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April 2018
Lyon Real Estate
Welcome, Spring!

Spring has finally arrived, and with rain on the forecast we can only hope that the old saying, "April showers bring May flowers" is true! Spring time is the perfect opportunity to get your house cleaned up, inside and out. If you're thinking of selling, taking this time to get your home ready for the next step will pay off in the long run. Happy Spring-Cleaning!

- Tammy  

The Best Vegetables and Flowers to Plant This Spring!
Original Article and Photos via

It's not too late to add a splash of color to your garden. If you didn't get your bulbs planted in the fall, don't worry. You can still get some plants going this spring. Assuming your ground has thawed or you are using planters, these plants are perfect for planting in the spring, and will fully blossom just in time for the warm summer weather.

Arrange Your Plants

Before selecting your plants, take some time to arrange your garden or planters. Instead of planting in straight lines, stagger your plants in a slight zigzag pattern. They'll actually absorb sunshine and water more evenly if they're out of each other's way, says Mary Moss-Sprague, Master Gardener and author of Stand Up and Garden: The no-digging, no-tilling, no-stooping approach to growing vegetables and herbs.

If you've got space, mix ornamentals and vegetables throughout your garden instead of dividing them into separate sections. You'll save time and take advantage of companion planting. Examples include: garlic planted near roses helps keep the aphid population in check; radishes alongside spinach will keep the leaf miners away; tall flowers provide shade for lettuce.

Another helpful tip is to create microclimates in your garden by grouping plants together by shade, sun, water, and fertilizer needs. You'll use less water and be able to maintain all the plants in one section at the same time rather than running to the four corners of your garden.

Select Spring Flowers

Native plants will grow better and with less fuss than a nonnative; they're acclimated to where you live and usually need less care. Check your local nursery can provide a list of plants native to your area.

When selecting ornamental flowers, annuals may seem like the obvious choice—you buy them at the beginning of the season and throw them out when it's over. But because annuals typically aren't native plants, they tend to need more water and fertilizer, which means more work for you. Perennials, on the other hand, will do better and need less maintenance, and you don't have to replant every season. Examples of easy-to-plant perennials are bear's breeches, hostas, and red-hot pokers.

A great spring project is replacing all or part of your lawn with a no-maintenance ground cover, such as white clover. Moss-Sprague says it will take a beating and is a good choice if you need an area where the kids and animals can run around. Scotch moss, Corsican mint, mondo grass and blue star creeper can all be walked on without a problem as well. Ornamental grasses are another good choice. Try pachysandra, which grows well in shaded areas.

Choose Spring Vegetables

Herb and vegetable gardens are perfect for planting in the spring. You can enjoy their offerings just in time for your first summer bbq. Choose vegetables that you can seed directly into the ground or into containers, such as peas, beans, radishes, carrots, lettuce, and swiss chard. All are great growers that require minimal maintenance. Tomatoes can be picky when they're young. You're better off buying starters from a reliable supplier instead of seeding your own. Buy indeterminate varieties—they keep fruiting for as long as they want, whereas determinate varieties put out a fixed number and then call it quits.

Some plants, such as asparagus and rhubarb, and some herbs, such as mint, oregano, and parsley, just keep growing year after year. Look for varieties that will overwinter so you don't have to replant each season. "There are a lot of new breeds coming out that are hardier, bred for cold winters," Moss-Sprague says.

Not-so-easy choices: roses, grapes, cane berries, raspberries, and blackberries, which all require pruning to fruit well the following season.

Dwarf shrubs are easier to maintain because they won't get tall enough to make pruning and maintenance difficult (although some can reach up to 6 feet, they take a very long time to grow to that height). There are many types to choose from, including hollies, boxwoods, rhododendrons, and aspidistra, with more new dwarf varieties being released each season. Euonymus is a good choice. "It adds a lot of pizzazz in the garden but doesn't require a lot of shaping and trimming to keep it under control," Moss-Sprague says.

Where to Buy Seeds

Home and garden centers sell plenty of seeds. But Melinda Myers, a Milwaukee–based gardener and author of more than 20 horticulture books, says you'll get a wider selection of plants with online or mail orders. Amazon has an amazing selection of seeds available.

Seeds are less expensive than plants, so you'll save money, but the package may contain more seeds than you need. In that case, Myers says, save some for next year. Or, plant them all and swap seedlings with friends when it's time to transplant them outdoors.

Feng Shui: Creating a Space of Good Energy

Feng shui has proven to be more than just a passing design fad. For many, it’s become an integral way of living. Literally translated, feng shui means wind and water, but in practice, it’s the design and placement within an environment that allows energy to flow through personal (or professional) space. Our living spaces, many experts say, are a reflection of what’s happening inside us.

Creating good energy actually begins outside the home. Open flow cultivates the movement of good energy so large hedges or porch clutter should not obstruct the front door. A large tree obscuring the view from the entryway can also inhibit energy.

Inside the home, energy is channeled through the front door, and through every room of the home, thus it’s vital to keep spaces clear, open and inviting. Doors facing each other (the back door is visible from the front) can create a harsh energy while a staircase directly in front of the door disrupts the harmonious flow. These are two factors to consider during any potential renovation.

Furniture should also be considered. Large chairs or couches should not block the space when entering a room. Smaller furnishings, an end table with flowers or greenery, on the other hand, can redirect and improve energy. Benign décor, such as a mirror, facing the front door, actually pushes the energy back out.

Positive energy and feng shui in the kitchen can boost health and nutrition. If possible, the kitchen should be located toward the back of the house, but if that’s not possible, there are still ways to invite good energy into what is essentially the heart of the home. Kitchens can be easily cluttered, so be sure to keep it clear, neat and calm.

In the bedroom, feng shui promotes a nourishing and sensual energy. As with any room, it should be inviting and comfortable. Forego bringing a television or exercise equipment into the room and focus on air quality, light and calming colors.

Tammy Garza
Tammy Garza Direct
(916) 365-2922

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