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

Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday’s Flower Choice

 

Yes, if you followed the posts this week, you may be thinking, 'another Rose today'. Although today’s image doesn’t truly show its stunning blossom, I was drawn to capture it today. Its blossom not quite fully opened, this Hybrid Tea Rose ‘Peace’ exudes history plus I love its name. We can’t overshadow what makes this Rose a keeper for the garden.

One may enjoy its fruity fragrance but for me, the beautiful sunset blossoms make this Rose, ‘Peace’ radiate throughout the garden parade. As Alexander Pope, the English Poet once penned, “Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, Lie in three words, - health, peace, and competence.” At least I can find one of three in the garden just by planting this Rose. 

P.S. When this Rose comes full circle, hints of coral and its soft pink edges really start to shine through.

Image by Ann Bilowz © Peace Hybrid Tea Rose

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another Rose Please

 

When a Rose receives the title – ‘Voted the world’s favorite Rose’, how could it be ‘just another Rose please’? But here we have it - the Graham Thomas ™ Rose. It holds the honor of being a world favorite and did I mention, it also won the James Mason Award. What more could you want from just another Rose? 

Compare yesterday’s Rose, Heritage ™ http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2013/05/heritage.html with today’s featured Rose, Graham Thomas ™. Both are +David Austin® Roses; simply divine. Although Graham Thomas as a climber can grow a tad taller (10-12ft.), the overall growth habits and hardiness conditions are otherwise fairly similar. The Graham Thomas™ has a tea rose fragrance and due to its rich color, it’s worthy of adding this stunning beauty to our test garden.

So why pick only one when you can have another? As Jean Paul Sartre, the French Philosopher pointed out, “We are our choices.” So for me, it’s another David Austin® Rose, please. If you can’t make a choice, then do what I did - pick both.

P.S. Drink lots of water and enjoy the next few days of summertime heat.

Image by Ann Bilowz © Graham Thomas™ (Ausmas) David Austin®

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/           

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Heritage

 

If one thing can make a soggy Wednesday simply beautiful what would it be? For me, it would be a Rose with a perfect formation, soft and delicate, maybe pink. And one cannot forget the fragrance. As +David Austin®, the breeder of this English Rose called Heritage ™ defines its fragrance - ‘with overtones of fruit, honey and carnation…’ Simply put, if there was a sniff test for this fragrant rose, it would send you into perfume heaven. 

But first, let’s look at its many other characteristics that might help you choose this Rose, as we did. Here are just a few that David Austin lists, making it a perfect choice for Rose lovers out there. Heritage ™ ‘combines the charming forms and fragrances of old Roses with the repeat flowering nature of modern Roses.’ It is ‘strong, bushy and hardy.’ And did I say, it is listed as one of those ‘almost thornless’ varieties, too. It can take up some real estate as it expands (5 ft. x 4 ft.) and as a climber it can grow up to 7 ft. If you’re wondering about its zone – it’s hardy from 5 to 9. What more could you want than this perfectly shaped double bloom that offers repeat flowering with fragrance to boot?

It’s time to wrap up this Wednesday Rose parade with an amazing quote by Yo-Yo Ma. “As you begin to realize that every different type of music, everybody's individual music, has its own rhythm, life, language and heritage, you realize how life changes and you learn how to be more open and adaptive to what is around us.”

As each growing season passes, the Rose choices, which are endless can be bold or like many from +David Austin® comparable to a work of art. Care to join me in making the Rose plunge? Heritage ™ is a new addition to this season’s test garden. Splashed around amongst the other Roses, this one could quickly become an all-time favorite.  

Image by Ann Bilowz © Heritage ™ (Ausblush) David Austin® Fragrant English Rose

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For the Love of Lupines

 

It’s a few words on this sunny Tuesday. Why? Well, it’s a short work week, which makes that daily rhythm in a bit of a funk. Plus, the Lupines are just so stunning; it’s that garden image beaming best on this beautiful morning. 

