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, August 30, 2013

Labor Day Celebration

 

Kent Nerburn sums up the importance of this Labor Day Celebration. “Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.”

Are you fortunate enough to sport a green thumb? One of the greatest pleasures of growing a bounty is spreading it around.

If you missed Monday’s blog post, Labor Intensive it was an early reminder to celebrate our working achievements, including our summer harvest.  Celebrate your labors and stay safe on your holiday journeys. And for those still sitting on the garden sidelines, remember to support your local farms and farmers!

© Image by Ann Bilowz - It’s what’s harvesting in the summer garden

If you like this blog, hope you check in daily. Like our Facebook follow on Twitter 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 Annie You can follow with visuals on Pinterest and find us on Houzz, too.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What’s Trending Fall 2013

 
 
It’s fast upon us, that magical season of fall. There are always folks ahead of the curve with their outside spaces already in the throes of a decorative facelift. Our landscape takes on a different look and hue. It’s loaded in earth tones with pumpkins, corn stalks and Mums. Welcome to the traditional festive fall colors we’ve all grown to recognize and love.

But of course, it’s Thursday so let’s take a garden detour. What’s trending in women’s clothing and why would this matter from a garden and design perspective? According to a recent Fall Trend report presented by David Yurman, the latest fall color trend in the wardrobe world is pastel pink. Here’s a brief peek. “We were floored when it came to the sheer number of looks…that featured shades of pastel pink…yet each managed to counterbalance the shade’s inherent sweetness with innovative, modern silhouettes.” The short report wraps up with this colorful insight. “It’s worth noting that of all color, pink is probably the most divisive – many women swear they wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot-pole – so we’re eager to see how the masses take to this one.”

When it comes to fashion and how it trends into the wardrobe, one has to wonder if we can cross the clothing boundaries and turn it into a fall color for the landscape as well. So this is for all the plant lovers out there. Can we stretch our imagination and think of a pastel pink flower to replace or enhance the deeper colors of pumpkins, mums and gourds? Maybe it’s just adding a pastel pink flowering tree, shrub, perennial or an amazing bulb in the second best time to plant. Or should we leave pastel pink in the closet and stick to the fall traditional hues? It’s your garden; it’s your call. Are you daring enough to add pastel pink into your landscape color palette at all?
 


P.S. A tiny design hint – hues of Apricot can bridge the link between pink and orange tones. So there you have it. It can be done! As Jarod Kintz reminds us, “The sunset faded and blended from pink to peach to mango in a smoothie in the sky.”

© Top Image by Ann Bilowz of a pastel pink Hybrid Rugosa Rose in the summer garden
© Bottom Image by Greg Bilowz - H. paniculata 'Unique' in an October snow  
Check the archives for why the H. paniculata 'Unique' can give you these subtle hues of pink. A favorite Hydrangea that shows pink off well in an early fall snow.

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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Fig’s Life


There is nothing better than a fresh fig. If you dare to dabble with growing them in the cooler temperatures of the Northeast, it requires being vigilant; knowing when to haul them outside and when to lug them indoors for their dormant rest period. In case you need a refresher course, there’s one in the archives Go Figure  that might help you out. But back to the fig’s life as we currently have four thriving fig plants.

Three of the plants are various varieties purchased as bare root stock. However, it’s the first fig, my fig, which I received from a local woman moving to a new house. It was a tiny shoot and when I say tiny, it was literally something most would have tossed out. But this little leaf in a tiny clay pot has blossomed into the best producing, best tasting, and straightest growing of the bunch. Did it require some patience? Heck, yeah. It took approximately seven years before it decided that this year it would become the featured star fig plant.



So today’s post isn’t about technique or what to do next. It’s that thing called patience which even in the horticultural world can be so hard to grasp.  Moliere reminds me that “Trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” And so it is with this fig’s life. It’s time to enjoy its fruit.  


P.S. I gave Annie’s Gardening Corner a background facelift yesterday. It seemed like the natural mid-life mile marker thing to do; a little ‘nip and tuck’. Let me know your thoughts and if you find any bugs that need to be worked out. I found a couple but I won’t point them out. It's those fine-tuning and adjustments that can be worked out as we continue along. And if you like the new look, you can send your thumbs up.

© Top Image – Figs picked this morning from Annie’s Fig Tree
© Middle Image – Annie’s Fig Tree reaching to the sun
© Bottom Image – Figs for breakfast
© 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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Flower Connection

 


What flower connection will you make today? To set the pace, here's my Tuesday flower choice. It’s the Hibiscus accompanied by a Gladys Taber quote. “Happiness of heart can never be measured out and bundled up, it's intangible. We keep running after it, grasping for it, and the heat of our running so seldom brings it closer. But now and then there may be a moment. We look at something and know it is good and beautiful. Those moments are happiness.”

