BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
Our company blog, Annie's Gardening Corner, takes a sneak peek at how we balance our own love for everything green + a place to find inspiration, garden ideas and landscape design tips.

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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Jam Isn’t in the Street



With summer just around the corner, traffic jams may be plentiful when it comes to finding your way to the beach. But today’s blog jam isn’t in the street! Terri Guillemets reminds us that “Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.” That’s giving this fruit quite the headline. And if you haven’t noticed, it’s strawberry prime time.

Are you sticking to the usual garden plantings - tomatoes and cukes? Maybe you think that sweet, tasty strawberries only grow in rows and rows of great soil. Well, think again. These strawberry plants got tossed in between the cracks of our stone landing and the terrace and still, perfectly shaped fruit is popping through. Thinning and weeding out our large strawberry patch last fall meant many plants took to the wayside. Still, a number of them are sprouting in the strangest of places. It may not be enough to produce a jam or jelly but there’s nothing like the taste of a fresh strawberry.

So if you decided that growing strawberries aren’t worth your trouble, think again. Strawberries are simple to produce, even in tiny clay strawberry pots. If you’re still not convinced, at least schedule a trip to one of the local strawberry u-pick it farms in your neighborhood.

Remember, as the season turns from spring to summer, the jam isn’t in the street. It’s in your garden or local farm stand. Don’t miss this week’s headliner - strawberry production time. Peak season for the delectable and sweet!

P.S. Share your favorite strawberry recipes. Even great in smoothie drinks!

Image of strawberries growing in between the cracks of our stone landing and terrace by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Unexpected Garden Blooms



The musician, Lauryn Hill points out, “We can't plan life. All we can do is be available for it.” A garden “rule of thumb”: it’s never part of the overall plan! On this wordless Wednesday, remember to take in the unexpected garden blooms.


Top image by Ann Bilowz: An early blooming Rose in the garden (All the Roses are blooming ahead of schedule)
Bottom image by Ann Bilowz: Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove) - A self-seeded volunteer nestled on the edge of the property line.

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday’s Bloom



The French playwright, Jean Anouilh pointed out the obvious. “Things are beautiful if you love them.” And if you love Peonies, the time to view its beautiful blossom is now. However, transplanting or planting Peony root stock should always be done in the fall. Trust me. I tried an early transplant this spring, knowingly breaking the rules. Well, it isn’t pretty watching it struggle in its new spot.

Some plants are crankier than others about an ideal moving date and Peonies fit that category. If you want these long-lived herbaceous perennials to thrive, it also requires a waiting period. To help the plant establish its crown, you should remove the flower buds for the first two to three years of growth. That’s a tough one, especially for those of us that expect and want those big Peony blossoms immediately. The depth of the planting is also critical. Simply put - follow the Peony rules for beautiful bloom.

With so many choices to be had, including self-supporting intermediate varieties (a cross between tree and garden peonies) or the dwarf and Alpines (miniature versions of the standards), it’s hard to contain yourself from a Peony collection.  Just follow the Peony rules to produce beautiful bloom!  

Image of the first Peony blossom in the garden by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Gold Stars of Spring



Plato, a student of Socrates once quoted, “All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.”

This Memorial Day weekend
Remember…
Don’t forget.
Memorial Day is to celebrate and honor
The gold stars of spring.

To all the Gold Star Families, may spring blossoms bring a bit of comfort, strength and hope. To everyone else, safe travels during your holiday weekend.

Image of Lupines and Daisies in the garden by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rise and Shine…



…it’s photo shoot time.


Let’s hope the sun cooperates today. Time to capture the balance and harmony of the landscape!

P.S. Can’t start the day without wishing a Happy Birthday to our sweet Border collie, Ben. He is seven BC years today!


Top image of Cokie and middle image of Ben by Ann Bilowz
Bottom image of Ben as a pup by Ben’s Breeder

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Blossoms in the Woods



On this wordless Wednesday, an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s poem, Snow Geese - “I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us... What matters is that, when I saw them, I saw them as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.” Oliver’s words are all that is necessary to accompany what blossoms now in the spring woods.


