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.

To browse our award winning landscape design portfolios, click on our company website at WWW.BILOWZASSOCIATES.COM

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Supplemental Loving for the Garden




































The bags are packed and ready to go. Everything is looking lush and green in the garden and you’re just about ready to launch into the long-awaited vacation. But wait – there’s something you forgot.

Don’t get caught in the false lull of lush green in your summer garden. Although the recent rains have freshened and livened up our greenery, don't sink into garden neutral. We are at the threshold of summertime heat – great for beaching and barbeques but for the garden, it’s an entirely different story. So before you head out of town for the upcoming holiday weekend or ship off for vacation, set up a watering schedule with another gardening friend. Want them to still be your pal? Make it easy for them. Move your entire container plantings, which during this weather require at least two drinks a day into one shady area next to hose access. There’s nothing worse than dragging hose around the yard! This makes it easy to wand water plus the shade protects the plants from the intense summer rays, requiring less attention. For any veggies, fruit etc., if you didn’t set up drip irrigation, you must stay on top of the watering to keep your crops going. Things can quickly wilt in a few days. If you did set up drip irrigation, set it on a timer but still have someone check in to make sure it is working properly. This is a 'just in case' so someone can aid in the watering if the timer thing goes drastically wrong. If you have newly planted flower beds, shrubs or trees, this is the season that can make or break the long-term success of the plantings. Do not rely on overhead irrigation. Too many people think this suffices - (that’s a no,) plus it can raise more havoc with diseases. Who wants to return to that situation?

So don’t get caught in that false lull of 'everything looks just perfect'. Give your garden some supplemental loving. Regardless whether you are away or just off enjoying the sunshine, remember that your plants, especially the annual crops or the newly planted, require mucho attention during this summer phase. When Richard Moss, an expert on transformation states, “The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention,” he must be thinking gardens, too! So pay attention to the watering regime. It’s all part of the supplemental loving for your garden.


 


















P.S. Where can I find one of these? This should keep the pooches entertained and cool during the heat!

Images from the Internet

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Few Words for Wednesday






































Frank Lloyd Wright’s quote provides the few words for this wordless Wednesday. "I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain."



Top image of a tiny apple balancing on a Hosta by Ann Bilowz
Bottom image of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater from the internet

http://www.fallingwater.org/ (Check out this link for anyone interested in making a summer visit to this National Historic Landmark in Western Pennsylvania.)

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Savoring the Sunshine




































Short and sweet and to the point this morning – the best part about summer, besides all the gardening fun is the length of a day. The sun shines longer and there are no excuses for not being outdoors. And speaking about gardening fun, this is a swell time to get out there while indulging in the sunshine and savor those bargains. Garden centers are discounting and cutting those prices so if you still need to freshen up or add a splash of color, make a quick run in and see for yourself. With July 4th festivities heading our way, now is a perfect time to scoop up some of those colorful extras that you didn’t splurge on earlier in the season. Most of these plants are looking for a home, hoping that some kind gardener repots them before the real dog days of summer set in. When Cornelius Celsus said, “Live in rooms full of light,” was he referring to summer days? That’s my interpretation so get outdoors and savor the sunshine.

Image by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Monday, June 27, 2011

Remembering the Rosemary





















How could it be, the one herb that aids in memory slipped the growing list this year? Hopefully it is not too late to fetch a pot of Rosemary to grow in one of the colorful containers. I knew there was something missing from the meat marinades!

Although some may find this herb a bit too strong, Rosemary is said to enhance the memory by improving circulation. While there’s no guarantee that marinating your meat with a few sprigs of this herb can ward off infection or ease any muscular tension caused from long days in the garden, it is one herb not to be missing from your culinary herb patch.

For those of you who dare to dabble scientifically, blending Rosemary with cider vinegar and letting it steep for two weeks creates a Rosemary vinegar, good for rinsing your hair. My mother always swore it was the vinegar rinse that made my Aunt Elsie’s hair so shiny! And if you do add this essential oil to a bath, it is known to ‘ease muscular tension, improve circulation, and boost spirits.’

Were you absentminded this planting season, like me and forgot to plant the Rosemary? Do you need one more reason to add this herb to your garden list? Here’s perfect motive all wrapped up in this anonymous quote. "Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled." If I read that correctly, it sounds like a splendid way to kick off this glorious June Monday in the garden.

