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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nature’s Crescendo



In music, a crescendo is defined as “a gradual increase, especially in the volume or intensity of sound in a passage.” Funny as we end this month of January, we sense nature’s crescendo gradually increasing in its intensity, preparing us for spring. With longer days, that natural light makes our garden hearts dance and tap our feet. Nature’s rhythmic patterns swell us with spring excitement. We feel the build-up; hints of winter passing fills the air.

Yes, we made it through January; the toughest month in a gardener’s calendar. We’ve reflected and collected our garden thoughts. We’re itching to set plans into movement. But not quite yet; there’s a build-up and we must patiently wait to hear the orchestra play till the end.  

It doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate - it is the last day of January. So here’s an Annie suggestion. If you want to keep in theme with music, listen to a favorite composition or song. You’ll find the right tune that puts you in the perfect mood. Yes, it is January 31st and there is much to celebrate. The build-up to spring is taking place.  But be patient; sit back and enjoy the music. Let nature’s crescendo lead the way.

Image of a “New Dawn’ Rose by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, 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.  And you can also find us back on our Google+ Business Page. (Landscape architects/Landscape Design/serving Massachusetts and New England.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Winter Plantings



Ralph Waldo Emerson starts off this Monday, gentling reminding us with his words that “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” And while many gardeners wait patiently for spring’s signs of life and the planting season for their own gardens, below is an opportunity to plant seeds in the community, especially those that lack gardens or green spaces.

Grant Program Helps Communities Create More Local Greenscapes

“The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is helping improve more communities with the availability of its GRO1000 Grassroots Grant awards. As part of the GRO1000 program, a commitment to build 1,000 community gardens and green spaces by 2018, Grassroots Grants will be awarded to organizations across the U.S. to help create greenscapes in local neighborhoods and communities. GRO1000 Grassroots Grant applications for 2012 are available online at: thescottsmiraclegrocompany.com/corporateresponsibility/community/gro1000. Deadline for application submission is February 24, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Grants, which range from $500 to $1,500, are awarded based on community need, scope of project and long-term sustainability of the project.”

That’s a lot to absorb on this last Monday in January but gardens start first by planting a thought. Winter finds many of us lacking energy and spirit for the earth that seems all too frozen and barren of plants but this Indian saying may inspire one gardener to “Plant a thought, harvest an act, plant an act, harvest a habit, plant a habit, harvest a character, plant a character, harvest a destiny.” What are you waiting for? February is almost here; so is this grant deadline. This winter season sure is a great time for this type of planting! And if you live in a community that has plenty of green space or a community garden, then please share with someone who resides in a city or town that could prosper from this grant. Happy winter plantings!

Image of a January day in nature by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, remember to post your comments, questions, even your garden photos. You can like our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow 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. Contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Feet



For those of us who prefer our feet plunked in the soil, staying grounded during the winter season can be quite a challenge. So how do you keep those garden feet happy? One of the most clever ways to keep some spry in your garden step is to travel. Whether it’s near or far, discovering a botanical wonderland can be just the ticket. This weekend is a perfect time to scout out garden lectures or events that are occurring nearby or scour the Sunday travel section for a botanical getaway.

Do you know about a garden event or lecture taking place? Are you planning to travel or have traveled to a fantastic winter garden oasis? Be sure to post it and share your favorite.

And while you dig for that botanical treasure, take heed to the old Irish Proverb. “Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.” But to keep them happy during these winter months, plan a garden getaway, even if it’s in the next town over.

If you like this blog, remember to post your comments, questions, even your garden photos. You can like our fan page at http://www.facebook.com/abilowz or follow 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. Contact me direct at annbilowz@gmail.com Happy Gardening. Annie

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flower or Flowerless


Is your desk cluttered with papers despite the illusion that our lives should be paperless? Well, lucky you if you keep a neat desk. Okay, so where’s the Annie tie-in to flower or flowerless? In the mist of all that workspace chaos, it’s important to have that slender rose (no fake, plastic stuff) or a live potted plant to nurture during the workday.

