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Resilient Landscaping

Resilient Landscaping that Looks Lovely & Ups Your Curb Appeal plus your selling price.

A lovely landscape is great for curb appeal and increases the value of your home while bringing joy to the gardener or the homeowner who plans, plants, and sits back, and enjoys their landscape bloom and flourish.

While no one can control Mother Nature, homeowners can make choices better suited for the strong, sunny climate of Central Florida. Smart landscaping choices can also reduce energy usage. The right trees and shrubs can block wind and provide shade in the heat. Do some research on your outdoor garden space, check the amount of sun and shade in different parts of your planned garden, and include in your research some soil knowledge, as your soil may be wet in some areas yet dry in others. This is the key to planting the right plant in the right space. Adding fresh Mulch once per year will help plantings retain moisture and prevent erosion. So, like real estate “location, location, location” is important for plants too. Example: Hydrangeas need lots of sun or they won’t bloom, and ferns need to be shaded to be happy.

When choosing your plantings know the animals that frequent your lawn and avoid plants that attract them. Example, deer love Hosta and roses, so if you have deer around avoid these plants. When adding hardscape to your garden consider which types will wear best in the Central Florida Climate. Look for materials that won’t fade and will allow water to seep into the ground.

When we first moved in we built a trellis from cedar, planted it, and enjoyed it for about 5 years. It was lovely, only to rot in this wet, humid climate, unfortunately we had to remove it. Our current trellis is steel and has held up well over time. A lesson learned.

During the Pandemic, while we were all staying in, gardening became a great passion and beautified our landscape and our life. Pick up a shovel, and plant something, it is fun to see your garden grow.

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Do Unto Others (DUO)

Stop by the Farmer’s Market at Solivita and visit the DUO Tent to bring food donations for the St. Rose Food Pantry. Donations are most appreciated and being accepted on Monday and Friday, September 24th through October 11th. The most needed items include canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned meat, or pasta sauce; bags of rice; dried pasta or beans; peanut butter; and macaroni and cheese. If you have clean plastic bags for the pantry to reuse, they will be appreciated too.

Enjoy the Autumn, as we watch the turkey’s wander around our Community……..Get ready, Thanksgiving is almost here!

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The Music Series at the Howey Mansion

Announcing the 2021 – 2022 Music Series at the Mansion. A series of six concerts. We attended a few of the Howey Music Concerts on the lawn last year and each was a treat. This year there is a mix of concerts, some in the great hall and some outdoor on the front lawn or in the courtyard. If the show is in the Great Hall you are in for a treat as the Hall has been lovingly restored and is a fabulous venue for a concert. If you choose one, or all, of the outdoor concerts, you will not be disappointed, the grounds are tree lined and lovely. With the Mansion as the backdrop each of these concerts will be a treat for all your senses. The series runs from October to April of 2022. Attend one show or buy tickets for them all. The music ranges from Classical to Opera to Blues and Jazz. It is always nice to give yourself a treat to look forward to. Plan brunch or a nice lunch on the day of the concert and head to the show. The Howey Mansion has been beautifully restored and is in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, an easy day trip drive from Solivita. If you want to make an overnight trip, this is a great destination and very simple to plan. Book a night at the Mission Inn, it is across the street from the Howey Mansion, drive up, check in and enjoy a great time surrounded by the beauty of central Florida and rolling hills that make this area special. Pre or Post show enjoy the beauty of the Mission Inn Property, the flowers are always in bloom and this area of Florida will really give you the sense of being away. The Mission Inn is on a lovely property and has nice spots to enjoy an “after concert” cocktail or a delicious dinner. The rooms are simple but comfortable, the golf courses are good, and you will return from your mini vacation feeling refreshed and relaxed.

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In Florida, Every Day is a Beach Day

The beauty of Life in Central Florida is we are “Central to it all”, about 1 hour and 15 minutes from an east coast or a west coast beach. Lee and I prefer the east coast beaches as the beaches are usually empty, the water is refreshing, and a day at the beach is a day that is hard to top. You can swim at the Florida Beaches year-round, but Lee and I especially love the beaches in the fall and winter. We both enjoy the beaches in the Coco Beach Area. Coco has clean, comfortable, with lovely beaches, surrounded by great spots to enjoy fresh fish and is an easy drive from Solivita. The summer heat is turned down, the water is the perfect temperature, and once summer is done, the sand temperature is nice under your toes. Our beach day is simple, two beach chairs, an umbrella, towels, a small cooler, and off we go. Another great Florida Get Away from Solivita, close enough for a day trip, yet far from the storms that pummel the coasts and damage our homes and property.

