GardenWalk is inclusive. Tours are free, and anyone who wants show a garden may participate. There are no judges or prizes.

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Volume 12, Issue 1, Posted 12:10 PM, 01.02.2019

Noble Gardeners' Market needs sellers Sept. 1 and 8

More than 40 people showed up at the first Noble Gardeners’ Market on Saturday, Aug. 25. They voiced a tremendous interest in buying produce from their neighbors, looking for tomatoes, zucchini, green beans—even corn.

Are you a grower? The market needs you on its next two market days—Sept. 1 and 8, 10 a.m. to noon. 

Flowers sold quickly, and perennials were a hit, too, but marketgoers begged for vegetables. It's OK if you only have a few extra vegetables to sell. Having you there will help everyone envision the market's 2019 season.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:43 AM, 08.28.2018

Home and garden tour spotlights Harcourt Manor

The 41st annual Heights Heritage Home and Garden Tour, presented by Heights Community Congress (HCC), will be held this year on Sunday, Sept. 16, from noon to 6 p.m. The theme, Our FAIR City, honors the fact that this year, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The tour will be special in another way, in that Harcourt Manor will be the featured home. This is the estate that many see driving up Cedar Glen Parkway, or riding bikes in the neighborhood, and many have watched the progression of the painstaking renovation of this magnificent house, and the spectacular landscaping that has evolved. The first floor of the home will be open, as well as its awe-inspiring grounds. The very generous owners are eager to share their new home with the community.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:32 AM, 08.28.2018

Heights home and garden tour set for Sept. 16

The 41st annual Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour, sponsored by Heights Community Congress (HCC), is set for Sunday, Sept. 16, from noon to 6 p.m. It will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968. This milestone is reflected in this year’s theme “Our Fair City,” with a variety of homes and gardens on display throughout Cleveland Heights.

One featured property will be Harcourt Manor (the home you catch a glimpse of while driving up Cedar Hill), which has undergone extensive and elegant renovations to honor the early 1900s' era of this historic structure. The tour will feature other architecturally lovely and unique Cleveland Heights homes of all sizes, as well as gardens—from a “Food not Lawns” concept garden to the formal Alcazar courtyard. The Alcazar will also be this year’s Sunday tour refreshment stop, from 2 to 4 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 8, Posted 12:20 PM, 07.31.2018

Coventry library hosts children's author Terri Libenson

Local author and illustrator Terri Libenson will read from and discuss her new book, Positively Izzy, at the Coventry Village branch of Heights Libraries on Wednesday, May 9, at 7 p.m. The event is part of Heights Libraries’ Cedar-Coventry Author Series, in partnership with Mac’s Backs - Books on Coventry.

In the following Q-and-A, Libenson speaks about her writing process, favorite authors, and her upcoming book:

Q: How would you describe your new book, Positively Izzy? A: It’s a spin-off of Invisible Emmie. Both books are set in the same school and town, but this one stars two new characters: Brianna, Emmie’s best friend, and Izzy, a new character I’ve introduced. These girls have different personalities, kind of like Emmie and Katie. Bri is smart and bookish, while Izzy is a dreamer who loves playacting. Like Invisible EmmiePositively Izzy also takes place over the course of a day, but this time it focuses on the school talent show.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:47 AM, 05.01.2018

V&E Hann selects homeowner to receive new furnace

Cleveland Heights resident Jon Holmes received a free furnace from Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. as part of the company’s Helping Hann Free Furnace contest.

An Army veteran, Holmes was nominated by his sister and brother-in-law, Jean and Don Lash of South Euclid.

Holmes lives in the Forest Hill neighborhood, in a house that’s been in the family since 1942. The old furnace was installed in 1951 and had to be oiled every day—a difficult task for Holmes, who suffers from a nerve disability.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 10:02 AM, 02.14.2017

HCC celebrates a century of Heights homes with annual tour

It’s the Roaring ‘20s—World War 1 is over, women have the vote, jazz is king, and the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing. . . . Heights Community Congress (HCC) invites everyone to come along and enjoy a taste of the Jazz Age as it presents "Heights, Homes . . . and All That Jazz!” on Sept. 17 and 18.

The 2016 Heritage Home & Garden Tour and preview party pay homage to the 1920s and the century that followed, and continue HCC’s fall tradition of sponsoring a look inside many of Cleveland Heights’s most spectacular homes and gardens.

This year’s tour showcases seven homes, three of which also feature gardens, and one stand-alone garden.