Top Image of Kalmia Latifolia (Mountain Laurel) by Ann Bilowz
Bottom Image of Lady’s Slipper orchids by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Trouble-free



Lou Holtz, the well-known feisty football coach points out, “Never tell your problems to anyone...20% don't care and the other 80% are glad you have them.” This may be applicable to some areas in life but fortunately, in this world of growing, gardening and designing, it’s usually the total reverse. Whether it’s a few, simple container plantings or large, expansive gardens and terraces, the goal of these blog postings each day is for all to create an enjoyable, trouble-free exterior space.

One thing to stay on top of, specifically with this week’s lingering moisture and rain is your softscape materials (any tree, woody shrub or other newly acquired plant materials) for disease and pest related issues. Most folks want to practice organic measures and a useful tip was shared a couple of weeks ago that you don’t want to overlook when it comes to underground pests. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2012/05/annies-thursday-garden-notes.html
Adding a plant like Bergamot serves as a simple measure when deterring pests. Another basic garden rule is to never compost any diseased plant material when you discover it.  One additional reminder - stay on top of deadheading. This keeps all your plants looking fresh, healthy and clean.

So is your outdoor space trouble-free? Aim for that 100% so you can grab your garden hat and enjoy your outdoor living space just like my two favorite characters, Ben and Cokie.

Images of Ben and Cokie (the poser Border Collies) by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pushing Up the Season



In the old days, finding the best of the best hanging planters, annuals and starter veggies typically took place on Memorial Day weekend. But all has been changing as the garden world is getting product placed on the shelves earlier each season.  The big difference: we forget we are dealing with living plant material growing comfortably in a controlled environment (greenhouse or cold frames.) We nonchalantly think that a few, chilly evening temperatures won’t harm these tender, more delicate plant materials. You may get a pass this season if you planted your veggies and your annuals in early May although just last week there were some areas in our region that experienced frost pockets, not hot pockets.

With funky weather patterns this year (isn’t every year funky weather in New England?) the growing season ahead is still to be determined. Let’s switch to woody plant materials; one in particular, Hydrangeas. The warm temps we experienced in February caused Hydrangeas to flush out prematurely but of course, after that early flush, a stretch of cold weather followed its heels. You tend to forget the daily weather cycles until you’re standing in the garden, scratching your head wondering why all your Hydrangeas look like goners. Then there are the fruit trees and that’s a whole other ball of wax that can melt down either way depending on what summer weather and Mother Nature dishes out to us.

Weather is either friend or foe to those who garden and most is out of our control. For what remains in your control, you can take some extra precautions but here’s the true garden dilemma. If you’re waiting for your annual holiday garden spree this coming weekend, you might be disappointed when all those colorful pots, hard-to-find veggies and planters are suddenly picked. As Paulo Coelho reminds us, “Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering.” So don’t wait. Don’t forget. Memorial Day is fast approaching. No more procrastinating. It’s time to plant your garden!

Image of Ben taking inventory of the Brandywine tomatoes – Photo by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Friday, May 18, 2012

Busy as a Bee



Kim Hubbard once said, “A bee is never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower.” With so much garden buzz and no time to slow down, let's dig from the archives for a perfect salad recipe. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/05/cool-recipes-for-heat.html  Get ready for the warmth and soon-to-be summer heat. Just buzz a little slower to enjoy these blossoms that unfold each day during this magnificent spring and prepare for the official outside festivities to begin!

Image of the Rosa rugosa 'Sir Thomas Lipton' – first spring blossom by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Serving up Expression



With Memorial weekend just days away, seizing the opportunity of this spring/summer shoulder season to flaunt color in our exterior spaces adds such great fun to the garden experience. Today, let’s go beyond the color arrangement with your plant materials. This is your chance to tie all your outside elements together, from the flecks of color in your terrace to your patio furniture and urns. Throw in these little extras and any lack of color in your plantings won’t be noticeable to your guests. Henri Matisse, the French painter, known for his use of colors pointed out, “the chief function of color should be to serve expression.” So what colors are on your Memorial Day menu? This is the time of year to pull out all the stops for outside entertaining. Add a few extra accessories or gadgets with bright, bold colors that serve expression and your guests will be sure to remember. It’s your outdoor canvas so have fun!  


P.S. See how yesterday’s Flame Azalea image compliment these colorful plates! Just in case you missed yesterday's post. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2012/05/whats-in-bloom-wordless-wednesday.html

Images by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

‘What’s In Bloom’ Wordless Wednesday



Despite the endless rain showers, the blossoms of this R. calendulaceum, Flame Azalea extol warmth and beauty. And as Gerald De Nerval reminds us, "Each flower is a soul opening out to nature." 


