BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
Our company blog, Annie's Gardening Corner, takes a sneak peek at how we balance our own love for everything green + a place to find inspiration, garden ideas and landscape design tips.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Garden as Our Lab

Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” So how does one achieve excellence in the garden? Become a mad scientist. Make a small portion of your garden experimental. Test the extremities but in small doses. When you find the right combinations, apply them in larger scale. Unfortunately, I must admit, most of my own personal gardens are in a state of flux, research and testing. I am the mad scientist. Some of the best plant combinations have come from doing the ‘wrong thing.’ This is also the case with growing vegetables. Although you should heed the advice of the expert farmers, remember the envelope is constantly being pushed. It is the only way we make advancements in excellence.

For example, on a simple scale, one of our local farmers had 150 tomato plants lined out in the ground since the early warm spring temperatures. He had most of these plants protected with row covers. (Remember this contraption was mentioned in a previous blog.) With Monday’s frost, he lost all the tomato plants under the row covers and the few exposed to the cold air suffered no damage. There could be a number of reasons this occurred or a combination of a few. He still has a large number of his remaining crops in greenhouses but you get the drift. Experimenting with the elements is the only way to learn what works, when it works and under what conditions. In other words, think like a scientist. Take the advice of David Cronenberg and apply it to your garden. “Everybody's a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We're all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.”

Tip of the day: With frost still a factor in this neck of the woods, you can safely line out the Brassicaceae family or mustard family (also called Cruciferae) Cruciferous vegetables. This includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and turnip. If you do purchase your sets from a local nursery, chances are these plants were protected in greenhouses. You still have to harden them off to the elements before planting them in the ground. We still have some cold nights ahead of us.
Image from Internet
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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)