If you have a spot for Lupines, well, you decide for yourselves. Just look at how these purple beauties stand tall amongst the plant crowd. With that said, it’s time for the quote that ties in all this funky thought, which often times is the trickiest part of making everything fit. As Rick Warren reminds us, “Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.” So for the love of Lupines, make your garden stand out.


If you feel like this Bearded Iris, in a bit of a Tuesday slump, hoping this morning's sunshine plus spring flowers blooming everywhere can get you through this short work week.

All images by Ann Bilowz © 

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five for Friday

 
 
Need five reasons to love this deciduous shrub?

§  Its spring bell-shaped flowers of creamy yellow with delicate red to purple veins look beautiful in rain or sun.

§  It loves acidic, well-drained soil and partial shade but can handle full sun. Just one word of caution – it doesn’t like it dry.

§  Placing this shrub adjacent to evergreen foliage make its spectacular fall color of red, yellow and orange pop. And when I say spectacular fall color, I’m not overstating that characteristic one bit.

§  It doesn’t have many known pests or diseases. This is always a big plus in my book.

§  And it’s a great structure planting to enhance your property. This slow-grower can ultimately reach heights of 10’ depending on its location. In other words, it’s like the wee bear’s porridge, just right.

For those who don’t recognize this multi-faceted shrub, its name is Enkianthus campanulatus, Redvein Enkianthus. I wanted to give you five reasons to love it before I gave it away. Yes, it’s a quick five for Friday for those of you who might still be lingering around this holiday weekend. If you find the soil a tad soggy for loads of planting, why not shop around for some new additions. Maybe the Redvein Enkianthus can be put on your ‘must-have’ list to spice up your landscape menagerie.

It’s a wrap to another week but this one is a bit different. It’s the start of a busy holiday weekend so with that said, I choose this wonderful quote penned by Roman Payne. “It’s not that we have to quit this life one day, but it’s how many things we have to quit all at once: music, laughter, the physics of falling leaves, automobiles, holding hands, the scent of rain, the concept of subway trains... if only one could leave this life slowly!” How beautifully put. So whatever you do this weekend, be safe and try to linger; not rush. And if you can unplug, wherever you may be, always make room to plant!

To our fallen heroes, we honor you this weekend and thank you for your sacrifice and service.

Image by Ann Bilowz © Enkianthus campanulatus, Redvein Enkianthus 

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/           

Thursday, May 23, 2013

#Plant Strong

 

Does part of your Memorial Day weekend include a visit to a nearby garden center? If so, I'll take a guess. You might be over 40 and part of a dying breed. Do you experience the plant world firsthand? On a scale of 1 through 10, are you #Plant Strong?

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Ellen Wells, the editor at Large, Green Profit regarding Gen Y’s favorite stores with her thoughts summarizing some insightful research from the Urban Land Institute.

“Hold on to your seats for some shocking news: Despite their reputation, Gen Y consumers actually enjoy shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. That’s from research conducted by the Urban Land Institute. And some of their favorite stores are JCPenney, Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and Kmart.

A few more results of the 1,200 Gen Yers surveyed:

37% love to shop, 48% enjoy it, 12% find it a chore and 4% hate it
70% of women and 50% of men find shopping to be entertainment, expect novel options to keep it fresh, and say it’s an important way for them to spend time with friends and family
91% had made an online purchase within the previous six months
45% spend an hour a day looking at shopping websites

 
The Urban Land Institute recommends that retail centers constantly reinvent themselves to “keep it fresh” and present “novel options”—such as creating pop-up shops, changing d├ęcor, adding a variety of specialty foods, and increase the options for in-store pick up of online orders. Also important are pedestrian-friendly options, as many Gen Yers prefer to walk or bike to where they are going. The report also suggests that Gen Yers like “third places” where they can linger and meet friends, go online and network, places like Starbucks or juice bars at gyms, lobbies of office buildings. It even mentions gardens with seating!”