Image of Rosemary from the Internet

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flora Abundance






































Are you one of those people who always have your holiday shopping done in July, scooping up all the good buys? Just the opposite, I love to wait until the season, or shall I say the last day.  All that procrastinating comes full circle and the thrill of rushing through the stores gives me little time to think about anything other than the festive season.

On that same seam of thought, think about all the flora abundance that awaits us in the summer months. Colorful, splashy, ornate – everything screams of bright, bold and beautiful flora.

So why not make this Friday creative Friday and add some flora abundance to your day. If you're not a shopper, snap a quick pic of your favorite flower in bloom to adorn your winter walls.

Have a room to redecorate? Is it an easy room that even an amateur could wallpaper? Rather than use the primary earth tones and paint, scour the catalogs for some snazzy, decorative flora wallpaper. Or do one wall, no curves or bends and paint the rest a complimentary color. Jazz up an old pillow or chair and reupholster with some flash flower print. Make a statement – bring back that Victorian era even in a slightly contemporary home.

Go ahead. Make this Friday a creative Friday. There’s nothing like planning ahead for those dark, winter days. Make that hibernating season shine with flora abundance. And to take that thought one step further, we’ll wrap up Friday’s blog with an Epicurus quote. Good day for some Greek philosophy. “Not what we have But what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.” Happy Friday - Annie

Image of floral prints from the Internet

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What Rocks Your Garden


Stone and large boulders can add a certain harmony and natural flow to a garden. It is an organic element, so one should be careful when plopping something so natural and beautiful as rock in random spots.

These organic features should be used tastefully so as to blend into the surrounding landscape; not stick out and appear unnatural. Abstract compositions can be created with stone, appearing as a contrasting sculptural element but it is part of the overall design.

Today's point is an obvious oops that is seen too often during the course of construction. A large boulder was found during excavating and rather than really think it through, this enormous mass of rock was placed smack-dab in the midst of the lawn. What sense does it make in relation to the rest of the property other than there was no other place to dispose of it? You may as well carve that one out in stone – “This rock couldn’t find a home other than here.” Yes, it’s that obvious. A little earth work and shaping can make all the difference in a large boulder appearing in harmony with the landscape versus looking out of place and out of scale.

So what rocks in your garden? If you plan on working with stone, think organic. In the spirit of midsummer celebrations, a William Shakespeare quote seems appropriate. “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” Stone is meant to have one face – natural and beautiful. Don’t muck with it.

Image of boulder from the Internet

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Have a Sweet Bay of a Day



















Fragrance is one of the lovely parts of a garden but is often overlooked when the blooming period is in peak. Our awe and attention is drawn to the blossom rather than its perfume. So if you are looking for a scent not to be missed, here’s one honey of a specimen tree that wafts of sweetness. Unless your sniffer is on the fritz, this aromatic blossom is a hard one to ignore.

The fragrance of a Sweet Bay Magnolia is the number one reason to plant this rare native. Depending on form, in the plant world it can be considered a large shrub (15-20 ft.) or an ornamental tree. In mild winters it can hold onto some of its leaves, making it a quasi semi-evergreen. Its glory though is its bloom cycle. The intoxicating fragrance of one blossom in a saucer of water can overwhelm a room; superior to any of those fake plug-in air fresheners.

Its perfect location is adjacent to a terrace or outside a window where everyone hangs out. You can plant its understory with medium to low-growing shrubs, herbaceous perennials and groundcovers, adding to this spectacular garden moment.

So speaking of garden moments, it’s time to wrap up this blog on an overcast summer morning. A Heinrich Heine quote seems appropriate when speaking about scented blossoms. "Perfumes are the feelings of flowers." Did Heine know about the scent of this glorious Magnolia because this blossom tips the chart on perfume!

Start your summer off on the right foot and look for this delightful Magnolia to add to your garden moments. Make it a Sweet Bay of a day. Find a distinctive planting location and let the wafting begin!

Image of Sweet Bay Magnolia blossom in our garden by Greg Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer in the City




































Yahoo – it’s the first day of summer and there’s no reason why everyone, including city dwellers cannot display and grow this smorgasbord of aromatics. For your culinary use, squeezed into one clay pot is a menagerie of herbs: Purple Basil, Thai Basil, Sweet Basil, Lemon Basil, Cilantro, Dill and Golden Marjoram. So make growing a kitchen garden doable no matter your location. These colorful and tasty herbs make salads, marinades, main dishes all glimmer with freshness.

