Welcome to Summerset Living
This is the new online magazine developed for the Summerset at Frick Park community.
We look forward to bringing you stories about the neighborhood, its residents and topics of interest to the community. Summerset at Frick Park is a unique community and there is so much to explore within it and the surrounding Pittsburgh area. We hope you enjoy this premier issue of Summerset Living and invite you to regularly visit the site or subscribe.
House Calls With Melissa
Meet Melissa Reich
Since this is our first House Call, we want to introduce you to Melissa Reich, who has been responsible for all the home sales and marketing at Summerset at Frick Park since 2005.
Melissa has extensive knowledge of the homes and the community. She has also earned her GREEN designation and is knowledgeable on green materials, energy-efficiency and green living. In these House Call segments, Melissa will be stopping in and meeting with people involved with the Summerset at Frick Park community.
To get to know Melissa better, we asked her a few questions.
1. What is your favorite part of your job?
It’s hard for me to pinpoint just one “favorite” because I love my job and the people I work with. Through the selection and building process, I enjoy working closely with the buyers, their family, real estate agent and our fantastic builders. I would have to say that being an integral part in such a large decision and building long lasting and happy relationships is my favorite part of my job.
2. How important is being “green” to the prospective home buyer?
With skyrocketing gas and utility prices, today’s buyers are more aware of building conscientiously and investing in “green options.” By receiving the GREEN designation, I am knowledgeable in sustainability, consumer awareness, green living and energy efficiency. In turn, I can share this knowledge with Summerset buyers and offer insight about energy efficient construction, low-VOC or VOC-free materials and sustainable living and help them decide which green options suit their lifestyle and budget best.
3. What do you think is the best part of the Summerset at Frick Park Community?
The best part about the Summerset at Frick Park Community is the people!
4. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
My husband and I have recently taken up yoga and we try to practice a few times a week in addition to going to the gym. I also enjoy flowers and expanding my patio garden and taking long walks with our French Bulldog, Wrigley.
5. Where was your favorite vacation?
My honeymoon! My husband and I spent a blissful 2 weeks in Oahu and Maui, Hawaii. The weather there is absolutely perfect! We enjoyed experiencing the local culture and traditions, snorkeling with the sea turtles, trying our hands at surfing and watching a mother and baby whale swim 100 feet from the beach.
Summerset at Frick Park's Pool Party
The stormy skies cleared just in time for this year’s Pool Opening Party, held on Friday, June 10th. This much-anticipated event is always a fun and memorable way to celebrate the start of summer, and this year’s event was no exception.
The Four Wood Grill was on hand to grill delicious ribs, chicken and hot dogs. Residents created an appetizing spread of side dishes and desserts. About 200 residents, adults and children, came to the party to celebrate the lucky break in the weather and socialize with friends and neighbors. Young children divided their time between splashing in the kids’ pool and visiting the playground. Everyone enjoyed a relaxing evening of eating, swimming and catching up with one another.
Nearly everyone noticed the the new tables, chairs and umbrellas in the pool area. Shaded by the umbrellas, these tables created a perfect place to sit and enjoy the party dinner. In addition to the new tables, chairs and umbrellas, Summerset at Frick Park will be installing sun shades in the pool area to provide shady areas so residents can take a break from swimming and the summer sun.
Captivating Container Gardens
Kathy Woll shows how to have beautiful containers gardens all summer long
Create inviting outdoor spaces with container gardens. Master Gardener Kathy Woll explains how to make beautiful container gardens that, with minimal care, will bring lasting texture and color to your outdoor living areas all summer long.
Kathy and her family were the first family to move to Summerset at Frick Park, just over nine years ago. She co-owns a fine gardening business called Espalier, which specializes in small gardens and offers design, installation and maintenance.
Because Kathy lives at Summerset at Frick Park and is knowledgeable about gardening in smaller spaces, we asked her about gardening options specific to Summerset at Frick Park. “I think container gardening is just a great way to bring color into small spaces,” says Kathy. “The great thing with containers is that the containers themselves can be interesting. Whatever you can put in them, can add color and texture to corners, porches, and different spaces.”
Kathy doesn’t limit herself to planting just annuals and she encourages you to try any colors and textures you like. She suggests that planters be created with an odd number of plants and that tall plants be mixed with plants that mound and trail.