The Thursday morning question is - do you keep a vase full of flowers or a live plant growing in your workspace? I digress to a rerun from last year’s archives http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2011/03/wallflowers.html about office cubicles getting smaller. If you’ve been unlucky on that side of the coin and your cubby shrunk, bringing the plant world indoors to that tiny spot where we spend a good portion of our lives is just as important as finding solace in a garden space outside of work.

Again, the Thursday morning question is - do you keep a live plant or a vase of fresh flowers in your workspace? If not, it might be a good lunch break task. With that closing thought, I think it’s safe to segue into a simply brilliant quote by George S. Kaufman. “Office hours are from 12 to 1 with an hour off for lunch.” It’s almost Friday, isn’t it?

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, January 25, 2012

Today’s Pace


On this wordless Wednesday, use these contemplative words from Emerson to curb our urgency for spring. “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”



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, January 24, 2012

Winter Warmth




With seasonable temperatures melting what little snow cover we garnered thus far in the East, one might be tempted to pack away the winter garb and consider this blustery season a ‘done deal’. You might even think certain woody plant material or perennials might overwinter that you thought weren’t possible before. Alert to all hort dorks. You may be particularly interested in an online USDA news conference tomorrow, January 25, 2012, 10:45 a.m. EST where the unveiling of the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map will take place. According to a USDA news release, "The map is an important tool for the country's estimated 80 million gardeners and those who grow and breed plants for them."

So keep your eyes peeled for these new zone changes as this certainly alters a plant’s marketing. One thing to pay attention to when chatting about the hardiness zone map; it does not take into account the heat index. The Plant Hardiness Zone map is all about cold but nothing about fluctuating and sometimes extreme differences in summertime temperatures. For example, coastal environments are moderated by the ocean i.e., less extreme high temperatures whereas inland locations are exposed to more abrupt heat spikes. Without getting into the many layers to the heated side of this conversation and how you should approach a planting, always take into account any specific microclimates for that site location despite a plant’s zone hardiness. Yes, it’s been talked about here before so feel free to check ‘Search this Blog’ button – type in ‘microclimates’ and do a quick review.

So while we may want to play it safe with what zone works best for our plantings, get out of your winter comfort zone today and enjoy the ‘January thaw’ temperatures. As Brian Tracy concluded, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Which reminds me; don’t forget to revisit or check out yesterday’s post. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2012/01/todays-dazzle.html Be one of five folks to win a copy of ‘A Gardener’s Guide to Blueberries’. Follow the easy guidelines. So far, no one has cinched a copy. What are you waiting for - the spring planting season is how many days away?   

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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today’s Dazzle



Where do you weigh in on the winter acceptance scale? Do you view this season as a restful gift for the gardener or do you see just drizzle and drab? Well, if you want to see today’s dazzle, then be part of a Monday giveaway. That is if you are interested in blueberries!


If you were paying attention to the January 13th post, http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2012/01/more-dazzle-in-berry.html I mentioned a new line of berries coming down the pike called Brazelberries. Thanks to Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, 5 copies of ‘A Gardener’s Guide to Blueberries’, a compilation of “three decades of field-tested wisdom gleaned from the Brazelton family” were sent to me to give to you.


So if you need some dazzle to add to your winter day and could use some trusted tips on growing blueberries, here’s how to win one of the five copies. Become a fan on our Facebook page (if you aren’t already) and post if you are a blueberry fan and why. You also should note if you currently grow blueberries or plan to grow blueberries. I should also mention there are a few good recipes in this guide. And don’t let the size fool you. This booklet is small but has lots of dazzle in it. Don’t forget to send off-line annbilowz@gmail.com your mailing address to receive your free copy and become an expert on blueberries.

To see where you might weigh in on that winter acceptance scale, noodle this Irish proverb around your noggin this Monday morning. “What will come from the briar but the berry.” Another good thing about blueberries – no briars!

P.S. I will give one copy of the booklet to the first blog follower, too because I know there are those who refuse to do Facebook.

