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Creative and Unique Flower Planters Made from Recycled Items

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Tired of the old terra cotta and resin flower planters? It may be time to think outside the box (or pot, in this case)! When choosing a planter for your outdoor living space, you can create a "WOW" effect by recycling things around the home. To show what we mean, below are a few of our favorite creative and unique flower planters made from recycled items. Make sure you click on the source links. Many of them have instructions, so you can make them yourself!

Recycle a Drawer

The Barefoot Seamstress Drawer Planter

Source: The Barefoot Seamstress

My Repurposed Life - Drawer Planters

Source: My Re-Purposed Life

Recycle the Whole Piece of Furniture

HomeTalk - Sewing Cabinet Planter

Source: HomeTalk

The Garden Glove - Vanity Dresser Planter

Source: The Garden Glove

Recycle an Old Toolbox

The Garden Glove - Toolbox Planter

Source: The Garden Glove

The Gardening Cook - Old Toolbox Planter

Source: The Gardening Cook

Recycle an Old Mailbox

Second Chance to Dream - Mailbox Planter

Source: Second Chance to Dream

Hometalk - Mailbox Planter

Source: HomeTalk

Recycle Old Suitcases

Nanas Making Memories - Suitcase Planter

Source: Nana's Making Memories

Studio 34 - Suitcase Planter

Source: Studio 34

Recycle Paint Cans

Centsational Girl - Paint Can Planter

Source: Centsational Girl

The Garden Glove - Paint Can Planter

Source: The Garden Glove

Recycle a Candleabra

Red Head Can Decorate - Candleabra Planter

Source: Red Head Can Decorate

Vicki Beckman on Pinterest

Source: Vicki Beckman

Finally...Recycle Some Flip Flops

This lets you easily grab your herbs, so you can carry them into your kitchen when you're ready to cook.

The Garden Cook - Flip Flop Planters

As you can see, old, used items are great for creating dynamic spaces outdoors. The key to making an old container work is making sure there are holes to allow for drainage. That is, if you're putting plants in it that need to be watered often. Many plants don't like to sit in water, so, if you don't create a drainage point, you may end up with yellow leaves. If you need more pointers like this, check out Living Well: 7 Secrets for a Successful Container Garden.

Wilmington Weekly Update - New NHRMC ER Opens and UNCW Gets an Aquaponic Tank!

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Our weekly round-up of news stories making their way around Wilmington, North Carolina.

Instagram of the Week:

I turned this #queenanneslace blue by putting blue food coloring in the water. Isn't it pretty? 💙🌾

A photo posted by Melissa Vincent (@misvincent) on May 20, 2015 at 9:57am PDT

 

In Case You Missed It

UNCW is installing a new aquaponic tank in its dining hall to grow food and breed fish that will serve as food for students. Faculty hope the 250 gallon tank will serve as a reminder of how important sustainable food is. They’re installing a sitting area around the tank, so students can learn from it as they eat. Learn more at Port City Daily.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center has begun renovating its 17th Street emergency department. The ER will remain open throughout the process, but the entrance of the department has been moved to the front of the hospital. Visitors will need to look for the new red signs directing them to the entrance. Learn more at Star News Online.

If you’ve been following the Water Street Parking Deck development, city leaders have finally moved forward with a commitment to a developer. They will be signing an agreement with East West, who proposed a mixed-use building with 505 parking spaces, retail spaces, and 190 residential apartments. Learn more at Star News Online.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s brand new emergency center in the Scotts Hill area off Market Street is now open! It has 10 patient rooms and 1 critical care room, as well as a pharmacy and the equipment to provide many diagnostic services. To learn about this new 30,000 sq.ft. facility, visit their website.

Orange Street Arts FestComing Up

The 20th Annual Orange Street Arts Fest, the largest art festival in Wilmington, is happening this Saturday and Sunday (May 23 and 24) adjacent to the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center in Downtown Wilmington. There will be over 70 artists in attendance and live entertainment will be provided by multiple performing art organizations. Attendance is FREE. Learn more at What’s on Wilmington.

How to Properly Display the United States Flag on Memorial Day

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

How to Properly Display the United States Flag on Memorial DayMany businesses and homes will be displaying the United States Flag on Memorial Day to honor the lives sacrificed in service to the United States of America. This is an important ritual, not just for those who have fallen, but for those who are alive and have served or are still serving. No matter what you believe in, the lives of serviceman matter and the appreciation we express for those who have passed reminds those that are alive that they matter as well.

