Blog :: 05-2020

Low-maintenance Gardening Makes Lush Landscapes Easy

Native Perennials for Easy GardeningFor those who love the look of a summer yard brimming with blooms and showy foliage but don’t want to have to toil in the soil, a low-maintenance garden bed or a micro-garden is the ideal option. Low-maintenance gardens are exactly what they sound like – a collection of plantings chosen for their ease of care. Micro-gardens allow your green thumb to flourish on a small, easy-to-handle scale – think patio containers, window boxes and flower pots. Following are some tips on taking on either this summer.

Choose natives to Western N.C.

Native plants are an easy addition to a low-maintenance garden. They are already adapted to native soil types of Western North Carolina and generally grow best with little attention. Maximize your success by matching the right plants with the right site conditions: Take into account available light, moisture and soil pH, and for ideas look to nearby natural areas to observe how native plants grow naturally.

Some native plants to consider are: ferns such as Lady Fern and Hay-scented Fern; grasses and sedges such as Big Bluestem; ground covers like Wild Strawberry and Wild Blue Phlox; and wildflowers like Butterfly Milkweed and Blackeyed Susan.

Low Maintenance GardeningPack in perennials

A garden bed packed with perennials promises blooms year after year, with minimal-to-no work. Add in flowering perennials that require no deadheading, and you can literally sit back and enjoy the fruits of your one-time labor!

Perennials require less yearly maintenance, saving you money, energy and time by not having to clear out garden beds and replant every year. They also don’t require annual composting or mulching.

Perennial root systems offer some amazing advantages, not only to the perennials themselves, but to surrounding plants and soil. Because they don’t need to be pulled up and replanted each year, the soil remains undisturbed and structurally strong. The roots aerate and channel the ground, allowing water to travel more efficiently. This benefits shallow-rooted plants nearby, which draw moisture and nutrients up from the surface of the perennial roots.

Hardy perennials provide ground cover and preserve moisture. You can choose perennials that continue to benefit your yard through the winter, dying back in the colder months yet keeping enough foliage to cover the soil and protect it.

The magic of mulch 

Adding a layer of mulch to your garden bed helps to prevent weeds from proliferating among your plants, saving you time and effort. Mulch also prevents erosion, an issue in the many hilly yards common in the Asheville area. It allows water to drip into the soil, rather than run off the surface and strip topsoil with it. Mulch also helps to retain moisture, so you don’t have to water as much. And it aids in regulating soil temperature, protecting plants from extremes that can stress and weaken them.

Easy Gardening TipsDepending on what you use, mulch can help to add nutrients and improve your soil over time. Natural mulch gradually decomposes, helping to aerate soil and prevent it from becoming compacted and hard.

Micro gardening options

If you’d like to grow plants and vegetables on a smaller, easier-to-handle scale, micro gardening is the way to go. Flowers, greens and herbs are micro favorites, but really anything can be grown with this method of gardening. All you need is a small outdoor space and a container.

Window boxes and flower pots are great for micro gardening, and having such containers can make it easier to tend to plants and amend the soil specifically to each plant’s needs. Micro gardening usually requires seed selection and germination, moist, rich soil, and a warm environment to start.

Depending on the type of vegetables or herbs planted, a micro garden can begin producing within two weeks of first leaf formation. The result is fresh, nutritious food for you and your family, easily attained with some tending.

Read More: How to Create an Eco-Friendly Landscape

 

 

Give Your Quarantine Workout Some Weight With an At-Home Gym

Home Gym AshevilleWhile uncertainty continues to surround the safe reopening of gyms and workout studios around Asheville, it doesn’t mean your former exercise regimen has to lose muscle. Setting up a home gym is easier and less cumbersome than you might think. And doing so can be surprisingly economical: Body-weight workouts mean you can use items already available in your home. Here are some ideas for pumping up your at-home workout while you await your return to the gym.

Small items, big results

If you have even a free corner of a room, you can easily establish a workout spot. Start with a yoga mat; spreading one on the floor is a good way to delineate a designated exercise space. Mats are good for floor exercises, stretches and, of course, yoga. Another small item that can yield big results is a resistance band. Many can be purchased in sets of varying resistance. Use these for leg and arm strengthening. A stability ball has infinite uses as well: Think core strengthening, balance exercises, even stretching. A pair each of light, medium and heavy dumbbells can offer added weight when building upper-body muscle. For some cardio action, grab a jump rope: This old-school tool can be used outdoors or in, which means inclement weather won’t dampen your heart-pumping session. Finally, a foam roller and simple strap can help with stretching and flexibility.

Creating a Home GymOnline video guidance

Maybe you’ve got all the equipment but lack the guidance, or the motivation, to exercise. The Internet is teeming with tutorials for any type of workout you could want. Some may require a sign-up and fee, but you can easily find free videos to inspire you. The YMCA of Western N.C., among other establishments, offers a variety of full-length virtual classes touching on everything from core conditioning to pilates to youth and active older adult fitness.