Blueberry 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, January 20, 2012

And the Eyes Have It


Mark Twain delightfully pointed out that “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Advice for this Friday: get that camera in focus and imagine. Take advantage of this winter wonderland; capture your garden’s beauty through the eyes of the camera. Don’t pass up the opportunity to snap a few shots. During this season, the eyes have it! 
P.S. If you think it’s been a bit slow in the ‘Annie’s Gardening Corner’ newsroom, don’t hold back. Post your related questions, thoughts, comments…I’m all ears, too!  
Winter 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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When Winter Makes You Bananas…



The Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky pointed out that “Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.” Would Dostoevsky agree that we are missing out on our winter bliss should we countdown to spring?

Yesterday, one reader posted that spring was officially 63 days away. Thanks for the update, Robin. These little tidbits help those who prefer June over January to muster up our spirits and hurdle ourselves over the winter doldrums. With the up-to-date weather predictions, spring may feel further away than 62 days.

But if the countdown isn’t quite enough to help you beat the doldrums, here’s a ‘quick as a pinch’ recipe from the archives http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/10/early-morning-coffee-companion.html that will help get you through the worst of winter. Well, it does require a bit of cooking time but it really is easy. How do I know? My rule of thumb is if I can make it or bake it; that qualifies as ‘EASY’. And if you can’t spell easy in the kitchen, you can get out your Bananagrams® and start spelling ‘SPRING’!

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January’s Joy

On this wordless Wednesday, a well-known twentieth century philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre suggested that "To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June."

Two-for-one special – consider doing both. If you do venture outside for a walk today, hold onto your hat!

"Little January
Tapped at my door today.
And said, "Put on your winter wraps,
And come outdoors to play."
Little January
Is always full of fun;
Until the set of sun.
Little January
Will stay a month with me
And we will have such jolly times -
Just come along and see."
-  Winifred C. Marshall, January

Just think; two weeks from this Wednesday will be February 1st!

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, January 17, 2012

The Winter Pause Button


A white blanket falls upon the frozen ground; a gift from the winter skies for our hibernating gardens. Can we call January, that bone chilling month, a perfect moment in the landscape? If we hit the pause button, nothing else in the garden matters other than its raw beauty. As Albert Einstein’s words remind us, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” If you want to be awake in the spring, hit the winter pause button and enjoy the scenery! 

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, January 16, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons…


Make Egg Lemon soup. It’s winter so what better recipe to dabble with than an easy soup. This one, healthy and full of flavor can be whipped up in less than ten. Are you still with me? Good. While many soups require a slow simmer, this quick Egg Lemon soup recipe requires just a few simple ingredients including fresh veggies and herbs. You can use your imagination to create a flavor you like but keep it under ten. You’ll never want to open up a can of sodium-filled soup ever again.

Recipe proportions are for two large meal-size bowls of soup. (See bowl in photo.)

To start:

Boil four cups of water in a quart-size pan. Add one teaspoon of my favorite - Minors Chicken Base. Whatever you use to create your stock, make sure it is full of chicken or vegetable flavor and lower on the sodium. Bouillons are just tiny salt cubes with a hint of chicken flavor so avoid these if you can. If you make your own stock, that by far, is the healthiest. But back to the soup!

When bringing to a boil, you can add four or five fresh mushrooms, sliced and tossed into the water. Add in a ¼ cup of Chili Mac pasta (great for soups) or you can break up a handful of spaghetti in inch size pieces. If you want to add any other veggies (i.e., fennel, celery – which require a bit of cooking, chop and dice small and add while the base and the pasta cook together. The pasta absorbs the flavors so you really won’t need to add any extra salt. A dash of fresh ground pepper perhaps but that’s it.

While this concoction is cooking, wash fresh arugula, baby spinach, you could even use a salad mix. Place the greens in two large bowls. You can also add fresh dill, parsley, basil, cilantro finely chopped and added to the greens – whatever herb flavors you like. I wouldn’t recommend all those herbs together but you’re the chef. Once the soup base has cooked for approximately 5 minutes (pasta should be al dente) squeeze one half of a fresh lemon into the soup. Stir and add one beaten egg into the soup, letting the egg coagulate on the top. Pour over the fresh greens and herbs and let sit for one minute. An olive tapenade on a crusty French bread goes nicely with this cozy meal. Simple and easy but most important – it’s warm and made with tons of fresh veggies. Perfect for a cold winter day!

