I Love Lilacs! (Now They Rebloom!)

A lilac branch and green foliage

A sure sign of spring is the heady smell of lilacs blooming. There’s nothing quite like the scent of lilacs. I once had a lilac scented candle that smelled exactly like the flower—not overly scented as some candles are, but subtle and natural. It was amazing and wonderful!  If any of you readers can suggest a source for finding this candle or one like it, please let me know. I’d love to have another one.

If you’re a lilac lover like me, then you no doubt feel the lilac blooming season is far too short. Good news, lilac lovers! I’ve just read there are lilac bushes that continuously rebloom until the frost. They grow just 4-5 feet tall and are hardy in zones 4-7 (the Twin Cities is in zone 4).

I’ve read some positive reviews of these lilac bushes and it sounds like they sell quickly. White Flower Farm ships the plants in 5″ pots mid-April through June. If you love lilacs as I do, you might want to reserve yours now. Spring will be here before we know it. If you have any experience with these reblooming lilacs, I’d love to hear from you.

Gurney’s Seed and Nursery: Josee Reblooming Lilac

White Flower Farm: Bloomerang Shrub Info

The smell of lilacs—heavenly!

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Luminary Loppet – 2010

Tonight was the Luminary Loppet on Lake of the Isles. It’s a sight to behold. What’s a luminary loppet, you ask? Here’s how it’s described on the official site:

“Thousands of ice luminaries, an ice pyramid and the Ice-Cropolis! Bon fires, coffee, hot cocoa and cookie stations. Non-competitive – registration is open to snowshoers, walkers* and skiers alike.”
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Luminary Loppet on Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, MN – Feb. 6, 2010

Read more about this weekend-long City of Lakes Loppet.

The Beautiful Bow Window

The bow window has always struck me as a wonderful architectural feature. I love its curve within the four or five panes that typically make up a bow window. The curve adds a visual softness to what is so often an angular and straight lined building. The “bow” or curve feature allows more light to enter the home and provides a wider view to look out upon.

I saw this home in St. Paul earlier this week. It not only has a bow window, but the upper panes feature beveled glass. Beveled glass has angled edges. One benefit of beveled glass is that the angled edges act as prisms in the sunlight, providing a spectrum of colors not present in regular clear glass. Imagine a rainbow of color streaming in your home through a beveled window! This color diffraction also highlights the beveled glass, making it more of a focal point within the room than other glass. An antique beveled glass window will give this magical effect with both natural and artificial light sources.

Most, if not all, beveled glass windows were made by hand in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There were many time-consuming steps involved in the process, thereby making this type of glass expensive. Even so, Americans embraced these visually stunning windows and, as such, our country produced the widest variety and best quality of these elegant windows. An antique beveled glass window is superior to a modern version due to the differences in glass composition, the thicker glass which allows for a more refractory surface on each piece, and the inherent extraordinary craftsmanship of a hand-made bevel that allows for greater prismatic light.

A bow window in a St. Paul, MN home
St. Paul, MN home with beveled bow window

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Upcoming Listing

A Gem of a Condo by Southdale!

I’ll be bringing a new condo on the market next week. Here are some details in case you know of anyone who might have an interest:

6415 York Avenue South
Edina MN 55435

  • One bedroom, one bath.
  • Spacious living room can easily accommodate two seating areas.
  • Updated kitchen and bath.
  • Separate dining area off kitchen.
  • Home office alcove.
  • Large balcony with privacy walls.
  • Attached, underground garage.
  • Secured entry building.
  • Air conditioning.
  • 760 square feet.
  • Second/top floor unit.
  • Walk Score = 75 (Very Walkable).
  • Convenient to Southdale Mall, Fairview Southdale Hospital, Centennial Lakes, 50th and France, Lake Harriet, Galleria, AMC movie theaters, restaurants, shops and more.
  • Near buslines.

List Price: $69,000

Windows: Repair or Replace?

As a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I like to raise awareness of the benefits of repairing windows rather than replacing them. Often times people think they are improving the energy efficiency by replacing the windows. Perhaps not.

“More heat is typically lost though your roof and un-insulated walls than through your windows. Adding just 3 and 1/2 inches of insulation in your attic can save more energy than replacing your windows.”

Has this quote caught your attention? It’s pulled from an article published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Read it for information about the benefits of keeping your old windows (they’ll last far longer). It also covers wood window basics, maintenance of wood windows, lead-based paint safety, and winter tips (including the most important job of a window lock. Hint: it’s not for security).

Windows Tip Sheet (National Trust for Historic Preservation-July 2008)

If you’d like to read more, go here:  Historic windows and energy efficiency

And here’s another blog entry regarding Help for Historic Windows

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“A man looking out of an open window never sees as much as the same man looking directly at a closed window.”

–Charles Baudelaire

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Homebuyers Tax Credit

It’s February and the deadline for the Homebuyers Tax Credit is approaching (April 30, 2010). Qualified first-time homebuyers can receive a credit of up to $8000. Other qualified buyers can receive a credit of up to $6500 for homes purchased between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010. Buyers need to enter into a written binding contract by April 30, 2010 to close by June 30, 2010 in order to claim the credit. There are certain conditions that must be met to qualify. Contact me to receive a brochure outlining the conditions and benefits of this tax credit. Either leave a comment (below) or use the ‘Post a Note’ page for more privacy.