Just this past year, two of my favorite specialty nurseries, Seawright Gardens and Blanchette Gardens, both in Carlisle, MA and open to the general public threw in the trowel. Both decided it was time to retire. Their garden destinations were perfect for those who had an obsession for Daylilies, Hostas, Astilbes and so much more. While these retirements may have nothing to do with this constant ‘reinventing’ and ‘keeping it fresh’, who shall be next in line to fill these big plant shoes? Who can keep those rooted connections to the plant lover’s world? As you can see from the above research, while it is doable, it takes constant inspiration to connect those less tuned in to this tangible exterior world. The plant journey is ultimately leading someone to experience it in person.  

So to wrap up this Thursday thought process that weaves its way into today’s images, it’s a quote from C. JoyBell C. accompanied by this potted Amaryllis sprouting different blossoms in the same pot. “We fool ourselves and cheat ourselves when we say that all of us are the same. We should not want to be the same as others and we should not want others to be the same as us. Rather, we ought to glory and shine in all of our differences, flaunting them fabulously for all to see! It is never a conformity that we need! We need not to conform! What we need is to burst out into all these beautiful colors!”


Thursday's message - Reinvent, keep it fresh and just like Boston and Oklahoma, garden and nursery centers, be # plant strong.  For everyone else, have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. And if you can, make a visit to your local nursery and experience firsthand the great 'green' world of plants.

All images by Ann Bilowz ©

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Style on Wordless Wednesday

 

Rachel Zoe states that “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” So on this wordless Wednesday, it’s an array of purple images from the garden today. It’s the beauty of the sun starting to peek through this morning's clouds and dapple itself on everything purple from last night’s rain.


Remember your garden says as much about your style and who you are without the words. Purple – it’s one of my favorite colors since I was a kid. I love wearing it as much as I love purple popping up everywhere in the garden.

 
What’s your style? An image can say it all!
All images by Ann Bilowz ©  

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/           

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Set in Stone

 

The phrase ‘set in stone’ typically denotes a sense of permanency. As humans, we truly strive for something to last, to be durable and to keep us protected. When designing our homes and the exterior landscape elements, we search for materials with durability. We use good design sense and build it with solid craftsmanship in the hope that these structures can last throughout the years. It is often why we use stone in the landscape. Our trust in its solidness, even when encountering unpredictable elements, gives us a sense of longevity.

Take for example the above image I snapped yesterday. This stone gate depicts a simple craftsmanship and beauty of that era, which leads me to today's quote and thought. 

Many of us watched the news humbly yesterday. What flashed across our screens weren’t images of permanency. Rather what we witnessed was a ravaging tornado ripping across the state of Oklahoma, leaving little standing in its destructive path. 

It reminds us that our search for permanency in an impermanent world is often tested regardless of materials or best design practices. And as our prayers and thoughts extend to that side of our nation, Leo Buscaglia, the man who spoke about love and hugged everyone he met, wrote about our continual desire to seek something permanent. “We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom.” Let us hope that love can stand stronger than buildings as Oklahoma, its people, its community, stand strong and prevail. 

Stone gate image by Ann Bilowz ©  

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/           

Monday, May 20, 2013

Summer Prep

 

What signifies ‘SUMMER’ and everything synonymous with it even before that season actually arrives? You guessed it – Memorial Day weekend and yes, it’s just about here. So on this pre-holiday Monday, it’s a quick reminder. Try if you can to spend a part of the weekend in peace, rejuvenating rather than just filling up every holiday minute. As Holly Mosier reminds us “Our culture encourages us to plan every moment and fill our schedules with one activity and obligation after the next, with no time to just be. But the human body and mind require downtime to rejuvenate. I have found my greatest moments of joy and peace just sitting in silence, and then I take that joy and peace with me out into the world.”

But what about this oxymoron we call the ‘garden’? It’s that place of rejuvenation while at the same time it begs for us to tackle a mound of chores. If you’re really plugged in, there’s always something on the garden list to weed, treat or plant.  