P.S. If you’re a pinner, check out the new board http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ ‘What’s in Bloom’. Send your comments and questions or I might have to go wordless more than just Wednesday!

Images of R. calendulaceum, Flame Azalea in our garden by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Create a Garden if You Don’t …

…take in the spring blossoms. Spring is such a lovely season especially when so much transformation occurs in a short span of time. The unfortunate thing – if your eyes are closed to it all. Yep, you bet. You just missed it. So in all the spring excitement, let’s revert back to last Tuesday’s post, http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2012/05/time-for-flower-break.html where I shared my love for a spectacular Yak Rhododendron variety called ‘Mardi Gras.’ One of the dynamite features mentioned about this shrub was its “bright pink flowers that fade to white; perfect as a blossom-filler for early to mid-May.” So if you’re catching moments of the spring garden on the run, here’s hoping this transforming blossom of ‘Mardi Gras’ gives you reason to say,  “Tuesday mornings in spring…a perfect reason for a flower break.”

While it’s time to call this post a wrap, let’s hope Mary Anne Radmacher’s quote resonates with today’s message. “Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.”  So if not today, make time tomorrow for spring’s transformation. Otherwise, why create a garden if you don’t make time for a flower break?

Don’t forget to check out the Pinterest page http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ where a new board, ‘What’s in Bloom’ has been added for spring moments exactly like this.

Top Image of ‘Mardi Gras’ transforming in the spring garden by Ann Bilowz
Compare to the below photo in last week’s blog when the blossom was just starting to pop! Image taken by Greg Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pure and Simple



When spring days get a bit warmer like this past weekend, we may seek refuge in the shade. So if you’re developing a woodland garden or a shaded border, here is a perennial favorite with a heart-shaped white flower, so pure and simple it becomes a ‘must-have’ for the garden enthusiast. Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba' is a white-colored form of the common rose-colored bleeding heart. Perfect as a springtime accompaniment for Hostas and Ferns (there are many other woodland combinations that work nicely) this mid-height perennial goes dormant in the heat of the summer. This is one of those ‘plan ahead’ situations in your planting scheme by compensating with other woodland perennials or groundcover that can move in and fill the missing gap. If the summer season stays mild and moist, you may see this perennial hang in there a bit longer. Bleeding hearts do not like their feet drenched and soaking, just moist, humusy soils that keep this herbaceous perennial hydrated. Another wide-range Zone plant (3-9), Bleeding hearts can find a home in many places. This Buddha quote seems to end this Monday post perfectly with today’s flower pick -Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba'. “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
Image of Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba' by Ann Bilowz


If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Friday, May 11, 2012

‘Lipstick’ for Mom



Looking for a last minute gift idea for Mom? With loads of choices, why not shoot for something bold and colorful? I’m not talking lipstick in a tube. I’m talking plants of course. This groundcover’s bold magenta color can make any border, container planting or rock garden dazzle. Fragaria x 'Lipstick', an original descendant of our edible strawberry plants and a hybrid of Fragaria chiloensis has so many great features, take a peek below and decide yourself.

* ‘Lipstick’ is a great companion plant to grow under the canopy of flowering trees. It’s always a plus to find a plant that can handle root competition.  
* A fast-spreading groundcover, it’s perfect for tough areas i.e., slopes that require erosion control.
* This perennial is not too fussy when it comes to its soil. Plus it handles those full sun or light shade areas. And did I mention it’s a Zone 2-8 perennial; good for any hard-to-grow cold spots.
* And I can’t forget its green foliage, making it a great add-in to your Memorial Day container plantings.

Still thinking cosmetics for Mother’s Day? Well, think again. If Mom doesn’t already have this easy to grow groundcover in her garden, its dainty, colorful flowers should finally convince you that this is a dynamite plant. And of course, a woman should always have lipstick to brighten up any day.  As Roberta Gately reminds us, “‎Lipstick is really magical. It holds more than a waxy bit of color - it holds the promise of a brilliant smile, a brilliant day, both literally and figuratively.” To all the Moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy. And don’t forget to splurge and get Mom (or yourself) some ‘Lipstick’.