On June 14, 1923 (Flag Day), the United States of America established a governing body and official code for how the United States Flag should be handled. For Memorial Day, there are specific instructions for displaying the flag. Here are the steps:

  1. After sunrise, hoist the flag briskly to the top of the staff and pause for a moment. 
  2. Lower it to half-staff or to the top of one-half of the flag pole. 
  3. At Noon, raise it to the top of the staff. 
  4. At sunset, lower it slowly and remove from the staff (never let the United States Flag touch the ground).

The United States Flag can be left on display if the flag is properly illuminated at night. It’s a sign of disrespect to fly the flag:

A)     In the dark,
B)     In bad weather,
C)     Upside down (unless in distress),
D)     Below other flags.

Tattered and worn flags should never be flown. When they reach this state, they should be retired according to flag etiquette. This includes, folding the flag, saluting the flag/speaking the Pledge of Allegiance, and holding a moment of silent reflection as the flag burns. The flag should be burned completely and the ashes buried. If you require aid in this procedure, contact the local VFW Post. It’s also important to note that around Veterans Day, local military/veteran/Boy Scout organizations hold ritual flag burnings, so you may also want to keep an eye out for those.

All of the procedures for handling the United States flag can be found at the U.S. Flag website.

Are you looking for Memorial Day events in and around Wilmington, NC? The Battleship North Carolina has a nice one. Also, check out What’s on Wilmington for a full schedule.

Monday Market Update - It's STILL Cheaper to Buy Than Rent!

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday!  What a gorgeous weekend!  Hope you had a great one!

I was reading today in the Keeping Current Matters Blog that according to the Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30 year fixed rate mortgage throughout the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.  The numbers actually show that the range is from an average of 16% (Honolulu, HI), all the way up to 55% (in Sarasota, Fl.) and 35% NATIOWIDE!

Other interesting facts noted in the report include the fact that interest rates have remained low and even though home prices have appreciated around the country (around 3.9%), they haven't greatly outpaced rental applications (3.7%).  Also, some markets may tip in favor of renting if home prices increase at a greater rate than rents and if - as most economists expect - mortgage rates rise due to the strengthening economy.  It's important to note that nationally, rates would have to rise to 10.6% for renting to be cheaper than buying and rates haven't been that high since 1989.

BOTTOM LINE - Buying a home makes sense financially.  Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so it's a good idea to lock in your housing costs now while interest rates are low.

Want to explore your options and see what's available?  Give us a call and we'll gladly set up a no obligation consultation to discuss your needs, 910-202-2546.

Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and  Pinterest!  Yes, we are EVERYWHERE!

Have a great week!

15 Plants and Shrubs for Coastal Carolina

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

15 Plants and Shrubs for Coastal CarolinaWhen I moved to North Carolina from Michigan, I had big plans for my garden. The climate in the Mitten State was 8 months of freezing cold and snow, followed by a hot, humid summer. Gardening there wasn’t impossible: I actually had pretty good luck. I had an acre garden with vegetables, flowers, and a pond, but I envisioned so many possibilities in a longer growing season.

Over the course of one year in North Carolina, I learned that this environment was a totally different ball game. The reality first hit me when I went outside to weed my first month and ended up kneeling on a small rogue cactus. No idea how it got there, but it was about 3 inches tall and doing quite well. That should have been a good sign of my coming struggles.

You see, my yard is sand with a layer of dirt on top. That make sense seeing we’re on the coast, but I never anticipated that the lovely dry rock bed feature I installed the first year would completely disappear, swallowed whole by my front yard. If you looked out there now, you would never believe that there were once 4 bags of stone laid out in this short 4 foot by 1 foot area. Matter-of-fact, finding a rock on my property is like finding gold. What a change from living on top of limestone!

Needless to say, I’ve gone through a lot of plants trying to figure out what will grow in my yard. You can’t just go by zones, but soil needs as well, and that isn’t always a guarantee. When it’s dry, it’s REALLY dry (sand drains well) and, when it rains, that doesn’t mean the water will be enough to quench the plant’s thirst, because it disappears so quickly. Then, there are the tropical storms and hurricanes, when everything gets absolutely DRENCHED.