Sarah Ban Breathnach wraps up this first day of summer blog with her endearing insight about the month of June. “This month we rediscover that it is life’s enrichments rather than the riches of life that bring us true contentment.” So clip and snip from your kitchen garden, even if it lives in a tiny pot.

Image of herbs growing on our terrace by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yesterday…




































“All my troubles seemed so far away…” The words from that infamous Beatles song kick off this last day of spring. So where’s this going? Yesterday was a ten! Perfect weather: not too hot, not too cool; just perfect for Father’s Day.
So again, why is that Beatles song humming in the background? I spotted the first Daylily blooming in the garden. I’m a big Hemerocallis fan even if the bloom is short-lived. What makes Daylilies unique? Most gardeners know this factoid but its bloom only lasts for one day. So when the first Daylily blooming for the season is bright gold like the sun, it’s a special treat. Then to sneak peek a hummingbird fluttering around its petals, looking for something special from the flower gives yesterday a perfect score of ten!

That’s why gardens are so worth it! Even if you grow just the frilly stuff, you are bound to be enthralled by the simplest, smallest gifts within the garden. To leave behind the Beatles’ lyrics, which are a tad sad and skip into a Dale E. Turner quote, “The happiness of too many days is often destroyed by trying to accomplish too much in one day. We would do well to follow a common rule for our daily lives - DO LESS, AND DO IT BETTER.” The capital letters part is the message for today! Whatever you do today, do less and do it better. Make it a ten, just like yesterday!

Images by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Friday, June 17, 2011

What’s Popular in Your Garden

Kathleen Norris once said, "Life is easier than you'd think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable. In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular." That same message can be said about the garden. Whether you produce ornamental or fruit-bearing goodies, there is always something wonderful that is popping up and putting a smile on a gardener’s face. So what’s popular in your garden?

Last night meandering through the shaded garden paths with my reliable buddy, Ben, we spotted the Aquilegia (Columbine) I planted two years ago. I know there are a few more of them hiding in different locations but it’s always a pleasant moment when you discover that plant you recall putting in the soil, especially when it’s sprouting this tall and proud. 






















Interested in what make these woodland plants grow so well? A lover of partial shade, Columbines do best with morning sun and light afternoon shade. Moist, rich soil is necessary to get these types of results although these plants have been found colonizing in rocky, craggy areas. If you think you have the winning combination, then give Columbines a go.

Don’t forget to share what’s popular in your garden. That’s a subtle hint to get some chatter going next week about your fruit, veggies and ornamentals. And for all the Dads out there, enjoy the upcoming weekend.

Images of Aquilegia (Columbine) by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flower Pick of the Week






































With the Stanley Cup Championship long overdue back in the hands of the Boston Bruins, there is nothing sweeter than a new dawn to celebrate. So my flower pick of the week is the ‘New Dawn’ Rose. It just started blossoming in the garden. It’s one of my favorites! And to play a rewind on last year’s blog about this smashing rose, (how ironic – it was June 15, 2010) http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/06/its-new-dawn.html take a listen to Michael Buble’s song linked in the post. I’m not so sure this guy from Vancouver is belting out his tune quite the same way this morning but we are! In the words of tennis great Billie Jean King, “champions keep playing until they get it right.” It’s the same advice with that gardening thing. So don’t forget to add a ‘New Dawn’ to your collection for a championship display!

Image of New Dawn Rose taken by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sea Foam of the Spring Woods



















This spring, the Mountain Laurels (A.K.A. Kalmia Latifolia) bloom profusely. The hillside is dotted with its blossoms, sweeping every square inch underneath the shaded canopy of trees. Its happiest home is in the woods.

Its soft white blossoms gleam in the early morning light like a tide floating back into the ocean. There in the woods, the sea foam of spring. There on the hillside, its soft white blossoms drifting back to its sea.

Enjoy your wordless Wednesday. Today’s quote is one of my own. “When something or someone leaves you speechless, enjoy the silence.” Get out and experience the Mountain Laurels before they fade away. Annie






































Image of Kalmia Latifolia (Mountain Laurel) taken earlier this spring by Greg Bilowz
Image of the hillside of Mountain Laurels taken by Ann Bilowz (Not the greatest picture from the Blackberry but it inspired today’s wordless Wednesday entry. Hope you get the drift.)