Images of Fragaria x 'Lipstick' in our garden weaved in with other groundcovers by Ann Bilowz


If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Annie's Thursday Garden Notes



Looking for another purple flowering fragrant herb for your garden? The Herb Society of America (HSA) has announced the Notable Native Herb of 2013 as Monarda fistulosa. Bergamot, also known as Bee Balm or Horse Mint is an aromatic herb. According to Katrinka Morgan, executive director of HSA, this herb met the criteria for the Notable Native award with its “usefulness, including its value for culinary, medicinal, ornamental, economic, industrial, or cosmetic purposes. It also performs well in most gardens throughout the US.”  This herb likes its soil moist but well-drained to prevent mildew. Give it full sun for optimal flower power but it can tolerate light shade. Plus it has quite the range (Zone 4-10).  

Here are some of the reasons why this herb is gaining in popularity and warrants its new title.

Medicinal uses: “Strong antiseptic properties with treating wounds, this herb has high levels of thymol, an antiseptic found in many brand name mouthwashes, making it a natural remedy for mouth and throat infections caused by gingivitis.”

Culinary Uses: A substitute for oregano making it a great minty option. (You know how much I love and use my spearmint.) Its leaves and stalks are edible, making it useable for loads of recipes plus as a flavorful tea.

Garden Uses:  “Bee balm attracts helpful pollinators while at the same time, the thymol works to keep underground pests away.” (A useful organic pest management tip for keeping out those unwanted garden guests.) But the definite 'must try' reason for this herb calls out to every tomato grower. Per the Growers Exchange, this herb is “especially great for planting near tomato plants. Bergamot actually improves the health and taste of their fruits.” This is a must try because we all know how vital it is to keep the health and taste of our tomatoes at its highest level.

So there you have it - the Thursday garden note, worthy of sharing on yet another drizzly morning. Let’s hope we see a break in this weather soon. But before launching off for the day, this Chinese Proverb seems fitting before we call it an herbal wrap. "Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them." Can’t you smell this minty herb’s fragrance as you plant it in the garden? It’s time to get that jumpstart on this Notable Native Herb of 2013 and bask in its many beneficial uses.

Image of Monarda fistulosa and text references from the Growers-Exchange.com


If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Gift of Time



Robert W. Merriweather’s poignant words set the stage for Wordless Wednesday. "Time... the most precious gift one can give.  Each moment is unique because it will never happen again... the gift of your time spent with others is the ultimate display of unconditional love." Time - the perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Make this special Sunday more beautiful by including flowers. Visit a nearby botanical garden, which is always a treat for the garden lover crew!

Image at the Golden Gate Park/Conservatory of Flowers taken by Greg Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Time for a Flower Break



Sigmund Freud starts off this drizzly Tuesday morning blog with his revealing statement of why we surround ourselves with beautiful spring blossoms. "Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts." That's a flowerful! So what to plant for restful spring days?

Here's an 'Annie' suggestion. Surround yourself with a compact, nicely formed Yak Rhododendron that knows how to dress for the occasion. With a name like ‘Mardi Gras', it must be a show-off shrub with some dynamite features. Think of Peppermint stick candy and you’ll get the drift of its flower power. This Yak Rhododendron has bright pink flowers that fade to white; perfect as a blossom-filler for early to mid-May. Its large, dark velvety green leaves sport a fuzzy cinnamon-colored underside called the indumentum. Consider this a slow-growing, compact shrub. Not one of those monster-size Rhododendrons, this Yak takes its time. Something we should all consider when trying to finding restful moments on a drizzly Tuesday morning. And if you can’t find the ‘Mardi Gras’, at least make time for a flower break.

Image of a Rhododendron 'Mardi Gras' by Greg Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Leaves Have It


Picking your plants for form and texture is an important part of your perennial garden. So on this Monday morning, it’s images and shapes to give you an idea of why I’m saying the ‘Leaves Have it.’


This image of a Hosta ‘Paul's Glory’, voted Hosta of the Year in 1999 is in its early season leaf flush.  This hardy perennial is easy to grow and has a long seasonal display with the best part surprising you later in the season; its variegated leaves.


Lupines have an extremely distinctive leaf. This form is what you’ll see before it sends up its tall spikes, giving you a beauty of a blossom.


