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Bringing Your Garden Indoors 

Lady Byrd Johnson said that ‘where flowers bloom, there is hope.” 

Now that the chill in the evening air hints at inevitable winter, this is the time to plan the indoor garden.  Why?  Because flowers really do bring hope for the middle of February and we will soon be aching to remember the warmth of the summer and promise of spring. Indoor gardens can also be used to decorate for the holidays, add fresh flavours to your meals, and give your air-tight home a wonderful fragrance of fresh, plant-purified air.

You do not need a green thumb to keep an indoor garden flourishing throughout the winter.  All you need are some pots, plants, or seeds, and a once a week watering to enjoy some indoor beauty, no matter the weather outdoors.  With just a little preparation and planning, you can bloom all winter long.


Plant Pots

If you plan on bringing some of the outdoors, inside, you will need to think about preparing your living space to ensure your plants get the most southern exposure to the sun that you can offer.  This means you should arrange your pots near bright windows, on plant stands, or shelves that offer the most sunlight. Try to avoid placing your plants too close to heat registers as this will dry them out too quickly. 

When it comes to plant pots, it is important to make sure to choose the right size pot for what you intend to grow. Ensure that each pot has a tray underneath it to catch excess water,  and to save your flooring from any water damage. If moving your plants around is difficult, there are plant pot trays with wheels on the bottom that allow you to wheel your plants across the floor and save the strain on your back. 


Growing Medium

Plants only do as well as the medium they are grown in. Regular potting soil is not enough to keep our plants thriving all winter long, so be sure to enrich it with compost, peat, and maybe even a little manure for plants that bloom into flowers, as they will need the extra nutrients.  Herbs should be grown in well-rotted compost material instead of manure, just to be safe, as you can use the herbs to cook with and eat, cut straight from the pot, with no washing required.


Choosing your plants

Tropical plants like the ubiquitous spider, dieffenbachia, and mother in laws tongue, are incredibly low maintenance plants that do not need anything but sunlight and regular watering to keep your indoor air fresh. But if you desire that spark of hope in the dead of winter that only a bright beautiful bloom can bring, there are a number of plants that will bring delight. Bulbs like Amaryllis, hyacinth, daffodil, and tulips are the easiest and will bloom in December if you start watering it in September, plus they are easy to plant and can be stored in the basement for outdoor spring planting once they finish their blossoms indoors. 

Herbs like parsley, chives, coriander, and lemongrass can be planted together in multi-level pots, but require a little more attention because they need to be harvested regularly to keep them producing. When it comes to herbs, the key Is to use your herbs every day. 

Provided they get enough sunlight, you can even grow ever-bearing strawberries inside, giving you the sweet taste of spring long before it arrives.

Decorating for Halloween with Chinese Lantern plants, gourds, or miniature pumpkins on the vine, adds colour and interest inside your door, while poinsettias, red daisies, and short sunflowers can add panache in December.  By February, miniature roses could be blossoming, and by March a pot of clover, or cress. 


Watering and Fertilizer

The key to success is to not over-water.  A good drink once per week should be enough to keep your plants thriving, but fertilizer will be needed to obtain blooms. Fertilizing once per month will bring great results, but you can even add a tablespoon of Epsom salts or crushed eggshells to your watering can once per month to give a much-needed boost of magnesium and calcium to your plants.

There is nothing more inspiring and comforting than fresh fragrant blooms on your kitchen table, fresh herbs in your dinner, or the lush colours of all shades of green inside when everything outside is grey and ghostly.  Bringing the garden inside is a sure sign of hope for sunny days to come - and Lady Byrd knew about hope.


Sellers Resources

Tiny Homes Provide Great Options for Homeowners 

Tiny Homes provide great options for homeowners      Tiny Homes can be a great addition for homeowners, especially those looking for an extra means of income. A tiny home, also known as a coach house, is a small free-standing apartment, detached from the principal dwelling but located on the same lot. Coach houses are intended to bring more density to established neighbourhoods without negatively impacting community spaces. This increase in neighbourhood density would naturally  increase the number of affordable homes.       The regulations concerning Tiny Homes vary from one municipality to another. Note: the following information is specifically regarding Tiny Homes in Ottawa. The Advantages of a Coach Home Building a Coach Home on your pre-existing lot can have countless advantages. The initial advantage is the extra means of income. The additional dwelling is connected to both city water and sewer lines through the primary residence. This means no new connections are required. Note, Tiny Homes don’t necessarily need to be a newly built structure. Accessory structures such as garages or sheds can also be converted into coach homes, as long as all building requirements are met. If having an extra income doesn’t lure you in, perhaps your in-laws are looking to downsize but your home just isn’t big enough to accommodate them. Tiny homes allow family members to reside close, while ensuring everyone has their own space and independence.  Eligibility The rules and regulations concerning Tiny Homes vary from municipality to municipality. In Ottawa, not all lots meet the requirements for the addition of a coach home. In general, lots can accommodate a Tiny Home if the following requirements are met: The lot is serviced by municipal water and sewer lines, or if the lot is in a rural area, it is 0.4 hectares or larger and is serviced by a private well and septic system. The lot contains a detached, semi-detached, duplex or townhouse dwelling. Note, the requirements for a Tiny Home located on a lot where the primary dwelling is a rowhouse, the coach house must have direct pedestrian access to a public road. The pathway provided must be 1.2 metres wide. The primary dwelling unit does not already contain a secondary dwelling unit such as a basement apartment, garden suite or any rooming units.  Other Important factors  Other requirements, such as preserving mature trees and integrating with the urban context of the homes located in proximity must also be respected while building your Tiny Home.  It’s important to note, coach homes must meet both size requirements and height restrictions. These regulations vary from one lot to another. Overall, coach homes must be smaller than the principal residence and not accede 40% of the main dwelling. As for height restrictions, urban areas must not exceed 3.6 metres in height, while certain rural lots allow for the possibility of a two story coach home. To ensure your lot meets the requirements implemented by the city of Ottawa, contact a Development Information Officer (DIO) to further evaluate your lot. Development Information Officers can be reached by simply dialling 3-1-1.  Coach Homes can be a great asset to any lot, especially in cities like Ottawa where the need for affordable housing is always in high demand.