The Hibiscus certainly warrants a moment in the flower connection if you want a big splash. Plus one of its features is its magnetic qualities for butterflies and hummingbirds. It’s a perfect Tuesday reminder to ‘look at something and know it is good and beautiful.’ Like this stunning Hibiscus showing off in its moment of morning happiness. 

In case you need two worthwhile links on Hibiscus varieties and care, I recommend these below. If you want to dabble with Hibiscus, this is a good place to start. There’s so much to know about this plant and it’s one we haven’t used in planting plans or even our own research garden. Sometimes I fear testing plant material because, like growing grapes, it can turn into an obsession or one more hobby run amuck. So here’s a shout out to the Hibiscus lovers. Share your thoughts and plant experiences, whether it’s the tropical or the hardy varieties; we’d love to hear. Otherwise, if you’re like me, you can just enjoy the one blossoming in someone else’s landscape.

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/perennial/hibiscus/
http://www.garden.org/plantguide/?q=show&id=2133

© Hibiscus 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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Monday, August 26, 2013

Labor Intensive

 


John Steinbeck wrote these very profound words in his epic novel, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’. “Muscles aching to work, minds aching to create - this is man.” This seems a perfect segue into the long holiday weekend coming up - when celebration of our working achievements, gardens and harvest included should take front and center stage.

And although creating a beautiful landscape can often be seen as labor intensive, Steinbeck clearly knew that man craved such things as he continued further in this thought. “…man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back.” In other words, progress, even in such places as our gardens and outdoor spaces require that we keep our muscles working and our minds creating all these wonderful things on this earth.

There you have it. What we often think of as labor intensive are the necessities in life. Speaking of labor intensive, that’s a wrap on the 1,000th blog post, which started in June 2009. And though it diverts from the tedious factoids on a regular basis, every post gets written with one intention - to inspire and entertain those who might be meek and timid to the soil, the flowers, the landscape, the aspects of design and all that surrounds us on the outside. 

P.S. A big thank you to everyone who has followed me on this ride!

© Image of grapes ripening in our mini-vineyard 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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Friday, August 23, 2013

It’s A Dog’s World


Cokie sniffing in the morning dew

Milan Kundera reminds us that “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.”

If you really delve into the dog’s world, you soon discover it’s all about sniffing and exploring. You don’t have to be a dog lover to realize your garden is meant to be enjoyed. We get too busy creating, building and doing that we forget such simple advice.

Bright and bold

 


Yes, we share loads of garden and design tips weaved with inspirational insight but when life is frantic, we forget it’s a short stint. It’s important to remember it’s a dog’s world - stop, explore and sniff.   

As Milan Kundera points out, “where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.”

Ben sniffing a bouquet of flowers

P.S. If you need more garden and design advice, today mark's Annie's Gardening Corner's 999th post. There's plenty in the archives to sniff and explore.

© 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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Reboot Thursday

 
Bilowz Associates INC. & Annie's Gardening Corner

Mid-August, as our gardens start to do their own thing, a helpful task is to clear the gunk out and start clean. Reboot your garden machine and see your beds and borders from a different perspective. One of the biggest challenges to keeping the garden fresh is to shoot for more than just blossoms but texture, form and seasonal interest as well.

As we power down and do a reboot to the garden, sit back to look past the summer deadheading and overgrown weeds.  August is the perfect time to evaluate from the ground up. Look at your foundation - your structure plantings that keep your borders and beds from looking bland. Do not underestimate the value of a sculptured tree that offers living architecture to your garden while providing shade, form and whenever possible, seasonal interest. 

Need some ideas? Try a Stewartia. It’s one of my favorites; here’s why. It’s an ideal small to medium-sized flowering ornamental tree. One of its best features is its stunning exfoliating bark, which offers four-season interest. Searching for summertime flowers and fall color to boot? Try the Stewartia pseudocamellia (Japanese Stewartia). This sought after specimen is the caviar of the ornamentals.

Let’s not forget the perennials that sport stunning fall foliage. A couple of all-time favorites: Geranium ‘Nimbus’ and Amsonia hubrichtii. Geranium ‘Nimbus’ is a perennial geranium with a fine-textured leaf and soft lavender blossoms but its stunning fall foliage rivals the color of most sugar maples. This versatile perennial can be planted in masses as an edger or as a specimen by itself. This must-have staple is a vigorous grower. But onto the next favorite, Amsonia hubrichtii, sporting more than its beautiful blossoms. In early summer, this versatile plant displays delicate blue star-shaped flowers and soft, feathery foliage. This phenomenal plant-lover’s plant continues to put on a show late into the season with its yellow and soft orange hues. Both of these perennials are sun-lovers and can be layered in nicely to your border.

And don’t forget your woody plant materials. Hydrangeas, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Viburnum – the list goes on and on. So let’s stop here with a quick reminder - September is the second half of the planting season, making August the perfect month to reboot your garden thoughts. Look at your landscape from the mid-summer perspective. Get into the nurseries for fantastic deals. As always, inspect what is on the bargain table but you can usually find some steals.