Celebrating Heights Libraries’ centennial, and honoring the Heights Observer, HCC kicks off this year’s tour with a preview party on Saturday, Sept. 17, 6:30–11 p.m., at Ensemble Theatre, 2843 Washington Blvd. (in the Coventry School building).

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 11:51 AM, 09.01.2016

Mitigating stormwater in the Heights

Heights residents are hearing a lot about damaging stormwater and solutions to its runoff problems, including rain barrels, rain gardens, and reducing impervious surfaces, which include rooftops, driveways and even decks. 

Rain obviously can’t pass through concrete, cement, or your roof. Driveways, rooftops, patios and other surfaces, if installed correctly, slope away from your home, and guide water into grates on the roadway. Our current system for handling sewage and stormwater was built decades ago. It was not designed for the region’s current population, nor the amount of impervious surfaces.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:33 AM, 09.01.2016

HCC annual tour celebrates 'All That Jazz'

The year is 1920. World War I has ended, and the Roaring ’20s are ushering in a new Jazz Age. The Cleveland Heights Library has already been around for four years and, in the following year, Cleveland Heights will achieve the status of “city.” Come along with the Heights Community Congress (HCC), and be transported back to this gilded age on HCC’s 39th Annual Heritage Home and Garden Tour:  Heights, Homes . . . and All That Jazz! 

This year’s preview party and tour pay homage to the spectacular homes and glittering fashions of the Jazz Age. The weekend kicks off with a Jazz Age-themed preview party the evening of Saturday, Sept. 17. Gathering at the home of the Ensemble Theatre (in the former Coventry School building on Washington Boulevard), patrons will board Lolly the Trolley for an early peek at select homes from the tour.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 6:12 PM, 07.28.2016

Tips on dryer vent and fireplace safety

When remodeling a home, appearance is often the primary goal. Homeowners should be mindful, however, that function and safety are more important. Remodeling can offer an opportunity to get things done right, and save money in the long run.

When most Heights homes were built, placement of a laundry room was an afterthought, or was done without any regard to venting. One common modern trend is to locate a laundry room centrally in the home. Although this may seem convenient and sensible, it may be dangerous.

One home inspected this winter had a centrally located basement laundry room. The dryer vent wasn’t taken into consideration when the home was built, and the vent had become detached in a finished ceiling—happily, the problem was discovered before it created a larger hazard.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 8:43 AM, 03.28.2016

GardenWalk Cleveland tour is July 11 and 12

The Fifth Annual GardenWalk Cleveland will take place July 11 and 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cleveland Heights resident Jan Kious, founder and chairperson of the annual event, said, “GardenWalk is an opportunity to show Cleveland at its best!”

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 4:07 PM, 06.26.2015

CH master gardener helps organize annual benefit plant sale

For even the most casual of gardeners, purchasing new plants is among the many rites of spring.

In Greater Cleveland, one of the most anticipated spring plant sales is the annual Master Gardener (MG) Plants in the Park sale, which will take place this year on June 6, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 6363 Selig Drive, Kiwanis Pavilion, in Independence. The event offers free admission, and plenty of parking.

Lois Rose, a Cleveland Heights resident and master gardener volunteer, is one of the organizers of this year’s sale, which benefits the programs of the Master Gardeners of Cuyahoga County.

“Plants at the Plants in the Park sale come mostly from the gardens of master gardeners, while annuals come from Green Circle Growers [in Oberlin]. There will be a wide variety of plants—perennials, herbs, annuals, shrubs, trees, houseplants and vegetables,” said Rose. “Plants will be priced from $1 to $10, with some a bit more if they are very large or unusual. There are also wonderful containers filled with annuals created by MGs.”

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 11:08 AM, 05.29.2015

Heights Community Garden Network plans for 2015 season

The warm, invigorating days of spring might seem a lifetime away, but eager Heights community gardeners are already sowing something for the 2015 season: new, innovative ideas.

At the Heights Community Garden Network (HCGN) annual meeting—held Feb. 17 at the Lee Road Library—a dozen horticulturists representing community gardens from across the Heights laid out their individual goals, plus their hopes for larger events and new strategies to expand gardening opportunities this year. Samantha Provencio, coordinator for HCGN, commenced the meeting with a fast rundown of the organization, then opened the rest of the meeting for a free-flowing dialogue.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 1:36 PM, 03.30.2015

Nature center offers tips on what to plant where

The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes is offering an informational program on Tuesday, March 24, to help gardeners choose what—and where—to plant this spring. The "Dig In! What Grows Where?" forum will be held at the nature center, 7–8:30 p.m.