So what’s on your summer prep garden list? Is planting over this long holiday weekend part of your plans? Well, a gentle reminder of timing it all correctly. This may help you balance the rejuvenate part of the weekend. 


All woody plant material (trees and shrubs) ideally should be in the ground before the mid-to latter part of June. This of course, depends on weather, which is always the tricky part of any planting but you have a little time to still get your woody plant material in the ground. Your grace period is during the month of June. Perennials can be done throughout the season but ideally before the scorching summer heat. Dividing and transplanting any woody plant material or perennials should also be done during the cooler overcast, damp days. With this damp, muggy up and down weather, though be careful of any diseases and pests that can set in. Speaking of diseases and those that love to plant annuals, we should all be aware of the Impatiens downy mildew (IDM) Some alternate shade plants recommended by UMass Extension - New Guinea impatiens, SunPatiens®, coleus, begonias (lots of types), torenia, lobelia, hypoestes and iresine. First spotted in Massachusetts in 2011, IDM has been a growing national problem and like any disease, can raise havoc in the landscape and gardens. Pay attention to alerts and always follow preventive measures, regardless if you are a hobbyist gardener or a nursery selling the material. 

And what else is synonymous with Memorial Day? It’s that neighborhood garden chatter; all that buzz about our love for fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. It’s time to bring warm weather veggies home from our local nursery to find new soil. Call it that move-in period when our veggies take up residency in their ‘summer cottage’. Memorial Day weekend has always been the kick-off of these warm weather favorites.


For those who love the garden, Memorial Day weekend is that turning point between two seasons. But don’t feel rushed and try not to worry. There’s plenty of time to do both.

What will you do more of? Rejuvenate or plant? Whichever you do, please don't forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. Take a moment to remember our fallen heroes.

All Images by Ann Bilowz © 
Top Image of Peonies ready to bloom by Ann Bilowz ©
Middle Image of Amsonia tabernaemontana by Ann Bilowz ©
Bottom Image of Oregano and Fennel growing together by Ann Bilowz ©  

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekend Garden Link



On this beautiful Friday, let’s bridge the vegetable garden topic by pointing out a smidgen of useful weekend reading. It’s not a garden book but an informative link from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Click  to see a well-thought out Planting Program for Cauliflower, Broccoli, Head lettuce, Spinach and Leeks.

Why do I like Johnny’s so much? They are quite friendly and a reliable seed source. Plus it's gardening weather and everyone is anxious about getting the veggie gardens underway. But before I shove off to enjoy this stellar day, I couldn’t’ resist adding this Amaryllis image to today’s post.


I simply love the way the punchy red blossoms captured last evening’s sunlight. Plus one bulb has produced flowers over and over again (for at least five or six years). Kept in a dark protected area in the winter and allowed to go dormant, just look at what one bulb can produce. Every couple of years, we take the little side bulbs and spread them out into other pots. The Annie Point is - you don’t need loads of garden space to experience something beautiful in bloom.

So what are your garden plans for this weekend? Hopefully it includes one thing related to nature like a walk in the woods or better yet, gardening and beautifying your outdoor living space. It’s springtime so best enjoy it. And as Voltaire pointed out, “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.” And when in doubt, you can always plant!

All Images by Ann Bilowz © 

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Thursday, May 16, 2013

To Master the Garden

 

Phyllis McGinley politely reminds us that “The trouble with gardening is that it does not remain an avocation. It becomes an obsession.” So depending which side of the scale you tip, whether you dabble or obsess, to hone and perfect that part of the outdoor space we coin ‘our garden’ is all part of the growing experience.

Often it’s just dabbling in a community vegetable garden or a small perennial border that leads us to digging for more. Check out the Master Gardener program if you want to become an official Master Gardener. Here’s the link to learn more. + http://www.ahs.org/gardening-resources/master-gardeners Find your closest resource in North America and Canada. Plus you can discover useful links for Societies, National Clubs, and Organizations, garden locations and seed exchanges. Take a look and explore the site. Even if you aren’t interested in pursuing a continuing educational ‘Master Gardener’ program, there’s information for each gardener at every skill level. If you truly love gardens, you quickly realize there is so much to master. So a title should never scare you away from testing the waters.