Some vegetables, especially tomatoes, lend themselves well to container gardening. While Kathy recommends potting soil over yard soil for all container gardening, she suggests organic potting soil for vegetables. “One thing I feel strongly about is if it’s anything you’re going to eat, you should use organic potting soil.” When planting vegetables, she also mixes in a little compost to give the plants added nutrients and uses a vegetable plant fertilizer every two to three weeks.
The most important thing to remember about container gardens is water. To keep your plants properly hydrated through the summer, consider these three tips:
Pot Selection: Plastic pots hold water better than clay. They are easily available in many sizes and shapes and mimic the look of other materials so you can find a style that suits you.
Drainage: Pots should have drainage holes on the bottom. Screens, hardware cloth and even coffee liners can be placed in the bottom of the pots to prevent soil from leaking out onto porches and patios. The soil doesn’t usually have to be deeper than 10-12 inches if you’re planting flowers. Consider filling the bottom of the pot with lightweight material such as packing peanuts to make the pots easier to move around.
Touch the Soil: Check the soil often. Kathy suggests putting your finger into the soil an inch to check the moisture level; if it is dry an inch down, it’s definitely time to water. Fertilizing regularly also keeps plants healthy.
Along with watering, maintenance is also important to keep plants thriving all summer. Removing dead leaves and spent blossoms allows the plants to focus their energy on creating new blossoms and keeps them looking fresh. Prune at least once a month to keep the pots tidy and ensure fullness.
Tips for colorful containers all summer long:
1. Choose an interesting container
Plastic containers hold moisture better than clay pots.
Pick things you like. Don’t be afraid to mix textures, colors and heights of plants. Blend tall, mounding and trailing plants.
3. Use potting soil, not yard soil
Organic potting soil is best for vegetables.
4. Water regularly
Keeping plants moist is critical. Use fertilizer every couple of weeks according to directions.
Remove spent blossoms to prevent “leggy” plants and encourage fullness and flowers.
Feel free to move plants around to enjoy them all summer long.
The Greener Grocer
Farm Fresh and Delivered
Do you wish that you could bypass the usual offerings of the produce aisle and sink your teeth into mouth-watering, farm-fresh, organic produce? Well, this summer, some residents of Summerset at Frick Park will be doing just that.
Blackberry Meadows Farms is a certified organic farm located right here in Allegheny County. They have partnered with Summerset at Frick Park to bring a CSA program of fresh, local produce directly to the community. “We’ve developed our business in order to provide food for the Pittsburgh community and we’re really excited to be opening those doors to the Summerset at Frick Park community,” explains Greg Boulos, who owns the farm with his wife Jen Montgomery.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Here’s the way it works: Farmers ask customers to pay for an allotted distribution of the produce, or shares, at the beginning of the growing season. This helps farmers by providing them with revenue to cover operating costs throughout the growing season, not just at harvest time. The farmers aren’t the only ones who benefit from CSA programs. Members enjoy the fresh harvests of the week, which will vary depending on the success of the crop and what is currently ripe. Blackberry Meadows’ CSA has the added benefit of being organic. In addition to getting healthy produce delivered, members can also feel good about supporting local farmers and helping the environment by reducing the packaging and transportation of large scale distribution.
Convenience isn’t the only benefit of delivery. “We’re always there so people get to meet us,” notes Jen. Members get to know the farmers, learn about the different foods and get suggestions on ways to prepare and eat the lesser known produce.
It is this personal interaction with the farmers that can’t be found in a supermarket. Blackberry Meadows wants to build a strong connection between people and their food. They have a picnic in the fall for CSA members so members can visit the farm and understand where their food comes from. Visiting at other times and volunteering is also encouraged. The farm is located in Natrona Heights and covers 85 acres.
If you are a resident of Summerset at Frick Park, who missed the sign up for the Blackberry Meadows CSA this season, a few shares are still available. Stop by the Community Center on Saturday from 2-4 pm when deliveries are being made to inquire. Jen & Greg sometimes have extra produce with them too. If you are new to CSA programs, have a small household or aren’t sure if you need a whole share, Jen recommends arranging to split a share with a neighbor and trying it out. Shares are offered in two sizes: a basic share and a plus share (twice as much). Learn more about Blackberry Meadows and the CSA program on-line at: http://blackberrymeadows.wordpress.com/.