The evening begins with a presentation by Nature Center Plant Sale Committee members of selections found in the annual plant sale catalog, available at the nature center—and for order online in mid-March—on Plant Sale Day, Saturday, May 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Following the presentation, a panel of experts will provide advice on which plants to grow where in a Northeast Ohio garden, including what plants grow well in sun and shade, how to incorporate native plants, and how to attract pollinators.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:34 AM, 03.17.2015

Cleveland Heights resident competes in Olympics of Landscaping

Jamie Swisher of Cleveland Heights will be part of the Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) team competing at PLANET Student Career Days, a national collegiate landscaping competition that will take place at North Carolina State University, March 12–15.

More than 850 college students from 65 of the nation’s top horticulture and landscape programs—including Tri-C—are expected to attend the three-day competition to test their skills in 28 events.

Students will compete in 3-D landscape design, irrigation techniques, hardscape installation, plant identification, small engine repair and other events that require the expertise needed to work in the industry.

Swisher is one of 16 students competing for the college at this year’s “Olympics of Landscaping.” Tri-C produced the individual student champion in 2014 while placing fifth as a team—tops among two-year schools.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:15 AM, 03.10.2015

Home permaculture design course begins Sept. 18 at HRRC

Starting in September, an eight-week Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) class will teach the principles of landscape architecture and permaculture to help attendees improve the green functioning and aesthetics of their homes and yards.

Taught by a permaculturist and a garden designer, the course will meet once a week on Thursday evenings, Sept. 18 through Nov. 6, 7:30–8:45 p.m.

Instructors will cover how to: keep water on-site (reducing water bills); improve soil without chemicals; attract pollinators and other beneficial insects; incorporate permanent edible plants and native plants into the landscape; and more.

Participants will be encouraged to explore their own sites and apply what they learn to create a plan they can implement, to add beauty and value to their properties.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 10:19 AM, 08.29.2014

Learn how to safely undertake DIY home repairs on Aug. 19

Whether you'll be tackling a do-it-yourself project because you're excited about doing the work yourself, or because it's your only option, your focus will all too often be on design, material choices, and other "fun" aspects of the project. Project planning, however, should also include avoiding injury, minimizing exposure to toxic materials, and consideration of other potential dangers.

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) invites homeowners to learn from contractor Mark Westbrooks what precautions they should take in planning repair projects. Westbrooks will present Working Safely: How Homeowners Should Protect Themselves when Doing Repairs on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 7 p.m., at HRRC’s Teaching Center, 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 11:05 AM, 08.11.2014

HRRC's electrical repair course for women begins in July

Some people are afraid of electricity. Past participants in Home Repair Resource Center's (HRRC) Home How-To women’s repair course, however, have found that by understanding the “mystery” of electricity, and learning how to remain safe when doing electrical work, they can be confident trying basic repairs.

Women are invited to enroll in the upcoming Electrical Repairs course module, consisting of eight workshops held on Wednesday evenings, 7–9 p.m., July 30 through Sept. 17. Participants will learn to replace switches and outlets, run wires through walls, install 3-way switches and GFCI outlets, put up ceiling fans, and more. The classes offer ample opportunity to practice using the tools and techniques required for many common electrical projects. No previous experience is required.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 10:01 AM, 07.01.2014

HRRC presents June 24 program on repairing 'historic' roofs

If you need to repair a roof with slate, tile, copper flashings, or other “historic” materials, you probably know that special care will be required. What should you discuss with a contractor to ensure the work will be done properly? Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) invites homeowners from all communities to attend a free presentation on Tuesday, June 24, at 7 p.m. on Repairing Historic Roofs: Slate, Tile, Copper Flashings and Other Special Materials.

Part of HRRC’s HouseMender University series, the presentation will feature representatives from Uston Roof Restoration, who will explain what homeowners should look for contracting repairs for these types of roofs.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 9:48 AM, 06.17.2014

Meet Vivian, the garden coach

Vivian Vail's gorgeous garden is at the corner of Somerton and Radnor roads in Cleveland Heights. It's a rambling home to luscious peonies, poppies, gladiolas, zinnias, sunflowers, sage, dahlias and many varieties of sedum. Her garden features huge rocks, sculptures and interesting objects, such as a carved wooden Don Quixote head. Perhaps you've seen her out working in her full-length signature sundresses. Watching her jump on a shovel (with dress billowing) to get down deep into the dirt is a dramatic treat.