What’s perfect about this time of the year? Well, there are so many places to learn about gardens. Plant sales, educational courses, events, including garden tours are happening now and will continue throughout the growing season. It’s a perfect way to spend a day outside your own garden space or the one you hope to create. Just grab your camera and notebook. Part of mastering the garden is to always explore.

So who shall hop on board to master the garden? You can depart the train whenever you fancy, but if you’re obsessed, mastering the garden becomes more than a whirlwind sightseeing tour. A master gardener realizes the learning never stops; it’s a constant. As McGinley stated, “It does not remain an avocation. It becomes an obsession.” Franz Kafka reinforces this thought. “Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” The obsession of a master gardener is to master the garden but in disguise, it’s a lifelong apprenticeship.

Image of ‘Basket of Gold’ by Ann Bilowz ©  

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Planting Something Today

 

On this sunny Wednesday morning, let’s snap an image or two to inspire everyone to plant something today. How is this different than any other morning? Well, it is official - May 15th is designated as ‘Plant Something’ Day.

 
As Wendell Berry reminds us, “Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.” Setting something in the ground that offers this stunning cascade of blossoms, well, to me it’s worth it. What are your thoughts? 


So before we depart to plant something (a pot of herbs or punchy annuals in a window box), let’s allow Wendell Berry to share one more thought. "A tree forms itself in answer to its place and the light. Explain it how you will, the only thing explainable will be your explanation.”


So make it officially your own ‘Plant Something’ Day! Even just to plant some future seeds.

All Images by Ann Bilowz© 
Top Image – Image by Ann Bilowz © Trowel in the ground - ‘Plant Something’ Day
Second image - Image by Ann Bilowz © Rhododendron vaseyi Pinkshell azalea
Third image - Image by Ann Bilowz © Close-up of a Malus 'Donald Wyman' Flowering Crabapple
Fourth image - Image by Ann Bilowz © Sweet Bay Magnolia in the morning sun

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday’s Simple Design Thought

 

An important factor when creating your outdoor areas is determining what eventually is destined to take place in that space. Think of your landscape as your own piece of artwork. It fits your style and your taste. As we all know, art can be personal and bad all in one fell swoop. Keep in mind some design rules still should be followed. Here’s one from the archives to assist you with laying out basic pathways. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2011/05/paths-of-least-resistance.html Take a peek – it gives some basic measurements and design tips about where we walk and why. 

So if today’s post is meant to be simple, best to wrap up this Tuesday design thought now. A quote from Viggo Mortensen gives us another perspective on how to define art. “You don't have to make something that people call art. Living is an artistic activity.” Simply put, never overlook what works best for you to move, play and live in your designed outdoor space. In my book, your landscape should always have life and movement. Otherwise, it is simply just art work and not outdoor living.

Image by Ann Bilowz©  

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/           

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Smoothie Monday

 

It’s been a long time since a recipe and while there is so much ornamental starting to bloom, here’s a must for the kitchen herb garden. It is versatile, yet easy to grow, a die-hard, never take care of it herb that everyone knows as an ‘Annie’ favorite. One word of caution is to keep it contained.

Yes, the spearmint is coming up; ready to be used in just about every cooking arrangement one is willing to try. So here’s a combo that one might not imagine though a compromise for fresh nectarines 'twas a given. It’s a quick and easy smoothie recipe to keep in the books for a wholesome summertime drink. If you’re willing to substitute canned peaches until the nectarines come to town, you can give yourself a boost of energy with fresh spearmint now.

Ingredients:

2 cups milk 
1 ½ cups vanilla yogurt
4 nectarines (Springtime substitute - canned peaches less the juice)
10 Mint leaves chopped up fine (I probably used more like 20 because I love the flavor of mint)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place in a blender and whip up your smoothie. It's minty, refreshing and definitely filling.

