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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Last Wordless Wednesday of August






































It’s the last glorious morning in August so it’s quite fitting that this wordless Wednesday’s image be a Morning Glory. Although this annual did not start blossoming until after Hurricane Irene whipped it around a bit, this Wednesday was the first full flower I witnessed before its bloom faded into the afternoon light. While its magenta flower may clash with the merlot red barn, for me, it’s like olive oil and vinegar – a perfect match; which reminds me of all the fresh summer produce that explodes in flavor with this simple combination. Another Annie default - it’s too many words for wordless Wednesday but enjoy this last glorious morning in August. And as the poet, Walt Whitman reminds us, “A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.”

Image of a Morning Glory Blossom in our garden by Ann Bilowz

P.S. Tomorrow may be a berry recipe day unless someone posts a question or comment that spurs a different discussion. I don’t know your questions unless you send them! Directions below for communicating.

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, August 30, 2011

Tomato Heaven

Are your tomato plants on the peak of harvest? You could be like us, where the best of our vines are on the last legs of production. Still, heed this last hurricane warning because Irene may still leave behind an unwelcome visitor in your garden. The threat of late blight spreading in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene may be inevitable. Read this article to see what Cornell University is saying about this potential occurrence. http://pressrepublican.com/monday/x151681307/Late-blight-may-travel-with-Hurricane-Irene Tomatoes are the most popular crop for homeowners to produce during the summer season. So even if late blight has been previously discussed, it’s always worth repeating. Plus, there’s no shrugging off your responsibility. Think you don’t need to worry because you only have a few plants? Quite the contrary as your vines may be the most susceptible especially if protective treatments for blight weren’t used during the growing cycle. This may seem like boring stuff to the avid gardener but spreading the word and not the disease is critical. Don’t let your tomato heaven be spoiled. So even though tomatoes technically fall into the fruit category, let’s use Elizabeth Berry’s quote to end this post. “Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people.”  I’m not looking forward to those fake rubbery tomatoes from the grocery store. So keep your tomato heaven healthy for the rest of the growing season.

Image of tons of tomatoes 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, August 29, 2011

Big Breath of Fresh Air






















There is a Danish Proverb that puts this Monday morning after the hurricane into perspective. “Bad is never good until worse happens.” So for most of us in the path of Irene, the worst of the predictions never happened and for that, we can all take a big breath of this beautiful fresh air. After breathing, buckle up them galoshes because it’s time to tackle whatever debris needs clean up, including any plant damage caused by the storm. For those still without power, it does come back. Be patient. And if you need a learning experience on that incredibly difficult virtue called patience, take Gertrude Jekyll’s advice. “A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all, it teaches entire trust.”


























Image of galoshes from the Internet; Image of Monday sunshine after the hurricane by Ann Bilowz

P.S. Please feel free to post your storm damage on the usual channels.

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, August 26, 2011

Final Storm Tidbits



























Although yesterday I said we need to breathe easy and prepare our gardens and landscapes for the hurricane, it may make sense to read this article about the unusual path of this storm that is predicted to hit the Northeast. But still - take deep breaths and do not panic. Nerves aren't helpful in a treacherous situation. This article also gives you some helpful links on how best to handle tricky weather situations.
http://www.weather.com/weather/hurricanecentral/article/hurricane-irene-major-northeast-threats_2011-08-23 Because everyone knows that my two Border collies are a big part of my world, here’s a helpful list to review for preparing your pets in case of emergency, too. http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=9u7btqbab&v=00186bjBp797gv9gFB6hirQEUHTLEIbMyJkP43VJNFYETixwqlITatA9A7qjf7gPtlHwK9TYx0GFTH2KkdlL_p9zno2on5SlEeW0k3ZaUucVJ_WnRD7P_8ydGSSAvpLO6A0doUDWxvrYr5x-s--RLgwyQ%3D%3D Stay safe and hopefully our lines of communication will be up and running on Monday. Annie


