So when life gives you lemons, make egg lemon soup. And with so many funny versions of the cliché ‘when life gives you lemons’, I opted to go with a more serious Winston Churchill quote to end today’s holiday post. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Hope your week brings you plenty of lemonade, egg lemon soup or opportunity; it all depends on how you look at those lemons!

Image of eggs and lemon waiting to be whipped into Egg Lemon Soup 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, January 13, 2012

More Dazzle in the Berry

On this Friday the 13th, (just in case you’re superstitious) is it kosher to start talking about what’s coming down the pike in the plant world? Oh, did I mention that it’s not available until 2013? We’ve barely started this year so why jump that far ahead? Well, it just so happens there’s been some dazzle written lately about a new collection of raspberry and blueberry ornamentals that claim ‘to change the way the plant world will think about berry bushes.’ The zone/hardiness of this collection according to Fall Creek's website should stand the test of our New England winters depending on your NE location. Here’s what the trusted folks from Ball Publishing are saying about this collection.

 “Last September Green Profit ran a story on the new line of ornamental shrubs from Fall Creek Nursery called BrazelBerries. It’s a collection of compact, patio container-appropriate bushes that just happen to produce some outstanding fruit. We had a first look at them at MANTS. This one is Peach Sorbet—a lovely ornamental in its own right ...but it also produces a load of tasty blueberries.
Also in the collection is thornless dwarf (2-3 ft.) Raspberry Shortcake and a super-compact (1-2 ft.) blueberry called Jelly Bean. Fall Creek’s message to retailers for when these varieties will be available in 2013 is this: DO NOT stick these in the back with the typical berry bushes! These are truly ornamentals that just happen to have the added perk of bearing fruit. More varieties are coming down the pike. Stay tuned.” 

On that stay tuned note and considering it is Friday the 13th, we’ll end today’s post with some classic words by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock. “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” Translation - don't over think those superstitious thoughts but what's the harm in anticipating this new berry collection bang before it hits the garden centers in 2013.

Image and additional information from Fall Creek website http://www.brazelberries.com/fall-creek/

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, January 12, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

The red morning skies from yesterday’s post definitely change in today’s picture! For those who may grumble about winter’s changing weather patterns, we need the wise words of Confucius to remind us that “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Send me your winter garden shots or thoughts! The usual ways are listed below. And be safe. Rather than hurry, this weather is your opportunity to notice winter’s beauty. Or be like a Border collie and play!
Images 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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Amazing View


The importance of stepping out into the winter landscape on this wordless Wednesday resonates with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s simple quote. “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” Even if these early eastern morning red skies mean that tomorrow may not be so pretty, what a treat to capture its color, interest and character. Thank goodness the expert cameraman was available to snap these images.

Images 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, January 10, 2012

Carved in Stone



The purpose of design is fairly straightforward – once it is carved in stone, it’s pretty darn hard to erase it. Design allows the freedom to vision on paper what you imagine it to be or what it can look like before it is etched into permanency. As Primo Levi, the Italian author pointed out, “Human memory is a marvelous but fallacious instrument. The memories which lie within us are not carved in stone; not only do they tend to become erased as the years go by, but often they change, or even increase by incorporating extraneous features.” So don’t forget last week’s post about starting simple with the basics. Create that collage before you think design http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2012/01/collage-to-live-by.html and if what you always thought you wanted somehow changes, design is the handy dandy tool to use before you etch it in stone.