To wrap up this recipe thought today, not having spearmint in my garden I would feel deprived. L.M. Montgomery, the author of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ said the same about trees. “I couldn't live where there were no trees--something vital in me would starve.” 


So here are two boosts of energy coming at you on this Monday morning – an easy smoothie and the welcoming sun. After so many starts of drizzle and rain, it’s nice to once again see the shadow of the tree in the morning light.

P.S. Need a plant tip rather than a recipe this AM? Check out our FB page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz and look at the comments under the Saturday image 'For the love of Hostas'. If you need some vole advice, it's there with a wholesale and retail Hosta supplier. That's why following us in more than one place can be helpful, especially if you're looking for additional tidbits.

All Images by Ann Bilowz©  

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday’s Jiffy Tip

 

Like a peanut butter and fluff sandwich, it’s a jiffy quick Friday tip for your veggie garden plus a great activity for this upcoming weekend. For anyone wondering what the above image is, well, these jiffy pellets can get your veggie garden kick started in a 'fluffernutter' snap. It may look like a wafer cookie but these jiffy pellets are compressed, dried pelletized peat moss just waiting to start your select seeds. Insert the pellet into a seed tray, add water and it becomes like instant soil to start your seeds in.


Here are four reasons to consider this Friday jiffy tip.

1) Planting seeds by this method improves germination. For this reason alone, it's worth it. But wait, here's three more.
2) You can plant a myriad of different seed varieties, ones you would never find in an already started grow pack at the local box store or retail nursery center.
3) You can sequence your plantings throughout the growing season. With veggies such as beans, lettuce and select herbs (i.e., cilantro) you want to plant a little every ten days; not all at once.
4) And last but not least, it’s a fun weekend task, especially with your kids or grandkids. You can never start them off too young to love all there is to love about gardening. Planting seeds is a great place to start.

Although this Friday tip is meant to be quick, Steve Goodier reminds us, “It is a mistake to think that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere.” So let your veggie garden enjoy a slow start and get off on the right foot.

P.S. If you need a fix of colorful imagery and what’s in bloom, you can take a peek at yesterday’s post. In case you missed it, there’s plenty of color and ideas for the ornamental end of your exterior side. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2013/05/thursdays-blossoms.html

All Images by Ann Bilowz© 

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday’s Blossoms

 

John Lubbock starts off this Thursday with his poignant quote. “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” On this overcast morning, why not look and see what’s of seasonal interest and in bloom.


This ‘Purple Gem’ Rhododendron makes a splash of color and what I like most about it – it’s a dwarf. So it works in nicely with any planting combination.


Another favorite in blossom right now is the Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba' Bleeding Heart. What’s not to love about these dainty white heart-shaped flowers growing in a shade garden? The backdrop, of course, is an Epimedium.


And why overlook something as simple as Violets and Dandelions battling it out? There’s something to be said about inspiration to create another yellow and purple flowering plant composition. 


 And why is texture important to your garden? Here’s another reason to love this Epimedium/Fern combination.


But the best part about May is when the apple blossoms come to town. This Malus ‘Donald Wyman’ flowering crabapple is showcasing its beautiful blossoms right now.


So if you’re in search of what to plant in your garden, remember John Lubbock’s words. “What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” 

All Images by Ann Bilowz©  

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Voluntary Simplicity

 

John Kabat-Zinn’s philosophy ties in nicely with Wednesday's wordless image. “Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.”