Images of Ben and Cokie on storm watch patrol 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, August 25, 2011

Time to Button Up

With hurricane season upon us, there’s no telling what may need buttoning up in our gardens and planted landscapes. Here are a few worthwhile tips.
  • Check all plants that are susceptible to wind damage, especially your tomatoes.
  • Any newly planted trees should be properly supported with guying systems. If a guying system is installed, check its tension – not too tight, not too loose.
  • While you wait for the storms to blow through, harvest those just-about-ripe fruits and veggies. Don’t have any? Go to your local farmers’ markets or hidden jewel farms that have plenty in stock. Prepare and equip the kitchen for canning and preserving or just freezing some of summer’s wonderful produce. Make it a weekend for getting back to the basics. And if the lights go out, a good gardening book should be handy for those catch-up moments on reading.
It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype of the hurricane. The energy being produced in the sky seems to cross over to us. Everyone gets in a tizzy and runs in a cyclonic circle, almost like the eye of the storm. So take a breather and hit the must-do list. Once you’ve managed to button up the garden, get back to basics with what’s in harvest. Helen Keller’s quote seems a perfect way to end this post. “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.”

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, August 24, 2011

The Garden Inside Us




































Gunilla Norris offers the perfect advice for this wordless Wednesday in her introduction of ‘A Mystic Garden.’ “A garden tends to get inside us. If we go there to accomplish something or get something, the garden soon becomes a burden. With expectations that it must look good or that it has to produce no matter what, we will soon grow tired. The garden is really a place in which we give ourselves away.” As August wraps up, spend some time getting inside your garden. P.S. Check out a few more photos from this morning inside the garden on our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/abilowz. And don’t forget to hit the like button; always extra tidbits shared there. Have a wonderful Wednesday inside your garden!

Image of Brussel Sprouts in our garden 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, August 23, 2011

Name that Tree





































This native tree (at least to the Eastern U.S.) looks like it's having a bad hair day; hence, its name. Commonly known as Shagbark Hickory(Carya ovata), this funky-looking hardwood tree produces edible nuts and some folks even make syrup from it. While it’s not a rarity to spot one, it is only the mature trees that display this shaggy appearance.

Why is it important to spot different trees? You can tell something about the area: its soil, topography, its microclimate. Knowing your trees gives you a better understanding of your overall site. While you may not have any shaggy barkers hanging around in your neighborhood, it’s just fun to know what’s what in the tree world.

A little trick for remembering anything is to associate a trait with its name. Therefore, we end the post with a James Brown quote, the “Godfather of Soul.” “Sometimes you like to let the hair do the talking.” So the next time you see a Shagbark Hickory, just think of James Brown and “I Feel Good.” And just let the bark do the talking.

Image of Shagbark Hickory 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, August 22, 2011

A Showstopper



Earl Nightingale kicks off this spectacular August morning with his simple quote. “Excellence always sells.” In the plant world, a lot of what makes or breaks plant sales is marketing hype but there’s one Hydrangea, hype or not, which achieves excellence. Although this honey of a shrub, H. paniculata ‘Limelight’ has been mentioned in previous blog posts, http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/08/in-limelight.html and http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2009/07/height-of-hydrangea-season.html it’s worth pointing out again because these woody shrubs, just in the ground for a second year, are taking off and making it big on our stage. These massive blossoms popped up recently and even took us by surprise. It’s a real showstopper.