Now you can see why we love Epimediums. The foliage is its most astounding feature! Hope some of you made it to the Garden Vision Nursery Open House. There’s still next weekend.


When we think Siberian Iris, striking purple flowers unfurling in the garden may be what first comes to mind. A bit of an old-fashion perennial, we shouldn’t overlook this ‘blade of grass’ texture in our borders. It gives impressive vertical accent!

Let’s end the post with an Albert Schweitzer quote. “Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.” That’s the simple outcome for this beautiful sunny Monday morning – the leaves have it!

All images by Greg Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Garden Vision



Everyone knows we are big Epimedium fans and for any garden lover within a stone’s throw (how far is that actually?) from Phillipston, Massachusetts, don’t miss out on Garden Vision Epimediums Open Nursery weekend. It starts today, running Friday-Sunday, May 4-6 & 11-13 (10AM-4PM, rain or shine.) So if you plan on venturing out this afternoon, don’t let a few sprinkles prevent you from heading there. This is your opportunity to see the best Epimedium collection around. The nursery is located at 10 Templeton Road, Phillipston, MA. And if you can’t carve a time into your schedule, Garden Vision will have a smaller collection of Epimediums being sold at other events throughout New England, even Valley Forge, PA. I’ll list the additional events and directions for the Phillipston, MA nursery on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/abilowz. And if you haven’t already joined us there, hope you come on board; all you have to do is press the like button and leave your comments, too!

It’s time to wrap up this Friday post and end with a profound Helen Keller quote. “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”  Need some vision for your garden? Don’t overlook Epimediums as a plant choice and check out Garden Vision Nursery if you can!



Epimedium images in our Garden by Greg Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Time to Fert & Lime


Tinkerbelle Lilac, Syringa 'Bailbelle' image by Ann Bilowz (Not the average Lilac) 

While you tinker in your garden this coming weekend, don’t overlook this one simple step: fertilize and lime. It’s a no-brainer to keep your perennials and woody plant materials healthy. As the growing season kicks into gear, your plants, especially perennials, flush out and use a lot of energy in the process. It’s important to provide your plants additional nutrients during this growth push. With organic, slow-release fertilizers it takes time for these nutrients to become soluble and plant available. So giving a little magic to your perennials and woody plants now pays off during the rest of the growing season. The lime adjusts the pH. The pH of your soil determines what nutrients are available to your plants, keeping the soil balanced and in check.

With the wrap on the fert and lime, it’s time to segue into today’s quote, which fits nicely with the Tinkerbelle Lilac, Syringa 'Bailbelle' image (not the average Lilac). It’s a line straight from the movie, TinkerBell and the Lost Treasure. “The greatest treasures are not gold, nor jewels, nor works of art. They cannot be held in your hands; they’re held within your heart. For worldly things will fade away, as seasons come and go, but the treasure of true friendship will never lose its glow.” Enjoy this season of spring and keep your plants glowing during the growing season, leaving plenty of time to entertain and enjoy your true treasures – your family and friends.

Tinkerbelle Lilac, Syringa 'Bailbelle' image 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.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pinkshells for the Garden



Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s insight of her days at the sea naturally spill over into our own gardens.  “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.” So it is with the shells of our garden. Collect a few of these Pinkshells for more beauty, especially when the raindrops dance on its blossoms.

Rhododendron vaseyi (Pinkshell azalea) image by Ann Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Not Just for Meadows



If you love deep colors for a perennial border and want pretty eye candy for your cut flower displays, don’t overlook Lupines. You can try mixing the colors up a bit with the hybridized varieties, though it seems the native species, Lupinus perennis and its stunning blue flower spikes remain the frontrunner. Lupines do self-seed with deep taproots. In other words, this perennial knows how to make itself at home. If you give Lupines the right conditions, (sun and sandy soil) these tall, beautiful blossoms add a meadow-like feel even to a small border. Why shy away from wildflower mixes, specifically Lupines? They’re not just for meadows. And if that doesn’t convince you, maybe the words of words of Florence Nightingale might resonate.  “I attribute my success to this:  I never gave or took an excuse.” Looking for some dynamite spring color in your garden? Try Lupines – no excuses.

Image of Lupines in a meadow by Greg Bilowz

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. 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 P.S. You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

About Me

My photo

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/

© 2009

© 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.)