Image by Ann Bilowz© 

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Staples for the Veggie Garden

  
 
Cooking up a roast or a soup, what two items might you likely use? Onions and potatoes that is, so hopefully the seed potatoes and onion sets are in the ground by now. As I mentioned in previous posts, it’s time to get the tomato and cucumber lovers out of their comfort zone. Too many folks overlook potatoes, an easy to grow crop for your summertime garden. Why would you want to test the potato waters? Check out this archived July post for a myriad of reasons to grow potatoes. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2011/07/potato-banter.html
 
But one of the best reasons, besides the flavor (because you’ll never want a store bought potato again) is how one crop of potatoes can build your soil. Do you have a garden area that has been fallow or needs improvement? Plant a row of potatoes and when you start digging in the earth to find those treasured nuggets, you’ll be amazed at the richness and texture of the soil. The next year you’ll have beautiful growing conditions for planting your leafy greens, onions, garlic… remember, even if your garden is small, you want to rotate your crops whenever possible. But not to confuse you. All the images in today's post are onions! Doesn't it look easy? It really is.
 
 
 
And it’s not too late to get the onions and potatoes in the ground. The trick is finding a friend who might have some extras seed potatoes and onion sets hanging around.

But who's thinking roasts or soups on another glorious spring day? That's the beauty of growing onions and potatoes. Even if storing your harvest for the wintertime seems snow piles away, when you grab a fresh onion or potato in the colder months, you'll know exactly what I mean.

Hopefully on this beautiful spring Tuesday, there's inspiration to create what Jarod Kintz calls ‘noise soup.’ “Noise soup, I just made it. Taste it with your ears.” Hopefully there are some fresh ears out there listening. It's time to rethink tomatoes and cucumbers. Extend your veggie collection. Try onions and potatoes.

Top image of onions in cold storage last fall by Ann Bilowz© 
Bottom image of onion sets just planted under black plastic by Ann Bilowz© 

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Stretching Out in May

 

There is nothing quite spectacular as the way an early morning frost dances on the leaves.


As Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. reminds me, “Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.” 


Just some early morning images of spring stretching out this morning. Yes, I did get carried away.


 


 
There’s nothing more energizing than an early walkabout your garden to just appreciate what is stretching out with you.
 

All images by Ann Bilowz© 

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our fan page https://www.facebook.com/abilowz follow on twitter https://twitter.com/annbilowz or subscribe to 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 You can now follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Month for Everything



Before too many days and blooming Daffodils slip away in this wonderful month of May, a little Friday tidbit to share - May is ‘Gardening for Wildlife’ Month. David Mizejewski, Naturalist and Personality for the National Wildlife Federation said, "May is a wonderful time to get gardening and a great time to attract some of nature's most beautiful creatures to your yard. Taking simple steps in your garden to encourage wildlife is not only personally rewarding it also provides myriad benefits to animals and ecosystems." The hummingbird is the National Wildlife Federation’s feature species for the month and one of my favorites I love to spot in the garden.  

So let’s talk plants that can attract Hummingbirds. There is one in particular (and from personal experience) that works for us every summer. Around this purple mass, we always see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds flitting about in our gardens. One note to make - I typically don't entice our birds with feeders, just plants. Having a perfect habitat (meadow and woodland edge is helpful) but it's the flowers and the small habitats you can create very easily that naturally bring these creatures up close and personal. So what is this wonderful perennial? It’s definitely a favorite–commonly known as Catmint (Genus is Nepeta). There are several varieties but this is our prize - Nepeta sibirica 'Souvenir 'd Andre Chaudron'. For our habitat garden, it’s one of the ‘Hall of Famers’.


Hardy to zone 3-8, which means it can handle some pretty cold temps, this versatile plant is also drought tolerant, something to look for especially in habitat plantings. Want more great characteristics? It has a long bloom plus long-lasting, which means it can take a stand in your perennial borders for years to come. Our plants have grown five feet although the catalogs may say 2-3'. It depends on your site conditions but give it plenty of room to grow and spread. It is robust enough to smother out even the toughest of weeds. Keep transplanting it in different areas to create your own purple wave effect.  

So as we engage in our gardens during this month of May, find your perfect plant that attracts wildlife (the right kind of wildlife that is) in your garden habitat. This reminder from Wildlife Habitat Canada rings true. “Without habitat, there is no wildlife. It is that simple.”