Whether it was the massive pruning at the end of last season or the proximity to the compost bins, (I always recommend shifting and moving your compost bin and planting in that rich soil hiding underneath) this Hydrangea is a ‘pick to click’. We’re on the shoulder of the fall planting season (within the next two weeks) and there’s plenty of exceptional material stockpiled at the nurseries; an excellent time to shop and get this showstopper for your garden collection. One quick note - give this choice woody shrub plenty of elbow room to take off! Another tip – morning sun, afternoon shade is ideal for this beauty. Have an excellent Monday! Annie












Images of H. paniculata ‘Limelight’ 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, August 19, 2011

Credible Edible Fruits



















Apple country equals lots of cider donuts and U-Pick-It farms. But for many of us, picking apples in August may be the last thought on our minds. So it’s Annie’s friendly Friday reminder that early apple varieties are in. Why wait until October to pick them apples! This is the perfect time to find a farm that produces more than just this classic Americana fruit; discover ones with all the credible edibles (peaches, raspberries, plums…) Fall desserts can be more than just apple pie or crisp. Knowing, though how much everyone loves an easy, delectable apple crisp recipe, here’s my favorite from a past blog post. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2009/09/apple-mania.html Yes, this is a gentle push into harvest season so plant your mums for an early splash of fall color.

Not to worry though. We can still enjoy the last sizzling days of August doing summer fun things. Nadine Stair’s quote reminds us to be spontaneous and live fully before it’s too late. A good message as we finish our work week. “If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.” Of course, she left out picking the credible edible fruit that is peaking right now! P.S. Don’t forget to post your favorite U-Pick-It farm(s) plus the reasons why. A link is helpful, too!

Image from http://www.beardsleyscidermill.com/apple.html in Shelton, CT.
Never been but it looks like a fun place to check out! Looks like just apples but still worthy of a road trip!

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, August 18, 2011

Technology Reaching MA Farmlands



















Here’s a worthy tidbit from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) about a great program in the MA Ag world taking place right now. For anyone who rides the MBTA and wants quick access to local farmers’ produce, here’s an excellent opportunity to use your smart phone and find the best options for fresh and local.

“From August 15th through October 15th , MDAR will be promoting farmers’ markets, area farms, farm stands, agricultural fairs, CSA’s, wine makers, dairy, pick-your-own orchards, agri-tourism, garden centers, Buy Locals, culinary destinations, and much more on the MBTA’s Red and Orange Lines. And how are we going to fit all that on one ad you ask? With a QR Code!

For those of you not familiar with what a QR Code is, it’s a kind of barcode that you can scan with your smart phone to open a web page in your telephone’s browser. People who scan the code will be directed to MassGrown & Fresher – a website that features an interactive “Agri-Google” map to easily find agricultural locations across the Commonwealth. And for T riders without a car? No problem! Around Boston alone there are now over 20 farmers’ markets within easy walking distance of the Red, Orange, Green and Blue Lines.”

Excerpt from the http://www.mass.gov/agr/news/fmr/2011/4-august-september.htm

And don’t forget to check out this link today to understand a bit more about the landscape architectural profession. http://asla.org/Multimedia.aspx From Alaska to Florida, landscape architects will hold simultaneous events on 08.17.11 to educate the public. Have any questions or comments? You know the skinny on posting! See below for all the ways to contact us!

That’s it for this busy Thursday. But there’s always a quote that hopefully ties it all together. Not to confuse the disciplines, although intertwined and symbiotic, Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous American architect said this about technology. “If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.” That’s why it is so important to never lose sight of its true roots!

Image of the Jean Talon Farmers Market by Greg Bilowz (Taken last summer in Montreal)

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, August 17, 2011

A De-Light-ful Wednesday Morning

On this wordless Wednesday, enjoy the morning light. And if someone cannot see it, light the morning for them.
There must always be a quote, even on a wordless Wednesday. Edith Wharton’s words fit the photos best. “There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Make it a de-light-ful Wednesday!

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Word is Preserve



























How wonderful on a blistery winter day to open up fresh raspberry jam or heirloom tomatoes canned from your own garden. Enticing for all those boatloads of veggies coming out of your ears? Today’s summer word is preserve because keeping a bit of the growing season’s freshness throughout the year is part of the home-garden ambiance and charm.

