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, November 30, 2011

Fading into the Limelight



As we close out this November, there is little left in the garden taking shape, form or color. But if you look hard and long enough, you can find something in its place. Today’s images are the faded sterile flowers of H. paniculata ‘Limelight’. Just in case you needed a refresher on this popular shrub, a few links from some past posts.

It’s never a wordless Wednesday for me; making a point about something as November fades into the limelight. There’s always the quote, which today must be words from Mark Twain. Just in case you didn’t see the Google Doodle, it’s the witty American author’s 176th birthday. With so many great Twain quotes to choose from, the most appropriate for this amazing shrub seemed to be... “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”


























Feel free to pick your favorite Twain quote and post it on any of the usual spots below. For all those cauliflower fans, you might like this one. “Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.” Or you might just prefer Twain’s straight talk. “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” Have a great Wednesday and don’t let November fade into the limelight without remembering a special moment. Hopefully it’s one from your garden.

Images faded sterile flowers 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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Deco or Traditional

From a horticultural standpoint, there’s lots of ways to bring color and festivity into your home. But are you the deco or traditional type? Readers, take notice. This post is meant so I can hear from you!

Let’s start with the tree question. Do you use real or imitation? Both have pros and cons so tell me why you choose what you do. The number one reason folks like real versus imitation is a tree's scent. Is this your number one reason, too?  


Poinsettias are the big seller during the holiday season but would you opt for the traditional red, white or deco blue? 

Wreaths and Mistletoe – do you decorate with one or both and are your greens real, too?

Name your favorite holiday decorating tradition. I’ve just learned from this past Turkey feast that using reverse psychology works with everything. It's always cloth tablecloths, napkins and glassware too. But to save on some clean-up, I opted to go paper/plastic. Not one guest spilled a thing. Go figure. For holiday parties and open houses, what do you like to use?

I'm with keeping the holidays stress and worry free. Take Larry Wilde’s advice. “Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” So whether it's deco or traditional, keep it simple and just let the holidays be!

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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mild Temps Equal Garden Reprieve


Another mild week in store plus wrapping up the second warmest November on record - a blessing in disguise for those last minute garden chores. Here’s your quick list before the ugly head of winter roars!

1) Clean up all leaf litter. Maple trees specifically have experienced high levels of disease this season. Leaving unattended leaf litter in the plant beds or on your lawn means diseased spores reemerge next spring.
2) Cut back and remove this past year’s growth on your perennials. By doing so you remove the source of diseases and insects potentially present on the foliage plus you deter those furry rodents from living in the comfortable underbrush. Rodents should not be taking refuge in your plant beds or you’ll see winter damage for sure.
3) Don’t apply winter mulch on the plant beds quite yet. Keep the ground bare until it freezes. A protective winter mulch spread too soon creates that comfy habitat for rodents.
4) Remove any damaged limbs from the surprise October snowstorm or any other weather pattern that shook your trees a bit. Do this before the season closes in and please don’t put the broken limbs and brush in the streets. Major scratches on the car finish don’t come out easily and putting the butt end of the branches sticking into the roadway is a hazard for everyone, including our plows should we get hit with another surprise storm. Speaking of trees, inspect all for weak crotches that may require support cables prior to the long and ferocious winter months. If the plant has a stress crack, support it structurally or remove the branch in question. Best to seek an expert opinion from an arborist for any dangerous, hazard trees.
5) It is still not too late to plant your bulbs including your garlic. But do it soon!
6) Make sure your irrigation system has been properly winterized. Don’t forget to remove the backflow preventer from the house and store it. A little bit of water in this gadget can freeze and break mid-winter. It’s a bit pricey to replace so this little extra step is a given.
7) It’s not too late with the no-freeze ground to still edge your plant beds. It may look like the lawn is somewhat dormant but there is a lot of root growth that occurs during this time of the year. It’s a good time to remove the encroaching lawn, which makes for an easier spring start-up.
8) So there’s just one more tip - protect any young fruit trees with rodent guards. Rodents love fruit trees. It’s like Skittles for them. These buggers can girdle the bark right off the tree below the snow line and you won’t see the damage until it’s too late.