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Picnic Lunch at the Back Porch at the Barn

Far from Fancy, but a nice, easy dining experience, enjoy the wrap around porch under the trees and on the lake. The farmhouse is old, weathered and rambling, but you are greeted warmly and made to feel welcome. Once seated at your table, you waitress or waiter explains the menu. The best bargain and a fun option is the picnic basket lunch, soup, salad, sandwich and dessert. Plenty of offerings for everyone, even for gluten free and vegetarian folks. You can dine in the farmhouse or choose to dine on the deck, both options are nice. Indoor dining is adorable and outdoor dining on the raised deck is lovely as you have a view of the pond and the lovely trees overhanging the property. The day we dined on the deck the outside temperatures were in the 90’s but the deck temperature was comfortable. The deck is covered, fans were moving the air, and we had a nice, safe lunch in the fresh air while enjoying the pond view. We even had a gator rise to the top of the pond and float by while we were dining. The barn also offers beer and wine in addition to soft drinks and tea. After lunch, we shopped in the garden store, it too is adorable, and wandered thru the Stable Home Décor Shop. The barn antique store closes every summer for a few months but in October, when the owners return with new old merchandise, be prepared to be amazed at the variety of beautiful, interesting, and unusual antiques for sale. Kick back and relax this is Old Time Florida and a nice get away from the usual. A nice spot to spend the afternoon away from it all. You can virtually visit the Back Porch at and choose the Back Porch Tab to view the restaurant.

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Fall is in the Air

Cooler Weather Is on the Way. It has been a Hot, Steamy, Solivita Summer but the heat has not dimmed anyone’s spirits, our community is active, out having fun, and enjoying all the benefits life in Solivita has to offer. Truth be told, Lee and I look forward to the cooler weather as we are still working and enjoy the afterwork hours of the Cooler Central Florida Weather. We like to kick back on our lanai, enjoy the sounds and scents of the conservation, while sharing stories of our day. Life in Solivita has been good to us, our clients, friends, and neighbors. I am always happiest when a former client calls, sends me a note, or stops me in the neighborhood and shares stories of how joyful their life is in Solivita. We don’t only sell homes, but when you purchase a home in Solivita you get to enjoy the bonus of a healthy, happy lifestyle in a lovely community.

On Sundays, in the cooler weather, we head over to Celebration to visit the Farmer’s Market and choose our produce, honey and items fresh from the farm. You never know what you may find, beeswax candles, a special craft, plus the freshest produce around. With Covid19 not yet in our rearview mirror we feel it is safer to participate in outdoor activities and for us a Farmer’s Market is a great way to go. Lots of local farmers showcase their produce, food and crafts and we usually come home with a good mix of items to make an easy Sunday Dinner from our finds.

Last week we purchased some local honey, lemons, and fresh Arugula, came home, and enjoyed a beautiful salad. Easy, Fresh, and well balanced. Great with a grilled piece of fish or a chicken breast.

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice and Zest from 2 Lemons
1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 Squeezes of honey to taste. (If your lemons are sweet use one squeeze, taste and see if you need more).
½ tsp fresh chopped thyme optional
Salt and Pepper to taste.

I combine all the ingredients in a mason jar. This dressing will keep up to 5 days in an airtight container. You can use this dressing as a marinade too and you can substitute the honey for maple syrup if you did not pick up honey at the farmer’s market.

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A Few Great Reasons to Live in a Planned Community

Solivita is a planned community in the center of Florida, and I like to say in the “Center of Everything”. There are lots of reasons to reside in a planned community and I would like to share a few with you.

Planned Communities have lots of Open Space. Solivita has 4,500 acres of space within our gates and tons of green space dedicated to conservation preserving the beauty of our area forever. Our community provides well maintained outdoor spaces with plenty of room for fun, exercise, and, during this pandemic, plenty of social distancing space.

Social Clubs. Solivita has over 200 clubs to join. You name your interest, talent, ability, or your desire and we probably have a club for you. Take up a new skill, learn a new language, join an investment club or a wine club. Be assured Solivita has a club for you. You can join any club that interests you, not only will you have a chance to learn something, but a club is a great way to build friendships and have fun too.

Sense of Community. The beauty of life in a Planned Community is almost everyone has moved from somewhere else, making our community a welcoming place.