Let’s be honest, though. Canning is a bit of work. It’s not for the guy or gal who makes a sandwich and calls that cooking. For starters, you can try freezer jam, which is a tad easier for the berries. And a dehydrator may come in handy for things like your peppers, apples, beans – not too difficult and you can get real creative with drying. But when it comes to the tomatoes, nothing beats the flavor of fresh tomatoes stored tightly in a canning jar. You can plop all those cut-up tomatoes in a freezer bag, but the flavor and storage time is worth the extra canning effort. Besides, you can’t give a frozen bag of tomatoes for a gift. You can try but it’s awfully messy and not as tasty! Plus, where can you put the bow?

There are tons of websites and links for canning and preserving fruit, vegetables and herbs. But the best advice is tie on your apron, sterilize the jars (cleanliness is everything) and get canning. A sense of accomplishment comes from this labor of love. It takes your home garden one step further – into your cupboards for the winter months.

So add the word preserve to your summer garden vocabulary. And as many foodies say, “Life is too short to eat bad food.” Oh, how true! But we’ll end with an Edward Ugel quote as it sums up where a lot of people miss the point of delicious food. “When it comes to healthy eating, people who know how to cook and make ingredients taste good have a distinct advantage over those who can't.” Want ingredients that taste phenomenal? Make preserve your word – contain that summer goodness and healthy supply of fresh fruits and veggies for your winter table.

Image of canning raspberries from the Internet (It’s my favorite fruit!)

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, August 15, 2011

The Fert and Dirt for August






































W. Clement Stone reminds us that “Big doors swing on little hinges.” That’s a great quote to kick off this rainy Monday morning plus it makes for an easy lead-in with the fert and dirt topic. With most of our perennial growing season behind us, mid-August isn’t the time to sit back and watch the last blooms in our garden gently fade away. On the tail end of this magnificent glory, it's hard to remember that these plants worked overtime since early spring, producing its splash and dash of texture, flower bloom and extended growth.

Want to keep your perennials looking perky, fresh and healthy year after year? Besides doing a bit of dividing and transplanting, this is prime time to check what might be missing in your dirt and fertilize your perennials. Nothing fancy; standard 10-10-10 or triple 8 should do the trick. This quick shot of juice helps the plants rebound from a full season’s growth and prepares the perennials for the upcoming winter months. With the soil, it’s a simple test for pH and nutrients. A well-being check-up is all you need to keep your perennials on track for next season.

So remember if you want ‘big doors to swing on little hinges,’ then apply the fert and dirt philosophy to your perennial garden.

Image of door and garden 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, August 12, 2011

The Not-So Perfect Tomato



























With all the imperfections in life, when a day like this Friday comes along, a perfect 10, it makes you stop in your tracks and take a deep breath! But while this Friday may be perfect, what do you do with all those bruised, split tomatoes growing in your garden? Share how you enjoy your home-grown not-so perfect tomato. For me, it’s slicing it in my favorite summer sandwich, a BLT!

But I want to know what you do - can, freeze, make gazpacho or salsa? Whatever you create, be sure to post your quick tips or recipes. But before we shove off to enjoy today, here’s a factoid that came through the airwaves from Ball Publishing. It’s an interesting tidbit regarding the rise of local farmers’ markets. And if you weren’t aware, this week (August 7-13) is National Farmers' Market Week.

“Farmers' Markets on the Rise”

This week (August 7-13) is National Farmers' Market Week. If you go by the USDA numbers, this retail outlet for farmers' goods is growing by leaps and bounds. The latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 2011 National Farmers' Market Directory reveal a 17% growth in farmers' markets in the last year. The report says that in 2011, there are 7,175 farmers markets operating in the U.S. However, it's not clear if those additional 1,000 markets are brand new in 2011. The numbers are based on those reported by market managers to the USDA. What is clear is that the USDA's database of markets has grown, and it's easier than ever to find a local market online. Just go to http://farmersmarkets.usda.gov/.
(Excerpt - Farmers’ Markets on the Rise -From Ball Publishing)

But back to Annie’s Gardening Corner – this is a great time to celebrate by visiting your local farmers and buying their perfect produce! The average consumer looks for the unblemished but anyone who grows knows how hard perfect really is – so for us home gardeners, we’ll celebrate with our not-so perfect tomatoes! Thomas de Quincey, an English author nails this thought best. “Even imperfection itself may have its ideal or perfect state.” Well said for those not-so perfect things in our lives!