P.S. I wish I could truly be wordless but, again, there’s too much Italian blood in me. It’s hard to be speechless, let alone wordless!

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Classic Rerun






































When there’s nothing but clouds and dreariness, looking for a few cheery spots in the garden is a must. So with this day feeling a bit more like UK, I’m pulling a favorite plant out of the archives to give some brightness to this soggy Tuesday. Check out last June’s post on Baptisia australis or False Indigo. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/06/color-purple.html

Making room for more grape vines in our garden, I recently transplanted the lone Baptisia australis to a new location. It is amazing how this Baptisia took to its new home. But that’s the great part about these versatile plants that win honors such as Perennial of the Year. These plants can handle a bit more than the delicates so it’s worthwhile to consider the tried and true for your ornamentals. Don’t get me wrong. This plant shouldn’t be shifted from place to place too often. This is a set and forget it type perennial that needs some space to flourish. So if you are looking for the color purple to brighten your garden that can take up approximately the space of a small shrub, then consider Baptisia australis, or False Indigo. When Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. stated, “many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up,” hopefully he was referring to plants, too.

Image of Baptisia australis from the Internet

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Monday, June 13, 2011

What’s in Your Sauce?



















Is your freezer stuffed with last year’s leftover tomatoes? These remnants of a bygone garden are just itching to find a pot. With this chilly, damp spring weather, a good tomato sauce and pasta is still making its way into the kitchen forecast. The problem with leftover, frozen tidbits of fresh tomatoes is one, the fruit itself is unidentifiable. Was it a cherry, which goes off the sugar dial or was it an heirloom? Either way, frozen tomatoes seem to produce a sweeter sauce. So here’s a trick I used last night to give my sauce a bit of a cacciatore flavor.

But first, a few other tricks when making your frozen fresh tomato sauce:

Frozen tomatoes most definitely create a watery sauce so add some of your own canned tomatoes, which for some reason are less sweet and a can of tomato paste to give it a thicker consistency. Simmer and add the following:

Sautee an onion in a tablespoon of olive oil and mix with the simmering tomatoes.
Add your dried spearmint (The secret ingredient!)
Sautee your meat for flavor (fennel sausage, hamburger or for a vegetarian sauce, skip the meat but I can’t guarantee the flavor. Pork/sausage gives an eclectic taste that tomatoes and onions just don’t quite offer.)
Any leftover red wine on the counter works perfect so add it in.
Sautee one bulb of garlic (our fresh garlic will be ready in a couple of weeks) in a tablespoon of olive oil.

Now here’s the cacciatore part.
Take your sautéed garlic and add five cut up Pastene’s Peperoncini (Peppers in Vinegar) and puree in a food processor. I use one of those tiny gadgets for these kitchen ventures rather than dig out the massive two ton worker bee.
Add this mix to your sauce and simmer another 20 minutes and you will find this sweet cacciatore flavor that has you thinking you died and woke up in Italy.

With that sauce simmering on the back burner, don’t forget this cool weather is great for growing lettuce. A fresh salad goes wonderful with your pasta dish. Here's another easy trick. Do you love crotons on your salad? Please tell me you don’t buy those perfectly shaped processed ones in a box. Use your leftover crusty bread to make your own flavorful crunchy toppings for your salad. Don’t want to heat the oven or need to be quick? Pop the sliced bread in the toaster and get them crispy and dark enough. Cut into irregular cubes and drizzle olive oil, salt and whatever other spices i.e., garlic salt, Romano or Parmesan cheese. Whatever you add, it won’t be processed like the ones in the box.

It's hard not to notice while wrapping up this sauce post that the sun and the clouds seem to be duking it out. It’s anyone’s guess what’s in store for this week’s forecast. But if you still have last year’s frozen fresh tomatoes hanging out in the freezer bin, best to use them for cooking up a sauce before this summer’s fresh batch comes in. And as the British novelist, Virginia Woolf said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Don’t forget to share your favorite sauce recipes. And always dine well. It starts with fresh growies in the garden. And of course, a kicker sauce!