So take this reprieve and use it wisely. Sorry if the checklist lacks Shakespearean style and finesse but there’s no time to waste. But I’ll use a Shakespearean quote to wrap this post up. “To climb steep hills requires slow pace at first.” If you paced yourself slowly with your garden clean-up list, we need to reach the summit soon or else…winter suddenly comes in its place!
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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Speechless




















This time, this year
The turkey is here
So it’s time to prepare
For my favorite holiday
Before it disappears!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

And in case you need some interesting turkey talk around the table, here’s a link for review so you can debunk and refute all those turkey facts. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/11/111122-thanksgiving-2011-dinner-recipes-pilgrims-day-parade-history-facts/

Now it’s time to set the stage for Judy Hand’s quote, "An open home, an open heart, here grows a bountiful harvest.”  Let’s hope the grocery store still has fresh turkeys!

Image 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, November 22, 2011

Remember Them at Thanksgiving

With so many preoccupied with the holiday buzz, this stirring image taken by Greg on our recent trip to Assisi drew me to the lyrics of Paul Simon’s song, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’ These powerful words remind us of those who travel over troubled water during this holiday season. If there is any time to remember, it is now.  

‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I’m on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

When you’re down and out,
When you’re on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
I’ll take your part.
When darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

Sail on silvergirl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind.

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

© 1969 Paul Simon



















Remember them at Thanksgiving. Don't drive by.

Images of Assisi 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

Monday, November 21, 2011

To Decorate or Not to Decorate





















Hosting the turkey dinner this year? Besides getting all the fixings ready, how do you decorate the table with harvest festivity? Is your centerpiece homemade or do you keep it simple with cloth napkins soft to feel? Or do you fuss with a floral arrangement - is it paper, silk, plastic or the real deal? 




















You can make it like the kids’ table with the basics and lots of room. As John Hughes reminds us, It's like being at the kids' table at Thanksgiving - you can put your elbows on it, you don't have to talk politics... no matter how old I get, there's always a part of me that's sitting there.”  My favorite place to sit if you can get clearance!

Today's message, whether you decorate or not - I hope you don’t go flying over the Thanksgiving speed bump and jettison right into December. With the warm temperatures this past weekend, lots of folks put the holiday lights on the trees. Don't illuminate just yet. Let's enjoy Thanksgiving please!

P.S. It’s Monday before the feast so let’s get creative and engaged. Post your favorite decorating tips or if you forgo the decorations, post why you do what you do! I’ve posted two of my top picks from http://www.squidoo.com/tabledecor so share yours, too.   


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, November 18, 2011

Button Up the Loose Ends


If you’re still cleaning up leaves and storm debris or buttoning up the loose ends in the garden, you may be falling behind with the Thanksgiving dinner menu. Need some new twists for the usual veggies? I’m pulling two posts from my trusted archives to give your holiday table a quick boost in the flavor department. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2009/11/rooting-for-rutabaga.html

All set with your menu? Lucky you! Maybe a refresher on that annual check-up list for the garden might come in handy. So here’s another post from the archives to assist you with the final garden showdown.  http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/12/yards-annual-checkup.html Hopefully, that will do!

Final advice - take a deep breath and pace yourself. It’s paramount during this holiday season. Not coming unbuttoned at the seams is huge! Remember these wise, anonymous words. “In life, there is no pause button, no rewind, and definitely no replay.”  Button up your loose ends and enjoy the day!

Image by Ann Bilowz    
(Back to the Blackberry shots!)


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, November 17, 2011

Keeping Your Eye on the Market

An advocate of buying local and supporting the area farmer, this recent article, which indicates the high growth numbers of locally grown food reaching over 4.8 billion as a business should not come as a surprise.
http://www.startribune.com/local/133791058.html With any industry, it is always wise to decipher the marketing and perception from the real deal. The following article, although from 2009, gives you lots to ponder when choosing your locally grown producer and things to consider when shopping at open markets or your chain grocery stores. http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/rip-offs/10-things-your-farmers-market-wont-tell-you-17698/ Getting to know the person who grows what you purchase is huge. A fresher idea - learn to become a novice grower yourself.

So that’s the quick wrap on the countdown to Turkey Day, my favorite holiday and a great time to serve locally grown! In the words of Alan Alda, keep it fresh! “It's really clear to me that you can't hang onto something longer than its time. Ideas lose certain freshness, ideas have a shelf life, and sometimes they have to be replaced by other ideas.”

Image by Greg Bilowz  (An Italian Farmers Market)

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, November 16, 2011

A Few Words for Wednesday

 

 A simple rose climbing the walls of Assisi accompanied by an excerpt from the Tao.  Look for the small, the unnoticed and enjoy your Wednesday.

“To perceive the small is called insight.
To remain yielding is called strength.
If, in using one's brightness,
One returns to insight,
Life will be free of misfortune.”