Use what you have

Even if you don’t have official exercise equipment in your home, you can still work various muscles using common household furniture and a little improvisation. Incorporate your couch for feet-elevated glut bridges, incline and decline push-ups, and tricep dips. Use a chair to help balance while doing calf raises and lunges. Use a wall for wall-sits to strengthen quads. You can even get some workout use out of your bed by doing leg lifts from a reclined position. If your home has stairs, you can climb up and down them (maintaining control, of course) to elevate your heart rate. 

 

 

Stock the Shelves for Summer Drive Provides Relief to Asheville Families

Stock the Shelves AshevilleWhat is Stock the Shelves for Summer?

Stock the Shelves for Summer is a community food drive and fundraiser May 22-31 to provide food and essential supplies for local families in need before summer arrives. 

The drive is a partnership between area residents and six local business sponsors, including Mosaic Realty. We need your help to make this event a huge success!

If you have an agent at Mosaic already, contact your agent to schedule a donation pickup from a safe location outside your home. To learn more about the drive, make a financial donation, or find out how to drop off needed supplies, visit www.stocktheshelvesavl.org.

When you go grocery shopping, buy some extra food and supplies (list provided). You can either arrange for a pick-up of the supplies at your house, take them directly to a drop-off location, or simply donate money. Your donation will be matched by our business sponsors: $1 per donated item or per dollar donated, up to $30,000!  All donations go directly to Buncombe County Schools’ Family Resource Center and to Asheville City School's Family Resource Center and Emergency Assistance Fund (through Asheville City Schools Foundation) to help with their supplemental meal and supply programs.

Primary - Stock the ShelvesWhy is this an urgent need?

Asheville City Schools has served over 48,000 breakfast and lunch meals to students in the district since the physical closure of schools on March 16. Their Resource Center has additionally provided 53 families with supplemental food / household items / art supplies / diapers and book boxes in the four weeks it has been open. Buncombe County Schools Resource Center is currently providing 108 supplemental food boxes per week and 900 meals per day to 300 addresses in the county. The need for basic supplies is ongoing and increasing. 

How can we work together to help?

Our goal is to Stock the Shelves for Summer with a food and household item drive between now and May 31. Six Asheville-based businesses- Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty, JAG Construction, Symmetry Financial Group, Jade Mountain Builders, Alfie Loans, and Village Antiques- are matching $1 per donated food item or per dollar donated, up to $30,000.  Volunteers from those companies are also driving to homes to pick up donations and deliver to schools. 

"At a time when it is tempting to solely focus on your own small business or family, Stock the Shelves sponsors have stepped up to support everyone who calls Asheville home. Thank you to these local businesses for looking at summer as not just a time to get back to business but as a time to work for our kids and families most impacted by this pandemic,” Copland Rudolph, Executive Director of Asheville City Schools Foundation.

You can help by purchasing needed items or making a financial donation. Visit www.stocktheshelvesavl.org for a list of needed items and for more information on how to schedule a pick-up or make a donation.

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Simple Ways to Support Hard-Hit Businesses in Asheville

Asheville Help During CovidAs the economic repercussions of COVID-19 continue to rattle the Asheville small-business community, finding ways to offer support is more important than ever. For Ashevillians seeking to bolster independent businesses, these movements and resources can be a good starting point.

#AshevilleStrong

#AshevilleStrong encourages people to buy local gift cards from businesses around Asheville and Western North Carolina. Local restaurants, hotels, shops, salons, theaters and markets that are seeing a decline in visitors can get an immediate boost from gift-card sales. #AshevilleStrong’s website offers a list, updated daily, of the area businesses offering gift cards, so support can continue even while stores and restaurants stay shuttered or limited.

Asheville Take-Out foodRestaurant Takeout in Asheville

One simple way to support the Asheville economy through the coronavirus epidemic is to continue patronizing hard-hit area restaurants by ordering meals for takeout and delivery. Many restaurants offer online ordering and payment, as well as curbside pickup, for a contactless experience. Asheville Independent Restaurants keeps an updated list of local restaurants offering take-out or delivery.

One Buncombe Fund

This fund – a centralized COVID-19 donation and relief center – has been launched by Buncombe County and the City of Asheville in conjunction with business leaders from the Asheville-Area Chamber of Commerce, Mountain BizWorks and the Land of Sky Regional Council. The mission of the fund is to provide bridge funding to area small businesses as well as to support the basic needs of individuals who have lost employment due to COVID-19. It is a secure and immediate way to donate to the response effort. 

Home Made Face MaskSupplyConnector

Finished goods, materials, manufacturing capability and support services are needed to combat COVID-19. SupplyConnector was started by a small group of outdoor industry professionals seeking a way to connect brands that were pivoting operations to help provide relief in the current crisis. This regional directory is designed to connect those who can supply materials and manufacture finished goods with essential providers who need them most. The site allows you to submit information to give or receive critical equipment (such as face coverings, shields, surgical masks and the like). Users can connect directly with one another.

There are many other ways to help out our local community as we continue with Stay Home and social distancing orders. Just a few others to explore are: United Way & Hands-On Asheville to donate goods and volunteer; Musician Relief Fund to support Asheville’s normally vibrant music scene as it experiences cancelled gigs, festivals and events; and Appalachian Grown Farmer Relief Fund to address local farmers’ needs as they deal with a dive in customers and sales.

 

 

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