Pink AzaleaIt’s been a learning curve, believe me. So, I thought it would be a great idea to share this vast knowledge I’ve acquired in my struggles….There was a bit of sarcasm in that sentence. I’m still quite dumb in many aspects of plant care, but I did learn a bit through experience while gardening here and working two seasons in a greenhouse in Michigan.

If you’re moving to Coastal Carolina or are new here and are looking to start a garden, here are 15 perennial plants and shrubs that have proved their hardiness in this area:

  1. Azalea Bushes. Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. There’s a reason why Wilmington is home to the North Carolina Azalea Festival. This bush rocks! I’ve watched my neighbors cut theirs back to practically nothing and the bushes were back blooming the very next spring. Traditionally, they come in varying shades of white, red, pink, and purple, but I also stumbled across a Yellow Azalea this year, and I’m dying to try it out.
  2. Daylilies. These are darn near indestructible. I’ve had mine through multiple tropical storms, hurricanes, and droughts, and they keep coming back beautiful every year. There’s a whole rainbow of colors to choose from, and they come in varying heights. So, there’s always a perfect one for filling a blank space in your garden.
  3. LantanaLantana. This is absolutely one of my favorite plants. We used them in container gardening in Michigan, but down here in North Carolina, they can grow a few feet high, and they attract flocks of butterflies, bees, and humming birds. Each year, they grow larger than the year before, and they start sprouting up from the base after the bulbs are done blooming, which is why I planted them amongst my daffodils, tulips, and irises. They smell like lemons, which is a perk when you cut them back in the fall.
  4. YuccaYuccas. These are part of the Agave family and super easy to grow in well-drained soil, like my sandy haven. They are native to North Carolina and aren’t real picky about lighting. I dug up mine from the woods behind my house where it was shady and planted them in the front yard where there’s direct sunlight most of the day, and they’re doing fine. Most varieties bloom once a year when they’re mature. The flowers come on tall stalks and need to be trimmed when they’re done blooming in order to encourage flowering the following year. The only downside to these plants is that their leaves are pointy and require careful consideration for placement (keep away from kids and pets). Digging them up was a battle in itself. Also, be forewarned that if you transplant a yucca, there’s a good chance the plant will die back. Give it a month, and it will start to sprout new leaves.
  5. Red RoseRoses. These classic plants love my fast draining soil. I plant chives around them, because the herb is a natural deterrent for pests. Be forewarned, Roses take careful maintenance to keep them looking good.
  6. Coneflower. I planted these one year and they didn’t grow much. The next spring, I didn’t see any signs of them when the other plants started to pop up, so I wrote them off to another bad choice. Then, I went out to weed after the summer weather got hot and there they were! They’re a little slow to grow (I have them in full sun), but they keep coming back.
  7. Asiatic LilyAsiatic Lily. When these bloomed the year I moved into my house, I was absolutely thrilled. They’re in the sandiest, ugliest place in my yard, right next to an electrical pole beside my driveway. They have bright orange flowers and are beautiful year after year.
  8. Moss Phlox. I used this to line the portion of my garden that butts up against the driveway and it’s done very well. It’s usually the first thing that blooms in the spring and comes in pink, purple, and white flowers. I’ve treaded on it getting out of my car and it lives on unfazed.
  9. RosemaryRosemary. I’m pretty sure that I tilled this at one point (by accident) and it’s still coming up in my garden bed. If you like fresh herbs, definitely try this. I’ve also had really good luck with oregano and mint in some raised beds and containers, but rosemary takes the cake for direct planting in my original flower bed.
  10. Irises. The previous owner of my home planted these. They were all over the place where, I think, there used to be flower beds. I dug them up and put them in the bed I started when I moved in, and I’m still finding them Daffodilsin random places around the yard. I’m not sure if they spread that easily or if the previous owner just had a lot of them. The flowers are a vibrant blue and are only open in the morning, which is a nice treat for when I’m walking out the door to work. They’re spring blooming and die back in time for the Lantana to take over.
  11. Daffodils. Their story is much the same as the irises. They’re usually the first plants to bloom and are very cold hardy. I had flowers when we got snow this past February. When they pop up, I know spring is coming.
  12. Crocus

    Crocuses. After the daffodils comes the crocuses. They don’t grow very tall, but their pretty little flowers are just high enough to make it past the leaves that fall from my giant oak tree over the course of winter.
  13.  