Walkable Community. Lee and I came from a crowded city environment, where most folks only walked to a commuter bus or train! Solivita has a network of sidewalks wrapped around our ponds and homes with lovely tropical views and smiling neighbors who wave as you walk past. Plus, Solivita is gated, and our community is guarded 24/7 providing a sense of security.

Solivita allows you to live a healthy lifestyle. Many amenities are offered to help you remain fit, from our State-of-the-Artwork Out Facilities, tennis, pickleball, pools, golf, fitness classes and trainers, Solivita has your fitness needs covered!

Beautiful Homes set among Lush, Tropical Landscapes. Our HOA assures our community green space, our community infrastructure, and our homes are nicely maintained, providing us with a lovely community.

Our Community Organizations offer every resident a chance to give back. Now that most of our residents are retired they have time to give back to our community, share their time and gifts with others, volunteer at a local food pantry, assist the homeless, donate time to our veteran’s organizations, volunteer to work with children or pets. Now you not only have the time but the perfect environment to volunteer your gifts and share your generosity with folks in need.

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Spend the day or the weekend in Sarasota

If the beach in August is too hot for you, take a visit to the The Ca’ d’Zan Mansion in Sarasota in the afternoon and hit the beach at sunset. This Mansion is the former winter home of one of America’s eccentrics and very wealthy couples, John Ringling, of the Ringling Brothers Circus, and his wife Mable. The Ringling’s started building the mansion in 1924 for a price tag of $1.5 million. After they died, the estate was given to the state of Florida to be preserved and enjoyed by all. Unfortunately, the costs to maintain this mansion left the Ringling’s home in disrepair but in 2002 this home was officially revived by the state and opened to the public. A tour of this lovely residence provides a glimpse into the opulent private lives of the Ringling family, with spectacular views and extravagant rooms that once hosted gatherings for the elite. If you are a movie buff and familiar with Hollywood’s remake of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”, Ca’d’Zan was used as a location for an abandoned mansion in this 1996 movie.

Sarasota is only about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Solivita and an easy drive. It is a world away from our quiet, perfect community but always a good diversion. So, if you feel like enjoying a bit of history and want to feel the cool breeze of the gulf, Sarasota is a great place to enjoy a day trip or to spend the weekend. Lots to do with gardens, museums, beaches, great seafood, and shopping.

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Roasted Strawberry, Basil and Goat Cheese Crostini

Why not try a twist on the typical Crostini? Lee and I did, and it has become one of our go-to snacks


5 Oz. Goat Cheese

1 Lb. Strawberries, hulled and cut into bite size pieces

2 Tbsp. Honey

2 Tbsp EVOO

1 baguette cut into ½ inch slices

Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into little pieces

Fresh ground black pepper


Put the Oven on 350 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment to make clean up easy.


On one baking sheet toss the strawberries with honey, spread them in a single layer and bake on the upper rack of the oven till tender and juicy. About 20 – 25 minutes. Toss the berries half-way through the baking.


On the remaining baking sheet, brush EVOO on each slice of bread and bake in the middle of the oven until toasts are golden 10 – 12 minutes.


Once toasts are cool, top each with a smear of goat cheese, followed by a spoonful of roasted strawberries and their juices. Sprinkle the torn basil and black pepper over the crostini and serve immediately.


We enjoy this light snack with a glass of Prosecco, and we hope you enjoy this recipe too. Cheers!

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Westview is coming in 2022

Westview is a new Master Planned Community separate from Solivita. The residents of Westview will not be using Solivita Infrastructure but instead will be an entirely new community opposite our gates. Taylor Morrison has filed a subdivision plan for Westview, seeking approval for 1,844 detached home lots in five sizes, more than 50 acres of parks and amenities, an 11.5-acre commercial lot and 616 townhomes plus amenity space including parks, pools, tennis, a clubhouse, soccer fields, basketball, and baseball/softball fields. In addition to the recreation provided in the project, the western 36 acres of wetland will be preserved as passive open space.

Westview will be a multi-generational master-planned community and will include one of Taylor Morrison’s Esplanade Branded Active Adult, Resort Style Communities.

As this exciting new Taylor Morrison Project progresses I will continue to advise each stage of the build, be ready, as these new homes are planned to start selling by the end of 2022. It is exciting to see new neighborhoods planned and built bringing in new families, new neighbors, and new opportunities continuing to add diversity to our greater community.