Vail opened her gardening business (called Vivian the Garden Coach) last spring, after helping a friend start a garden and loving the experience [disclosure: I am that friend]. One of her first clients had lots of beautiful plants that she hadn't tended to in several seasons, and was overwhelmed about what needed to be done. Vail helped her prune, divide and relocate plants so that their beauty was revealed. Another person just needed a rhododendron pruned to make her garden come alive and look less ragged. According to Vail, “Sometimes you need to edit what's detracting from natural beauty.”

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 9:45 AM, 05.30.2014

HRRC offers free advice from architects on May 19

If you’re considering making changes to your home—redesigning your front entryway, remodeling your kitchen, perhaps enclosing your open back porch to gain an extra bedroom—it would probably be helpful to talk with an expert.

On Monday, May 19, Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) is sponsoring Ask an Architect consultations, for homeowners who would like free advice before embarking on a home renovation project.

The architects will meet with homeowners in individual, 25-minute consultations, and suggest ways to maximize a home’s potential, and identify possible pitfalls.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 5:58 PM, 05.15.2014

Learn how to choose replacement windows at HRRC

It can be difficult to choose replacement windows. Television ads tout various advantages—deep discounts and lifetime warrantees—but how does one sort through the hype to make an informed choice that will provide the most value for one’s investment?

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) invites homeowners to its Choosing Replacement Windows presentation on April 22, at 7 p.m.

Britt Raburn of Lyndhurst Lumber will share advice on how to evaluate window products, and consider features such as overall quality, energy efficiency, warranty protection and ease of installation.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 3:30 PM, 04.17.2014

Annual Bremec fundraiser will benefit HRRC

After this very long, cold winter, yards and gardens here in the Heights will undoubtedly need some spring sprucing-up. Those in need of lawn and garden supplies—or just in search of something green—can support Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) of Cleveland Heights by shopping at Bremec on the Heights between Monday, April 21 and Sunday, May 4.

When shoppers present an HRRC voucher at the register, Bremec on the Heights Garden Center, 13410 Cedar Road, will donate a portion of those purchases to HRRC. Even those shoppers who may not yet be ready to take home plants and supplies can benefit HRRC by purchasing gift cards using a voucher during the two-week fundraising period. They can then use the gift cards at a later date.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 3:22 PM, 03.31.2014

The effects of frigid temperatures on garden plants

With periods of extreme cold come questions about the impact such temperatures may have on plant materials in the landscape. It is a good time to review potential damage to trees and shrubs, keeping in mind that much of the damage that may occur will not become apparent until new growth begins in the spring. By then, many of us will have forgotten the frigid temperatures that have now twice invaded the Heights, especially if it’s a mild spring, and gardeners may not relate plant damage to the extreme events of this winter.

Weather conditions this past fall played a part in how plants prepared for winter. Trees and shrubs in our area received inadequate moisture in the weeks leading up to the first hard frost. Rainfall last August and September was below normal, leaving plants much more likely to suffer cold injury.

Native plant materials in their natural habitats will better tolerate these harsh conditions, but native species planted in the urban and suburban landscapes of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, where soils and environmental factors are vastly different from their normal habitats, can experience cold injury due to stresses on the plants imposed by these exotic habitats. Most woody ornamental species used in our Heights landscapes are non-native, and even a species rated hardy to our region may not survive when exposed to extreme temperatures. Keep this in mind when assessing plant problems in the spring.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 11:21 AM, 02.18.2014

Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour set for Sept. 22

Late September—the end of summer and beginning of fall—is when gardens have reached peak growth and late blooms glow against background foliage. It’s a good time to savor the end of the season with an afternoon tour sampling the “Dazzling Diversity” of some of the homes and gardens in Cleveland Heights.

Dazzling Diversity is the theme of the 36th Annual Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour, sponsored by Heights Community Congress (HCC). It is sure to dazzle with spectacular interiors, unusual exteriors, and colorful gardens reflecting the unique variety in the Heights. The self-guided tour of six homes and four gardens is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22, from noon to 6 p.m., and includes a refreshment stop at the landmark Church of the Savior on Lee Road.