  14. Hyacinths. The last of my spring bulbs are usually the hyacinths. Their large, gorgeous flowers don’t usually last very long, which is why I like to pick them and put them in water inside. Still, they keep coming back with practically no maintenance.
  15. Purple Butterfly BushBuddleia/Butterfly Bush. I planted this where a large oak tree once stood, so the soil really wasn’t fantastic. It’s taken on a bit of a lean, but it’s survived through major storms and droughts. It sprouts some pretty purple blooms in the summer, which attract butterflies and bees (I’m all for supporting the bees), but I had a Rainbow Butterfly Bush in Michigan.
  16. Yellow JessamineYellow Jessamine. I haven’t had much luck with vines, so I decided to go native with Yellow Jessamine. It does well, as long as there isn’t a long drought. Interestingly, the one I planted has been very slow growing, but the one I discovered at the back of my property (after I bought the other one, mind you) is growing like crazy. I did have good luck with the potted Wisteria I bought from Lowes, but later found it’s an invasive species, so I don’t really want to recommend it. I also found the vines sold for container gardening come back and can grow quite rampant, so, again, not sure I want to recommend those either….Let’s just stick with Yellow Jessamine.

If you’re looking for annuals, many of the traditional selections work well. I suggest shopping for plants at locally owned garden centers, like The Plant Place, Lewis Farms, The Transplanted Garden, and Zone 8 Gardens. They are more likely to carry plants that will survive in our zone. Big box companies, like Lowes and Home Depot, like to slip in plants that are borderline for other regions, just to make a sale. Also, take special note to consider pansies and flowering cabbage, which work well as color providers during the fall and winter months.

Have a suggestion for a plant or shrub/bush to try? Please share in the comments below.

Our weekly round-up of news stories making their way around Wilmington, North Carolina.

Instagram of the Week:

I do love the clematis that climbs our fence. #yardscene #flowers #clematis

A photo posted by Jaime M (@jaimemckee) on May 13, 2015 at 5:11am PDT

 

In Case You Missed It

To fight traffic congestion on the causeway between Wilmington and Leland, in January, Wave Transit, the Town of Leland, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization came together to bring residents of Leland two Park & Ride locations, so people can carpool to work together. The program has proved a success and plans are being made to expand it. Learn more a Port City Daily.

Halpern Development Company has received the preliminary okay toward city annexation procedures for the 12.7-acre site where it plans to build a 72,000-square-foot retail shopping center, plus an auto care center. This site, called Ogden Market Place, has met a lot of resistance from locals who seek to protect the trees on the land. Learn more at Port City Daily.

Cape Fear Community College has seen a 31% increase in students since 10 years ago. The amount of students coming to Wilmington from afar just to attend CFCC is also growing and area developers are looking into a growing need for student and staff housing near the downtown campus. Learn more about how CFCC has developed at Star News Online.

Greek Fest Food TentsComing Up

It’s time for the 23rd Annual Greek Fest at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on South College Road. It’s happening May 15-17th and admission is just $3 for the whole weekend. This is the perfect opportunity to taste great food (get there early, because the pastries go fast), enjoy some authentic Greek music, and pick up a little something in honor of the home land at the vendors booths. Parking and shuttles are provided at Kmart down the street and there’s a drive-thru at the back of the church. Learn more at their website.  

Is My Mounted Television a Fixture?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Television on Mount - Back SideWhen selling a home in North Carolina, all fixtures transfer to the new home owner upon sale unless otherwise noted in the offer to purchase. Fixtures are anything secured to the ground, floor, walls, and ceiling that need a tool to be removed. So, art and family pictures hanging from a hook on the wall are NOT fixtures, but wired wall sconces and built-in microwaves are both examples of fixtures.

One fixture that sellers often get confused about is a mounted television. It’s a personal appliances, so does it convey? Yes, because it’s on a mount secured to the wall that is only removable with the help of a screwdriver.