Image from the Internet

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Friday, June 10, 2011

Simple Steps for Tomatoes






































When Gertrude Stein said, “A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables,” she certainly was thinking tomatoes. A few simple steps for healthy tomatoes:

First, the obvious is to plunk in those stakes and wrap that Velcro tape to keep the tomatoes growing straight. After yesterday’s fierce winds and storms, without these protecting buddies to accompany your plants, you might just find droopy sets already suffering damage. Second, don’t overlook nasty diseases that can wipe out your plants. Stay ahead of the game with a spray program so bugs or blights don’t come in and spoil your hard work. It’s bad horticultural practice to let preventable diseases get out of control. Most good growers apply a prophylactic spray every week. Don’t wait to see the symptoms because at that point, it’s too late. One last simple step for great tomatoes - pinch off the suckers. This simple technique regulates vegetative growth, allowing the plant to put more energy into producing and ripening fruit. It can also be meditative as you pinch and drift through the garden.

That’s it in a clam shell (for any of you lucky buggers heading off to enjoy a weekend at the beach.) With that said, don’t overlook your tomato plants. Keep your vegetable garden healthy.

Image of tomato plant in the garden taken by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Solitude and Rain Drops



















Stuck somewhere in between this morning’s solitude and rain drops, I reluctantly wait for this predicted heat surge. Thankful for the early reprieve to refresh our gardens and of course, to refresh me, too much time was spent contemplating this morning rather than writing. Ralph Marston’s quote fits in perfectly with this morning’s break between solitude and rain drops. “Rest when you're weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” Don’t be afraid to find solitude between the rain drops. It makes an ordinary day extraordinary! Have an extraordinary Thursday.

Image of rain puddle from the Internet

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It’s A Splendid Day for Blending

It’s a splendid day for blending with spring kick-off time for berry picking. The strawberries are coming in full force and if your willpower is strong enough to resist eating them straight from the plant, (unlike our Border Collie Cokie) berries in the blender are a perfect choice for a refreshing drink.

A quick tip recipe:

Here’s what you need:

A blender
A cup of ice
Four scoops of plain yogurt
Two cups of water
15 to 20 strawberries washed and de-stemmed
Sugar to taste
(NOTE: Here’s one you can try but even this spearmint lover isn’t quite sure yet)
Four to five sprigs of fresh spearmint leaves.
It adds a refreshing, settling flavor and could work well with spicy foods.

Blend it up, with or without spearmint and you have an easy, healthy drink for the patio.

And if you don’t have strawberries growing in your garden, U-pick it farms should be exploding with berries. Now’s the time for picking! And in the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” Or dogs! 






















Here’s Cokie eyeing the basket of berries for additional munching pleasure. Ben, our other Border collie would rather be off splashing in his pool.

To end today’s post of berries and picking, find time to do something in the garden. Here’s a thought – pick some fresh flowers. Mary Oliver’s poem ‘Freshen the Flowers, She Said’ from her book, ‘Why I Wake Early’ spells it out perfectly.

“So I put them in the sink, for the cool porcelain was tender,
And took out the tattered and cut each stem on a slant,
Trimmed the black and raggy leaves, and set them all –
Roses, delphiniums, daisies, iris, lilies,
And more whose names I don’t know, in bright new water –
Gave them

A bounce upward at the end to let them take
Their own choice of position, the wheels, the spurs,
The little sheds of the buds. It took, to do this,
Perhaps fifteen minutes.
Fifteen minutes of music with nothing playing.”

I just love the fifteen minute analogy! Enjoy your Wednesday.

Above images taken by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday’s Tidbits

If you can ward off the spring crop of mosquitoes for a quick jaunt in the woods, you might catch Kalmia latifolia, Mountain Laurel in bloom. This year looks like a spectacular one for seeing these wonderful evergreen shrubs dotting the trails. With the humid air mass ready to settle in our region, today might be a perfect day with bug juice to wander through a wooded path to discover this native beauty. It’s a do not miss in my books!

But if you can’t squeeze in a walk in the woods because the garden party season is on, here’s a great idea mentioned in yesterday’s blog for serving your refreshments at your next bash. This champagne fountain served as an easy way to keep guests refreshed with ice tea at the Cozy Tea Cart’s garden gala. Lemonade or some other fruity drink could do the trick as the refreshment. Sorry for the Tuesday tidbits but that’s the busy buzz for this morning. 






















Kin Hubbard reminds us, “A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.” Sorry but this bee has to buzz off!
Images taken by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Monday, June 6, 2011

Stepping Out






















In between the busy weekend chores, it’s nice to slip out of town on a beautiful spring afternoon. So off to the Cozy Tea Cart in Brookline, NH we went where Danielle Beaudette was hosting her Annual Summer Garden Gathering with a noontime Japanese tea ceremony. The Kaji Aso Studio did the tea honors. Interesting and informative!