Highlights of this year’s tour stops include:

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 1:51 PM, 08.30.2013

June 17 event explores practical steps for enhancing a home's sustainability

Often, homeowners presume that making houses more sustainable will require major lifestyle changes or expensive materials and technologies.

That is not necessarily true. On Monday, June 17, 7–8:30 p.m., Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), the Cleveland Heights nonprofit, will host an informal conversation on practical ways to reduce energy usage around the home. The event will take place at the BottleHouse, 2050 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

The conversation, led by sustainability advocate Fred Cortright, will emphasize changes that are realistic, affordable and meaningful.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 11:24 AM, 06.11.2013

Learn to do repairs at hands-on classes

Many home repairs could be tackled on a do-it-yourself basis, if the homeowner just knew what to do. That’s where Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) comes in.

HRRC’s repair workshops teach the “how-to” of basic home repairs, with a special focus on maintaining older homes. The workshops are taught by experienced professionals and include opportunities for hands-on practice with the tools, materials, and techniques needed for the project.

Emily Hamburg and Rob Shields of South Euclid attended their first class last fall, a workshop on caulking and weatherization. Since then, they have worked to weather-strip doors, wrap pipes, and seal up gaps—tasks Hamburg describes as “lots of hammer, nail, glue, caulking stuff.” She said that the classes have helped them become “more confident in a hands-on environment, in doing basic things.”

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 9:57 AM, 06.10.2013

HRRC offers carpentry repair classes for women

Designed for women who want to learn how to make home repairs themselves, HRRC’s Home How-To for Women course in Carpentry Repairs will cover how to install ceramic tile, repair windows, build handrails, repair plaster and drywall, and complete other carpentry projects. The Carpentry Repairs module will include eight two-hour classes, held on Wednesday evenings from June 5 through July 31 at HRRC’s Teaching Center in Cleveland Heights.

Applications are now being accepted, and early registration is suggested. Only 18 spots are available, to encourage small-group learning. Tuition is $120 for Cleveland Heights residents and $150 for nonresidents; low-income participants are eligible for reduced rates.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 10:13 AM, 05.16.2013

Find out what mold contractors don’t want you to know at April 16 seminar

If you’re concerned about mold and air quality in your home, don’t respond to scare tactics. Yes, mold can be a problem, but in many cases there are simple things homeowners can do themselves to discourage mold growth.

Learn “What Mold Contractors Don’t Want You to Know” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, at the Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights.

Gil Gotlieb of Airguard Restoration will discuss how to determine when mold and other contaminants pose a risk, what homeowners can do themselves to remedy the situation, and what issues should be discussed with a contractor.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 10:24 AM, 04.09.2013

Welcome spring with the Nature Center's annual plant sale

May flowers . . . and plants and herbs and vegetables . . . will color the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes parking lot during its 31st annual plant sale on Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The sale features a wide variety of hard-to-find native plants, perennials and annuals selected by a local team of experienced horticulturalists. Annuals can be purchased in flats, individually, or in convenient preplanted hanging baskets. There will also be a wide selection of vegetable plants ready for a kitchen garden, and plant assortments one can combine to create a beautiful container arrangement.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 1:15 PM, 04.30.2013

Community Supported Agriculture in the Heights

'Tis the season for fresh and abundant locally grown food! More and more Heights residents are assuring themselves an abundant supply of healthy produce from local farms by purchasing a share from one of our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) groups.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 1:13 PM, 04.30.2013

Rain barrel workshop could help reduce your sewer bill

Adding a rain barrel to your gutter system can help control surface water—and reduce your sewer bill. Home Repair Resource Center's (HRRC) upcoming workshop, Building a Rain Barrel, will provide hands-on instruction. Participants can opt to build a rain barrel during the class, or choose to observe the process only. The class will take place on Monday, April 8, 7–9 p.m., at HRRC’s Teaching Center, 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights.

Reservations are required, and this class fills quickly; to reserve a spot, call 216-381-6100, x16 or e-mail rstager@hrrc.org.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 9:41 AM, 03.29.2013

Bremec on the Heights prepares for spring season

As temperatures rise and the snow disappears, Bremec on the Heights is getting ready to reopen its doors to gardeners in the Heights. 

According to Jessica Mitchell, marketing director, some "spring favorites" with Bremec’s customers are pansies, fruit trees, and annual and perennial plants. Bremec also offers organic lawn care items, such as fertilizer, soil, pest and disease control products, as well as garden décor items, such as fountains, statuary and pottery. 

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 11:16 AM, 03.28.2013