But don’t worry! Just because you’re listing your home for sale doesn’t mean the buyer is going to get a free T.V. thrown in. Unless you want to entice some buyers with this added incentive, you can easily communicate with buyers that the television is not included in the sale of the home. There is a place for fixtures exceptions on the listing and offer paperwork, as well as a place to note that in the Multiple Listing Service for other agents to see.

If there’s something in your home that you aren’t 100% sure is a fixture or not, communicate it to your Realtor. It’s better to state that something isn’t remaining than it is to take something with you that the buyer is expecting to stay. That can get you in hot water and delay closing or lead to legal issues after the fact.

Interested in listing your Wilmington area home for sale? Give us a call or send us a message through our contact page.

I Don’t Have Kids. Should I Worry About the School District?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

If you’re buying a home and don’t have kids or don’t plan on having kids in the near future, you may not be overly concerned about which school district the home falls within and that makes sense. When purchasing a home, your needs should be of primary concern. That includes the proximity to work and your favorite places. However, is there a point at which you should consider the school district?

Yes, but you first need to ask yourself, “Is this my forever home or do I plan on selling or renting it out later down the road?” If you answered, “yes,” to either of the latter parts, you should consider the school district. Not just the test scores, but sports records, as well. A better performing district will garner more buyers and renters, and help elevate the value of your home.

Schools on ListingFor Pender and Brunswick Counties, where there are fewer public schools, buyers may not give the school district a second thought. However, in New Hanover County, there are many more schools to consider and not all are created equal. Sometimes homes in the same community don’t fall into the same district. A single street could make a difference in the desirability of your home.

Every property listing displayed on our website shows the school district. This information is provided by the listing agent. If you need to, you can call the school to confirm which district a certain property falls within.

For information on New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick County schools, including school performance report cards, visit our School Information page.

If you have any questions about buying in the Wilmington area, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

Home Ownership Linked to Happiness

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Data from the OECD Better Life Index shows that home ownership in the U.S. leads to higher levels of subjective well-being or a person’s cognitive evaluation of their own life. In other words, home ownership is linked to happiness.

In the United States, homeownership still remains part of the American Dream. It’s a sign of progress, independence, and status, not just a need for shelter. If the latter was true, the real estate market would shrink with buyers leaving to spend their money elsewhere. Owning a home has its financial perks, but we live in a country where families are encouraged to separate and purchase their own abodes instead of living in multigenerational houses. Why? Because of everything listed above.

The Better Life tasks itself in measuring the quality of life in areas around the world. It does this by gathering data on civic engagement, access to services, education, jobs, the environment, income, health, safety, and housing. It then assigns each category points and the region an overall score. You can view your region’s score online at the OECD website and other areas in the world it compares to.

North Carolina on the OECD Better Life Index

If you’re wondering, North Carolina scored 9.6 points out of 10 in Housing landing it in the top 7% of Housing worldwide. There was an average of 2.6 rooms per person in homes in our state. To put this in perspective, the national average of rooms per person in Turkey was .9, but there can be a wide range per region in each country.

If you have any questions about buying a home in the Wilmington area, give us a call or send us a message through our contact page.

Monday Market Update - Sales Were Up in April!

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday and Happy Mother's day to all the wonderful Mom's out there.  I hope you had a wonderful day.  It was pouring rain here thanks to Tropical Storm Ana, but no serious damage! 

The local market continues to show strong growth in our area.  Our average sold price is up .4% from March 2015.  For April, the average sold price was $247,701.  The number of sold units also increased by 52 homes (9%) from last month and up 17.9% from last year.  The average list price increased by $2,922 and our inventory increased by 147 units from last month which is typical for this time of year.   We currently have 4,087 single family units for sale in our market which equates to a 6.4 month supply.

Our pending index stands at 1,372 units which is our highest point since at least 2008 when we started tracking these stats.  Mortgage rates are still incredibly low and averaged 3.8% last month.  On average, sellers are getting 96.5% of their asking price which is very encouraging.

The average list price for April was $361,857 and the average days on the market was down 2 days in April and now at 122 days.

If you have questions or comments about the market, please feel free to call, email or text.  We are always available to help.  Have a great week and thanks as always for your continued support, referrals and business.

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The Cameron Team
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
1001 Military Cutoff Suite 101
Wilmington NC 28405
Office: 910.202.2546
Toll Free: 800.522.9624
Fax: 910.795.4723