Quoted excerpts by David Mizejewski from http://www.amerinursery.com/blog-4874.aspx

Top Image of Daffodil s in bloom in the May Garden -Image by Ann Bilowz©
Bottom Image by Greg Bilowz© Nepeta sibirica 'Souvenir 'd Andre Chaudron' (in the backdrop) in our summer garden habitat for the birds 

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pink Diamond

 

Certain that everyone is out enjoying yet another beautiful May morning, today’s post is simple. It’s a favorite from our garden. This Rhododendron ‘Weston’s Pink Diamond’ has been showing off its pinkness for over a week. I’ve included two past archives on the Rhododendron ‘Weston’s Pink Diamond’ in case there’s some interest in a stunning Rhododendron. http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2011/05/simply-colorful.html
http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2010/05/extend-pizzazz.html

But before I go, I take pause and reflect on these simple words from Thomas Campbell. “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Today’s image is chosen in remembrance of 1st Lieutenant Ryan Patrick Jones who was killed in Iraq six years ago, May 2nd, 2007. Let your name and your smile continue on as the Westminster Post Office, in the town you called 'home', is renamed in your honor today. You were truly your Mom and Dad’s shining diamond. 

Image of a Rhododendron ‘Weston’s Pink Diamond’ this AM by Ann Bilowz© 

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday's Rose Tidbits

 

Many, many Rose questions lately so let’s get to the point. No pun intended. We’re talking Roses of course. Speaking of thorns, would you plant your money on a Rose if it was thornless or not? So I asked Fred from Roseland Nursery, +http://www.roselandroses.com/ (a Rose lover’s delight shopping stop) his thoughts on this Rose matter. “People who buy Roses typically don’t choose them because they do or don’t have thorns.” I tend to agree with him. What makes a Rose special can vary and be personal of course. From a growing standpoint, you should always look for disease resistant Roses and its hardiness to your zone. But other factors might be its habits (climbing or spreading), fragrant or not, blossom type and if its color is light or bold. The list can go on. But that covers a few.  

Should thornless be critical, let it be searched and be found. One of the thornless Roses that Roseland has on their list, Zephirine Drouhin sounds like the perfect Rose for a trial in our test garden. Fred stated the two reasons people buy this particular Rose – it’s old and it grows well with less sunshine. Good to know and one worth trying. Zephirine Drouhin’s characteristics straight from Roseland’s website: Long blooming, thornless, and very profuse. Climber. Grows 15 to 20 feet, performs well in shade. Rich dark green foliage. Mildew resistant. Zones 5 – 9. Perfect in my book although I must find a spot for another climber Rose. There were two other thornless listed on the Roseland site. Brother Cadfael and James Galway, so take a look if Pink is your color in that thornless category.  

I also asked Fred about using banana peels when planting your Rose. Fred chuckled and said, “I never heard of putting banana peels. I guess it could probably work. But a good balanced fertilizer is what you really need. And if you compost your banana peels, well, won’t the banana peel nutrients eventually end up in your soil mix for all of your plants?”

One more Fred tidbit - the lighter color and more fragrant the Rose, it’s more likely to be devoured by Japanese Beetles. As Fred said, it’s probably why I like my ‘Hot Cocoa’ Rose so much. (Image above.)

So when in doubt, always best to ask the pros. That would be the Rosarians found in any of your regional Rose Societies. Should you be native to Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 11th Roseland Nursery will host three members of the New England Rose Society to answer questions and help you make the best rose selections for your garden. Sounds like a great Rose trip and a chance to chat with some local Rose experts. 

To end on a light note, I couldn’t pass up this Eleanor Roosevelt quote. “I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.” 

Image of a Floribunda Rose (Rosa) 'Hot Cocoa' in bloom last summer by Ann Bilowz©  

A past archive if you are interested in ‘Hot Cocoa’ http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2012/06/hot-cocoa-anyone.html

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About Me

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

© 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.)