Friday, February 22, 2013

Keeping it Green: Crape Myrtles

by Phillip Hisey

A row of crape myrtles adorn the front
entrance of Master the Possibilities
 Education Center at On Top of the World.
Now is a good time to trim your crape myrtles! Crape myrtles are easy to grow and produce a large cluster of flowers in many different colors during the summer months.Some plants are trained into trees and others are grown as shrubs. During this time of year, the plant is dormant thus making it easier to shape. 

Why trim crape myrtles? The crape myrtle blooms appear only on new wood so pruning branches produces new growth and flowers along the branch nodes. There are many studies suggesting the proper pruning method but the studies do not show conclusive evidence that one way is better than another. The method I prefer and propose for On Top of the World residents to follow is called "pencil pruning." The rule to this method is to simply remove all branches shorter than the length of an unsharpened pencil. 

You will still get blooms and plenty of them if you do not prune the crape myrtle. While trimming the plant will help with new growth and blooms, it is also has an aesthetic function. The pruned plants look better and often times have a better resistance to insects and disease due to increase airflow through the canopy. 

Crape myrtles can bloom all season long. Trimming the blooms after they fade will encourage a second bloom to occur. We have had crape myrtles blooming from summer into the fall months in On Top of the World.

Phillip Hisey is the Landscape Superintendent for On Top of the World Communities.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Resident Club Showcase: 100 Grandparents Club

One of the goals of the 100 Grandparents Club at On Top of the World Communities (OTOW) in Ocala, Florida is to help children understand the importance of reading. Club members travel to local elementary schools frequently to read, share and interact with classrooms of school children. The club has a group of "regular" readers who travel to the same classroom once a month and "substitute" readers who fill in when "regular" readers are unable to attend.

Romeo Elementary School in nearby Dunnellon, Florida educates children from kindergarten through the 5th grade. The classroom sizes vary from no more than 19 in the lower grades to 23 in the higher grade levels. The teacher from each of the participating classrooms remain in the room while the club members are reading to the class, creating a very relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. It brings so much joy interacting and sharing with the's the best part of the club members' adventures!

Other goals of the OTOW 100 Grandparents Club is to see that the children of Romeo Elementary School have food to eat for the weekend and ample school supplies for their education. The club is involved in the Feeding America BackPack for Kids Program where bags of donations are assembled and distributed at the end of the week to nearly 230,000 (nationally) children a year. 

The club also clip labels from various food items that read "Box Tops for Education" or "Labels for Education" which, with enough labels, can provide school supplies to be earned by the school. The 100 Grandparents Club are not the only ones clipping labels...OTOW residents are helping with this endeavor all year round!

Romeo Elementary School is very fortunate to have such a dedicated group of individuals helping them profit from what their club, school supplies and sharing the love of reading!

Friday, February 8, 2013

It's Showtime at the Circle Square Cultural Center

On Top of the World Communities boasts the Circle Square Cultural Center just outside their gates for residents and the general public. All get to enjoy concerts, shows and events. The Cultural Center's February schedule is full of great entertainment as well as a very informative Home Improvement Expo. Here's a short synopsis of what audiences will look forward to this month:

Sunday, February 10 - 2pm
The Ocala Symphony Orchestra and the University of Florida Opera Theatre Worskshop present this production that transforms two operatic standards into staged versions of film classics such as Mozart's "The Impresario" and "Dido!" This show welcomes general admission with tickets at $15 per person.

Saturday, February 16 - 9am to 1pm
Browse through the dozens of exhibitor booths and visit with experts from a wide variety of trades in the home improvement industry including;  home solar, screen room enclosures, windows and flooring, the latest in home entertainment, single room or total home renovation, home security and much more. Numerous companies will fill the Cultural Center with different ideas for enhancing homes and showcasing concepts for home improvements from standard remodeling and landscaping to complete reconstruction. Visitors to the Home Improvement Expo will be treated to giveaways, door prizes and vendor gifts, along with loads of information and ideas for improving their home. The event is sponsored by On Top of the World Communities and World Home Improvements. It's FREE and open to the general public.

Saturday, February 23 - 7pm
This is a stunningly accurate tribute to the music of the Eagles using no backing tracks or harmonizers. 7 Bridges faithfully re-creates the experience of an Eagles concert from their most prolific period.  The band will feature brilliant hit singles after another while offering the perfect blend of songs to capture all levels of Eagles devotees with some mighty Don Henley and Joe Walsh surprises sprinkled into the mix. Tickets for this concert start at $15.

Tuesday, February 26 - 10am to 3pm
Active adults 55+ from all over Florida are invited on stage to audition for the 4th annual “The World Has Talent” 55+ talent show.  Judges from the Ocala business and entertainment community will choose several top acts that will then perform at “The World Has Talent” 55+ Talent Show at the Cultural Center on Saturday, May 11, 2013 where they will compete for a chance to win the $500 first place, $250 second place and $150 third place prizes! The audition is FREE and open to the general public.

For more information on the Circle Square Cultural Center's 2013 entertainment line-up including times, dates and tickets, visit or call 352-854-3670.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Home Maintenance Tip: Side Entry Garage Doors

by Robert Colen

A home maintenance item that does not get a lot of attention, but certainly deserves it is the side entry garage door. These are the service doors that exit from a garage and usually do not have more than 16 inches of overhang protection from the soffit above. Consequently, these doors are exposed to rain, sun, wind, and other elements. 

As a result of the year-round pounding that the door gets from the environment, it is only natural that it experiences some wear and tear. If the door is not maintained properly, there is a good chance that the frame around the door will begin to rot. The door itself might get damaged as well. When a door begins to rot, it can be susceptible to termites. Additionally, once the door starts to decay, the frame can literally start disintegrating allowing water, pests and vermin to enter the garage.

Here's a list of my recommendations on what you can do EVERY SIX MONTHS to protect the side garage door:

  1. Do a quick visual inspection of the caulking and paint along the brick mold and at the threshold . The brick mold is the casing around the door frame.  You want to make sure that water is not seeping inside and being soaked up by the wood. 
  2. At the same time you check the caulking, also check the door, the frame and the molding for any discoloration along the bottom. If water is getting into the wood, you will see it start to brown or gray.
  3. During this visual inspection, you will want to check the threshold to make sure that there is no debris build-up between it and the weather strip.
  4. Every two years, replace the caulking at the bottom of the door frame. Obviously, if it is cracking or deteriorating prior to that, then go ahead and replace at that time.
Maintaining the side door can be very simple and fast. Yet, it is another important facet of maintaining your home. 

Robert Colen is the manager of World Home Improvements and the warranty manager for On Top of the World Communities.