From the Tao Te Ching no. 52

Image of a red rose in Assisi 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, November 15, 2011

The Beauty of the Vine



















As dabblers of growing grapes, people often ask us about wines and vines. With the biggest feast right around the corner, this article by Gail Appleson might be helpful when pairing your choice of wine with the Thanksgiving meal. http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/variety-of-wines-work-well-on-thanksgiving/article_a0748cad-b787-5ea4-918c-483ecfa4580b.html
While this famous American holiday offers a range of flavors, food and guests, it can be difficult to find a wine pleasing for everyone. When handling a mixed crowd with diverse tastes and varying degrees of understanding wines, Pinot Noir or a light Chardonnay (no oak) tends to please all. You can extend your choices from the article’s suggestions but keep in mind, there are many beautiful wines one may be tempted to serve. However, the beauty of the vine and its wine can be lost when paired with an incompatible meal. An obvious 101 perspective but a safe outlook to use when serving wine with such a beastly meal and many guests – keep it simple!

In case you are wondering about today’s picture, it’s Sagrantino, a grape varietal that grows only around the hilltop town of Montefalco, Italy. (Of course, in the green heart of ItalyUmbria!) Although this wine may not stand up to our Thanksgiving dinner requirements, (it's a big, fat wine; a meal in itself) this Umbrian experience is one to put on your books. Make sure you look for a 100% Sagrantino, sip slowly and enjoy. And as Michael Broadbent, the British wine critic suggested, "Food and wine: Decide which is the soloist, which the accompanist."

Image of Sagrantino vines 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

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Glimpse of Italian Freshness



















Although most may assume this is a typical scene on every street corner in Italy, outdoor markets with fresh veggies and fruits aren’t as commonplace as one would think. At least in Umbria, in the green heart of Italy, there are more ‘socks and underwear bazaars’ than the outdoor farmers markets we know and treasure in our neck of the woods. Why bother dragging carts into the streets when the local supermercato has all the regions’ best produce? I do suspect this trend may change…we’ll see. In the meantime, the American designer, Roberta Williams sums up this novel idea. Freshness is important. If a game is fresh, new, intriguing, challenging, and enchanting, it will sell, and sell well.” A good philosophy for everything you do! Remember to support your local farmers when preparing that 'just around the corner' Thanksgiving dinner.
  
Image of outdoor market in Italy 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

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Holiday Worth Remembering

Today’s post is a simple picture of a very special place; Assisi, the City of Peace in the Green Heart of Italy to accompany this special day Americans are given to show respect to our veterans. John Doolittle’s quote sums up this special holiday, reminding us why it is a holiday worth remembering. “America's Veterans have served their country with the belief that democracy and freedom are ideals to be upheld around the world.” May all of our veterans find peace within themselves for their service to our country and may my ears never hear what I heard a person tell me yesterday - that this is a ‘nothing holiday.’ Veterans Day is a holiday worth remembering. To our troops and their families, we say ‘Thank You.’ Peace.

Image of Assisi, The City of Peace 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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No Such Thing as Bad Weather

I’m officially working my way back into my daily blog routine. And while I may have missed the unforgettable Halloween snowstorm, I cannot avoid its damage to the landscape. There are plenty of broken limbs and branches in the aftermath of this bizarre weather pattern to prove its fury.

In a quick drive-by observation, the tree with significant storm damage in nearby locales appears to be the mighty oak. There could be a lot of variables for this scenario including a minor detail that some Oak trees hold onto its leaves longer than other deciduous species. There’s always room for lively discussion so feel free to jump in and share your thoughts, observations and storm photos as I’m still brushing myself off my jet lag, missing luggage and getting use to this morning routine. So of course I’m making this one a bit easier on myself by pulling a post from my trusty archives. And the topic is…you guessed it - the Quirky Oak! Hope you take a minute to read it. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/11/quirky-oak.html

To round off today’s message, I’ll share the British Novelist, George Gissing’s profound quote about bad weather. “For the man sound of body and serene of mind there is no such thing as bad weather; every day has its beauty, and storms which whip the blood do but make it pulse more vigorously.”  That Farmers Almanac prediction may have some substance to it this year. We could be in for that wet, wild winter! So heed the warning and don’t forget to get your yards and gardens prepped for the wet, wild winter ahead. http://www.farmersalmanac.com/weather/2011/08/29/2012-us-winter-forecast/ 

Image from the Farmers Almanac link.

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

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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.)