Image of the not-so perfect tomato 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, August 11, 2011

Turning Point

It’s that time in August when things turn a different direction in the garden. You notice the sunlight rises a bit later and the sun sets a tad sooner and there is a sense of harvest in the air. That’s the grape news. Yep, you got that right. The grapes are at a turning point –starting to ripen and change color, making them ready for picking, stomping, eating. With that said, the local wine industry has flourished with many small vineyards popping up across New England. (Not to be confused with the New England wine region of Australia!) Many of these vineyards aren’t even on the map. Some, like ours, aren’t officially a vineyard (not yet) but with over 100 vines dotting our landscape, it’s a hobby gone amuck.

But for those vineyards that are official, now’s the time to check them out. Need to find one close by? You’d be amazed at how many might be just around the corner from where you live. Some of them provide entertainment, picnic areas, and distinguished tasting rooms - just like you’d find in Napa.

So make this August a turning point. Schedule a local vineyard visit as part of your summer ventures. Let's end with the words of the infamous Robert Mondavi, straight from his autobiography, ‘Harvest of Joy’. “Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. It's culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living.”

Here are two links to send you off in the right direction. Cheers!
http://masswinery.com/web/
http://www.chiff.com/wine/index.htm (This link appears to have all the info you need for wines in any region. Explore. Have fun!) Feel free to post, comment, or send a link of your favorite vineyard using the social media avenues below.
Image of grapes turning in the vineyard by Greg Bilowz
(The photographer surfaces when it comes to his grapes!)

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, August 10, 2011

Still Popping Up and Peaking Out




































If things are looking a bit gray and murky on this wordless Wednesday, take heed to Vincent Van Gogh’s insightful thoughts. “Color in a picture is like enthusiasm in life.”

Task for this wordless Wednesday: Colorful plants are still popping up and peaking out in the garden. Cut and place your stash of vibrant flowers in a jelly jar or your favorite vase. It is certain to spread some good cheer. Color your day with enthusiasm and flowers!

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Not Everything is Green




































In the garden, many of the hardscape elements (i.e., stone, metal, brick, etc.) we utilize can introduce color other than green.  It is beyond the softscape, when we introduce more than plants that we realize that not everything in our garden backdrop is green. Think of all those miscellaneous items we may not consider as connecting to everything else, including your ceramic pots, statutory items, even your outdoor furniture. Whatever you choose to place, grow or build can intensify or create a subdued approach when placed in a certain location.

Here is a perfect landscape design exercise to do on a lazy summer day. Break down your garden by softscape and hardscape elements. Mark next to each item if it is moveable or if it is a permanent structure like a large tree or a terrace that may be moved but is work or costly to undertake. Or maybe it is a stone wall that determines a property line so it cannot be touched or it may be the character building feature of your garden. If that’s the case, start from this point and work out, like you would with an Oriental rug in a room. Then decipher its placement, color, its accent to the entire landscape.

And one other word of caution: don’t add things like a white picket fence just because. Every part, from softscape to hardscape should all relate, whether it is the green texture of plants, a bronze railing detail, stone walls, terraces or ceramic pots and statutory elements. Softscape and hardscape should be best friends, not opposing enemies. Even if one element is meant to impose and the other is meant to detract, it is all meant to connect. No fragments, just symmetry. Aristotle best captures what is critical to great design. “Beauty depends on size as well as symmetry. No very small animal can be beautiful, for looking at it takes so small a portion of time that the impression of it will be confused. Nor can any very large one, for a whole view of it cannot be had at once.”




































Images of rock and color symmetry in the garden 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, August 8, 2011

Treasured or Fashionable?


