Summer Festivals 

Summer Festivals Summer festivals are a great way to ensure you take full advantage of everything the season has to offer. The great thing about summer festivals, especially the ones in the west end of Ottawa, is that there is a large variety of events. This means, everyone is sure to find a festival that suits their interests. Here are 5 of the most popular festivals that take place in the west end of the city. Note the list also includes a rural festival, the Almonte fair. Escaping the city’s hustle and bustle can be fun all on its own.  West End Food Truck Rally - August 10th 2019 - Christ Church Bells Corners What’s better than a fun event that supports a great cause? We agree, nothing’s better! This event has more than 10 food trucks that serve both sweet and savoury foods in support of The FAMSAC Food Cupboard. Enjoy great music, family friendly activities and entertainment while munching on some great food.  Westboro Fuse- August 17th and 18th 2019 - Westboro Neighbourhood This festival is essentially a weekend long block party that showcases live music, family friendly-activities and great food. It’s sure to have you enjoying the modern vibe Westboro has to offer all while spending time in the sun. Folk Festival Birthday Picnic at Britannia Park - August 25th 2019 Britannia Park is a beautiful family activity all on its own but the Birthday picnic means you don’t have to plan lunches, or snacks or even activities. Join your community for this family friendly Birthday Picnic to celebrate the exact 25th anniversary of the first Ottawa Folk Festival. This will be a family favourite, with beautiful views for the adults and lots of activities for the kids. Bridge Street Summer Festival -August 3rd - Carleton Place This year’s theme is everything Motown! Seven bands will be performing various songs all in line with the overall theme. The festival doesn’t stop at live music, family friendly fun takes place all day long. Local shops also set up booths along the street while food vendors offer tons a yummy options to snack on.  Almonte Fair- July 19th, 20th and 21st 2019 - Almonte Summer festivals like the Almonte fair add variety by offering events that tend to take place in the fall months. The Almonte fair has demo derbies to wrestling competition. Enjoy local food vendors and other more rural family activities.  Whatever your interests may be, summer festivals are always a good choice when planning your time off, especially seeing the kids aren’t in school and the weather is beautiful. Just be sure to remember all the summer essentials like sunblock, water bottles and your favourite ball-cap to ensure you can enjoy all the festival has to offer.  

How To Boost Your Curb Appeal This Fall 

How To Boost Your Curb Appeal This Fall The cooler air is here and before we know it, the leaves will begin to change. Fall is a season of transition as we (and the world around us) prepare for the winter months ahead but this is no reason to assume that curb appeal doesn’t matter. If you have your home listed this fall, it’s important to remember the importance of first impressions. Ensure that your home looks its best inside and out. Keep Lawns Clean and Maintained Although you may not need to get the mower out every week, depending on the weather, the grass does still grow throughout the fall. Make sure that your lawn remains well kept and that you mow it when necessary. It’s also important to clean up any debris including leaves and garbage to ensure that everything is in top shape for buyers. Sweep the Front Step This may seem like a little detail but it can make all the difference as someone is walking up to your home. A front step that is neatly swept gives off the impression of a pride of ownership that is likely carried through the entire home. Bring in Fall Decor Adding some fall decor and plants to your front step can brighten up the space and provide a pop of colour. Consider including pumpkins and gourds in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Mums also look great in front of any home and do very well in the colder weather of fall. Paint the Front Door Even if you don’t have time to take on the whole front of your house, painting the front door can really freshen things up. Consider adding some colour to your home by painting the door a contrasting colour to the rest of your home. Red, yellow, and blue are all popular colours for front doors right now. Trim the Trees Fall is a great time of year to trim your trees. If your trees are growing too close to your home or driveway, it’s important to get them cut back. It’s also important to look for dead and broken branches and to get them taken care of as soon as possible as they may pose a safety risk. If you are not comfortable with heights or a chainsaw, it is always best to hire a professional. Clean the Windows Summer can be a very season. Dry weather can mean lots of dust and this ultimately finds its way to the windows. Make sure that all your windows are cleaned inside and out to ensure the best views of your now ready to list property!

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