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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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Right Time, Right Light

Aaron Rose once said, “In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” There is certainly something to be said about sunshine and how it impacts our sense of aliveness and energy. So if you are looking to liven up your fall garden with a beam of light, the perfect flower that radiates with foliage and yellow flowers is the Helianthus salicifolius Willow-leaved Sunflower. Don’t envision the typical sunflower with a bold brown/black middle. This flower’s weightless foliage and small yellow blooms illuminate with wisp and color. I wrote about this flower in July, but who was paying attention to fall color back then. Check out this link for perfect growing conditions and features. This plant is a staple in European borders; everyone uses it there. Just in case you skip the link, remember that this plant is a monster. In our garden, it grew 6 feet in its first year. So the right space and placement is necessary to make Willow-leaved Sunflower radiate in your border.

Don’t let size scare you, though. If you are thinking that this honey of a plant is just too darn huge, there is a back door with this one. Van Berkum Nursery’s 2011 spring line-up will include a compact version of the Willow-leaved Sunflower ‘First Light’ with the same great foliage and flowers but just in miniature form. Van Berkum is a wholesale nursery but there are many folks in the industry that can access their wide selection of plants. The 'General Information' section of Van Berkum’s website can be a very useful tool so check it out at

Helianthus salicifolius ‘First Light’ - Photo from Van Berkum Nursery 9/27/10 newsletter

So that’s it for Thursday’s blog post. In the musical words of Monty Python, “Always look on the bright side of life.” Whistle, whistle, whistle…you get it. Put some October sunshine in your fall garden. Plant some Willow-leaved Sunflower. Have a great Thursday and don’t forget there are a number of ways to get your copy of Annie’s Gardening Corner. Sign up for the email subscription list or RSS Feed, follow us on Facebook or Twitter or just go to our website at and hit the Blog button. And by golly, please send your comments and questions. The top photo is from our garden...taken by Greg Bilowz

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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.)