Yves Saint Laurent provides simple advice; meant for the fashion world but it parlays nicely to our home and gardens. “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” As we head into August, pick through the rummage of what is struggling or doesn’t fit. Keep your eye on definition and structure. Although fashionable is fun and often exciting, it can quickly lose its appeal. Rather, style, if chosen correctly can be timeless.


















Images of timeless garden styles 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, August 5, 2011

Bee-Lieve




































Some folks’ morning may be off to a shaky start with yesterday’s volatile stock market rattling the country. So why not take a slice of essential advice from a prized creature in our garden – bees. In an endless search for nectar as well as a constant pollinator, bees are certain to remain busy. Need a lesson from nature to bee-lieve? Plant an amazing perennial that blooms well into September plus attracts bees and butterflies. A hardy, tough and reliable Agastache 'Blue Fortune' is just that plant where bees buzz and toil in the morning sunshine. If you missed last July’s short post on this phenomenal perennial, here’s the link. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/07/summer-cowboys-for-your-garden.html
And just in case you forgot today’s message, heed the advice of bees and hardy perennials: bee-lieve that the rugged and reliable can keep blooming in the thick of it all; simple lessons straight from the garden. Samuel Johnson said it perfectly. “Knock the "t" off the "can't." And add an extra ‘e’ in Believe!

Image of a bee in the Agastache 'Blue Fortune' plant 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, August 4, 2011

The Slow Poke Garden


Is your veggie and fruit garden a bit off this year? We are hearing that sentiment from a lot of folks. This season is a funky one in terms of certain fruit and veggie production. Hence, it is always the case in the agricultural industry but we quickly forget. One fruit or veggie may be dynamite one year, while another crop does extremely poor. It’s usually due to weather, insects, you name it – some of it is just out of our control. A simple remedy: don't set your heart on one particular crop and avoid the ‘crushed’ factor should something fail. Great to diversify and do the yearly crop rotation when and if at all possible.

With that tidbit said about this year’s slow poke garden, one fruit that is worth my fellow gardeners trying out is the apricot. If you’ve visited any farmers markets and were lucky enough to stumble upon this tasty fruit, apricots can fetch at least $5.00/pint. That’s a dear price for a tree that is not that difficult to grow in cool climates. In just two years, our apricot tree has produced at least three quarts of fruit (with heavy thinning). Not bad considering some trees can take much longer to bear any edible fruit. Apricots tend to be free of the plum curculio (http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/factsheets/treefruit/pests/pc/pc.asp) that often plague many fruit trees. The only consideration when planting an apricot tree is to place it in a protective pocket so to avoid spring frosts that can damage its early flowers and fruit set.

So it’s a wrap less our quote of the day, which a William Pitt line seems appropriate. Confidence is a plant of slow growth in an aged heart.” Don’t lose your confidence this summer. Take it from the old time farmers – it’s been a slow poke year in the garden. Would love to hear what’s growing in your neck of the woods. Even if it’s the typical – a bumper crop of basil, tomatoes or eggplant, send your posts on what is or isn’t growing for you this summer. 

P.S. One other quick note because so many folks have problems with deer in their gardens; some of you may already know it but it’s worth a try. Place a cheap transistor radio in your problem area, pick any station and play that tune 24X7. It supposedly works.  

Image of Apricots from our garden 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, August 3, 2011

A Truly Wordless Wednesday

The French writer, Rene Daumal sums up this spectacular wordless Wednesday morning. “Each time dawn appears, the mystery is there in its entirety.” Recommendation for this August morning: simply enjoy the beauty of the sun…and mull over if those solar panels make sense!
Images of early morning sun rising over the meadow 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, August 2, 2011

The White Tides of Summer

What a lovely sunny Tuesday; the kind of day that makes meandering along the beach, the waves cresting between our toes simply delightful. But for those of us not at the shore, we must look within our own garden for a hint of ocean, those tides of summer. Here are a few white flowers (from simple to unique) in blossom just about now. Hope you enjoy my picks for the white tides of summer. Feel free to post the white flowers blossoming in your gardens. Would love your input on this magnificent summer day! 