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, January 9, 2012

Winter Waiting

The British Philosopher, Bertrand Russell once said, “The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” Sorry to say it’s a Monday morning reality check. This freeze-thaw cycle can be a bit harsh on the spirit, especially those of us that brave out the weather roller coaster in New England. During the winter months, tantalizing spring temperatures often appear and disappear but our wits remain sharp enough to realize that, like it or not, we’re still knee-deep in this season of waiting.
.
The magical part about winter - we can afford to catch up on that cumbersome list we didn’t have time to undertake during the busy growing season. Our weary gardening bodies crave this downtime to learn, discover, read, and plan. Don’t trade in that sense of winter tranquility with the first warm temperature that flashes by you. Steady on the spring fever. Learn, discover, read, and plan. Winter waiting grows those gardening wits sharper.  
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, January 6, 2012

Planting is for the Birds


As the ground freezes up and our gardens become barren, looking for pleasurable winter hobbies can be outright challenging. An all-year round pastime and one particularly gratifying in the winter is watching birds fly in and out of the natural habitats created in your landscape.  Planting is for the birds if you like to be part of their scene. Although feeders and the like can encourage habitats, planting is one of the best ways to attract birds to your property. What, where and how you plant should be part of your overall theme if you want to be on the top ten bird resorts. This includes using native species as well as creating nesting havens with certain types of evergreens. Need help figuring out the birds? Visit a nearby wildlife sanctuary, a park or your favorite walking trail to spot and watch the bird activity. You can learn from what the birds flock to naturally to mimic it in your own landscape.

The best advice - take heed to the words of Roger Tory Peterson. “Birds have wings; they're free; they can fly where they want when they want. They have the kind of mobility many people envy.” So don’t just plant; plant for the birds. Create a natural habitat in your landscape and enjoy a calming pastime – bird watching. Your appreciation of the winter garden is bound to grow when you gaze at all the buzz and activity if you just plant for the birds.

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

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Collage to Live By


Want a fun, creative January task that requires kicking back with some magazines and a glue stick? Let’s make a dream collage of your outdoor space. As Bo Bennett puts it simply, “A dream collage is pictures of your goals. It is like your future photo album.”

Are you game? Besides the glue stick and those glossy images, all you’ll need is a large poster board and scissors. The rest is imagination and creativity. Now we don’t want to create nightmares so let’s keep within reality.

For an outdoor living space, think of it the same as you would decorating an interior room. This collage helps with color, texture, materials, furnishings and accent pieces. Once a vision is compiled, there is still a mathematical equation and it’s not just budgetary. You have to design the space. In many cases it requires measurements, grading and accounting for site-specific conditions. You can quickly determine if you have a do-it-yourself project in part or in whole or if consulting with a professional brings your vision to fruition.

So if you picture a beautiful outdoor living space, create your future photo album first. Start with a dream collage to solidify your outdoor goals. And remember, January is a great month to plan!

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

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reflection



The first wordless Wednesday image of 2012 mirrors best what this month of January symbolizes in our gardens and our lives – reflection. I chose a Ruth Stout quote to accompany today’s photo. “There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” Enjoy a reflective Wednesday despite the chilly air. Discover the beautiful moments in nature like these waiting for you to savor. P.S. That is a pond frozen over; not an asphalt road. It's January.

Image by Ann Bilowz

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Time To Be Rearranging



With a winter chill in the air, it’s a perfect time to think ‘rearranging’. However, Richard Price’s words remind me on this first 2012 posting that “Writers spend three years rearranging 26 letters of the alphabet. It's enough to make you lose your mind day by day.” So rather than rearrange too many words today, here’s a simple tip about getting yourself in order for the upcoming planting season. Rearrange your seed drawer! Seeds kicking around the shed or basement, although dear to us, may not be good for another season. It’s like those cans that spin around in the lazy Susan way past its expiration date.

So while the colorful seed catalogs start to fill our garden in-box, allow the deep chilling days of January to fall under the word, ‘assessment’. First priority – rearrange that seed drawer. Whether you want to hold onto those packets for another year is entirely up to you but if you want a high yield rate, it’s best to start fresh. So thin out the herd a bit. There are nifty charts or expiration dates on the packet that spell out the ‘sell by date’ but if you want each seed to come through for you, start the New Year with a clean slate.

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

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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.)