As I mentioned in a past blog, http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2011/04/stuck-on-tea.html Danielle does a great job with this tea thing. She had the place decked out with scrumptious sweets, cucumber sandwiches and two flavorful summertime teas, Pina Colada and Summer Sweet overflowing from champagne fountains (what a great idea!) as people wandered about the various vendors’ tables and spent time in the tea shop munching on more sweets.

So if you didn’t take my advice back in April, visit the Cozy Tea Cart http://www.thecozyteacart.com/ (603) 249-9111 when stepping out. There is always an event or lecture. Or just take an afternoon and spend it sampling a favorite tea.

With a busy week ahead, let’s call it a wrap for this beautiful Monday. Danielle’s reflective stone garden inspired the anonymous quote for today – it seemed like a perfect ending for the post. “Teachers who inspire realize there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them.”




















 
Images of Japanese Tea Ceremony and Reflective Stone Garden from the Cozy Tea Cart, Brookline, NH taken by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Friday, June 3, 2011

Look Under Foot



























A simple Friday message for the upcoming stellar weekend: embrace the nature that surrounds you. Look under foot. Some of the closest places to your doorstep can offer such stunning beauty. Get inspired in some of our gifted treasures, our state parks and take a moment to appreciate the day. John Burroughs ends this Friday’s post with his thoughtful prose.

“The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is "look under foot."
You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think.
The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive.
The great opportunity is where you are.
Do not despise your own place and hour.
Every place is under the stars, every place is the center of the world.”

P.S. Still waiting to hear from my loyal Sturbridge reader - Annie




























Images taken at Moore State Park in Paxton, MA by Ann Bilowz

For more information on visiting Moore State Park, click on this link. http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/more.htm

For a previous blog post on Moore State Park, you can click here. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2011/03/lining-up-spring-road-trip.html

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Field Flower



























There’s no celebrating the spectacular weather today when such devastation rocked certain areas of our state, causing fatalities and destruction unseen of in this neck of the woods for decades. Catching the tornado warnings online yesterday, I didn’t pay much attention as often times the meteorologists overcompensate and make more of these storms. I tend to go by the behavior of the dogs and the other wildlife around us although I can be fanatical about watching the radar. Yesterday wasn’t one of those days. But the dogs weren’t reacting so neither was I. We feel protected in our location due to Wachusett Mountain blocking a lot of weather patterns but nothing stops devastating tracks like yesterday. Mother Nature truly has a mind of her own and this is one of those times when logic doesn’t add up in Massachusetts. A loyal reader lives in an area hit hard by yesterday’s tornado and I’ve yet to hear that he and his family are okay and did not suffer extensive damage. So it’s just a simple picture of a Shasta Daisy from this morning’s garden with a short poem from James Montgomery, ‘A Field Flower.’


There is a flower, a little flower
With silver crest and golden eye,
That welcomes every changing hour,
And weathers every sky.

Image of Shasta Daisy after the storm by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No Fuss Backdrops for the Garden


The trend for simple, pure and natural with our vegetables is fast and unstoppable so when it comes to the perennial garden, why not implement this same philosophy? Here is a quick and easy combination (Ostrich Fern and Siberian Iris) that can be divided throughout the garden to create this mid-to-late spring drama for a no-fuss backdrop. The stunning purple of the Iris and the lush green of the fern add just enough color to keep it simple, pure and natural. In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” P.S. This is as close to a wordless Wednesday as I can be….Happy Hump Day. Annie

Images of Siberian Iris and Ostrich Ferns by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post and become a friend on our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/annbilowz (where there are even more shared tidbits) or subscribe on the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. Either way, we hope you follow the postings somewhere in cyberspace and share it with your gardening friends. Questions, comments or thoughts, contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

About Me

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Check in for your daily share's worth of garden inspiration, landscape architecture and design tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! We invite you to contact Bilowz Associates, Inc., or to browse our portfolios. Like our Facebook follow on Twitter or subscribe to the blog to receive posts daily via email or a feed. You can follow with visuals on Pinterest and find us on LinkedIn and Houzz, too.  You can also find us back on our Google+ Business Page. (Landscape architects/Landscape Design/serving Massachusetts and New England.) Visit our landscape architectural design firm's website where creating design with balance and harmony is our story. http://www.bilowzassociates.com/

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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.)