  
Queen Anne’s Lace: Unfortunately this delicate white flower may be considered a weed but it offers beauty to a vase of flowers plus Queen Anne’s Lace attracts bees and other beneficial insects.  Also called ‘Wild Carrot’, it can be a bit invasive. Read up on this plant’s interesting history and what other horticultural blossoms can be confused with the Queen.
Phlox paniculata: Commonly known as Garden Phlox, this favorite perennial for the summertime garden comes in a variety of colors. A perfect white variety stands out amongst the crowd and is also quite fetching for the flower vases.



























And for the unique white in your garden, here is an all-time favorite, which I have written about in past blogs - a Paniculata Hydrangea variety called H. paniculata 'Unique’. But don’t be fooled. This Hydrangea provides additional colors as the seasons change so feel free to check back on past posts via the 'Search This Blog' about an interesting and 'Unique' Hydrangea variety.

So that’s it in a clamshell. These summertime picks are full sun lovers - perfect for our beach theme!  I’ll end this post with an anonymous quote that can translate into our gardens as well.  "At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment.” So find that moment in your summer garden – discover the white tides of summer.  


Images of white flowering blossoms in the summer garden by Ann Bilowz

Check out our fan page http://www.facebook.com/abilowz where I’ll be posting a few more pictures of these blossoms. And don’t forget to hit the like button on your travels there.

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, August 1, 2011

A Peachy Start for August



























Just in case you didn’t notice, sweet and juicy peaches are ready for picking.  If you happen to get lucky and find enough extras for something besides immediate eating, here’s a quick recommendation. Don’t try the eggless peach pie, which for us was a complete flop and waste of good peaches. Although it came out of the oven looking glorious, it just didn’t cut it – literally, you couldn’t cut it because it was just too darn goopy. So why heat the oven and get all flustered? Keep the day peachy by giving this no cook, refreshing brandied peach parfait from Epicurious.com a go.  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Brandied-Peach-Parfaits-232510 You could substitute the ice cream with yogurt for a healthier dessert.

On that note, here are just a few tips to remember in your garden as we enter into the final stretch of summer, that wonderful month of August:

* Weed – if you have a bumper crop of flowers and fresh veggies in your garden, you most likely have an extra helping of them weeds. It makes me almost want to give up in the garden when the weeds take the number one position. But it must be done so use a cool morning to tackle and regain your garden momentum.

* Give your tomatoes a shot of copper to protect them from various late season diseases or to keep what’s present at bay. Keep your eyes out for the tomato horn worm. It’s that destructive time of the year for this bug. The tomato horn worm can grow the size of your pinky and defoliate an entire plant.

* Deadhead your roses and perennials to keep them clean and fresh. We are in the shoulder of the mid-season flower slump so clean up your perennials with a quick buzz cut.

* Water, water, water – every tree, shrub and flower is getting hot and dry so stay on top of our garden’s most precious resource. One of our farmer friends told us they lost several blueberry plants when they stopped irrigating during last year’s late season hot stretch.  Even after the plants produce their fruit, a supplemental drink is necessary to keep everything healthy.

* Plan for dividing – perennials should be divided and transplanted mid-August. This gives the plant time to root and get established before the winter months plus you can spread out your pizzazz. You can easily work out the color chart because the bloom is fresh in mind.

So keep it peachy and fresh in your garden. And if you are just focusing on apple picking season, listen wisely to George du Maurier. "An apple is an excellent thing -- until you have tried a peach." Don’t miss out on this lucious fruit.    





















Peach Images from the Internet

And for anyone paying attention to the Facebook pages, many folks are experiencing problems with their fans disappearing. I’m not sure how Facebook is or will respond but hope you still comment and become a fan at our facebook 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.)