That’s it for reboot Thursday. It’s a wrap with a quote for the day. In celebration of the 151st anniversary of Claude Debussy’s birth, his words resonate still, maybe more so today. “Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” While some rules apply to rebooting, let your garden be your own work of art. And don’t forget to designate a garden seat to collect your mid-summer thoughts.

© 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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Garden Moon

 
A Garden Moon

It is wordless Wednesday so with no further ado, it is one simple image I captured of last evening’s full moon. To accompany the imagery, Deng Ming-Dao’s quote sets the tone for today’s post.

“The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.” 

Hopefully the email subscribers receive their post today. Yesterday’s entry somehow got caught in limbo delivery, so in case you need more words, here it is again.

http://blog.bilowzassociates.com/2013/08/choices-we-make.html

Have a wonderful August day.

© 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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Choices We Make

 


These wise words once penned by Aristotle are still applicable to today’s design world. “Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determine your destiny.” As we forge forward into the ending days of August, Aristotle’s words serve as perfect advice for anyone undertaking a design project. Creating and executing great design is a process and requires all of what Aristotle crafted in his statement. This is simply a reiteration of the design criteria mentioned in earlier posts the last few days. 

Today’s design point: never underestimate the value in building a talented, flexible multi-disciplinary team. The art of building a design team goes beyond choosing talent but team members with the ability to be flexible and open to ‘choice, not chance’. As Gino Norris reminds us, “Solutions have a voice - the art is knowing how to listen.”

That’s the wrap for the choices we make. When undergoing any design project that includes construction, find team members that strive for choice, not chance.

© Copyright note: this design has been developed by and is the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and should 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.

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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Monday, August 19, 2013

In the Detail




The phrase, ‘The Devil is in the detail’ may have a few interpretations but when it applies to design, detail is critical to the end result. In short, details are the glue between the 'vision' and reality. Too often what’s left on the cutting room floor – yes, you guessed it. It’s all those little details holding the vision together; the big picture you initially fell in love with and vowed you would not let go of or live without. 

As Mike Gayle reminds us, “In a relationship, the details are everything because they remind you - just when you need to be reminded the most - why you fell in love with someone in the first place.” It happens too often. People fall in love with a landscape vision and quickly forget the importance of certain details in pulling everything together. The worst experience – realizing it’s often too late or much more costly than the original expense to reinvent those critical details. 

The glue holding most things in life together – well, yes, it’s in all those details. Know which ones are critical to your landscape vision. In the end, it’s those details that everyone notices, (including you) and ultimately makes all the difference. And there’s nothing more challenging than falling out of love and starting over again. 

© Copyright note: Image & Design Detail By Bilowz Associates Inc. 

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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Friday, August 16, 2013

Creative Latitude

 

It can come in all shapes and sizes. But what often stops people from originating and testing new ideas is what one thinks could be a limitation. It is working within these limitations that become a true testament to creativity and great design.

These words from Tom Kelley, GM at IDEO (excerpt from Daniel H.Pink’s book, ‘Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’ sum up today’s thought on creative latitude best. “The ultimate freedom for creative groups is the freedom to experiment with new ideas. Some skeptics insist that innovation is expensive. In the long run, innovation is cheap. Mediocrity is expensive—and autonomy can be the antidote.”

© Copyright note: This design and all its images has been developed by and is the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and should 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.

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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Five Garden Tips Thursday

 

It’s a quick five for Thursday that relate to the mid-August garden. So if you have a few minutes to spare, here’s a quick refresher for the must-do/honey-do list before September rolls into town.

First, don't miss the perfect window for fertilizing your perennials. Just like you, tons of energy has been expended during the growing season of your garden. So in order to complete the cycle and head into the winter months with a clean bill of health, a shot of fert can go a long way into creating a flourishing perennial bed next spring.

Next is often the least favorite chore - that un-pretty part of gardening. Yes, it’s the never-ending deadheading and weed control that went bonkers during the summer heat while you weren’t looking. Now it must be encountered. Good luck with keeping your hands clean and your clippers sharp. Mid-August is catch-up time for this one particular chore. But look on the bright side of things. Check out the next tip in line.

Harvest time – hooray! Whether it’s produce from your own garden or the local farm stand, it’s time to harvest the goodies and jam, can and freeze. Or simply enjoy the freshness that comes only from locally grown produce in the soil you know best.

This 4th tip is a pleasure. It’s time to dig into the Peonies and bulb orders to claim the best stock available for your fall plantings. Have some favorites? We do. Feel free to share your must-have bulbs and Peonies that you just can’t find browsing through the local garden retail store.

Last but not least, a shout-out to the lawn-lovers. Get prepared as it tis the season – the beginning of September is around the corner. Time to aerate, thatch, slice seed, and renovate your lawn. It’s been said here before but this is the best way to make lawn healthy so it can handle the more difficult months of summer. If you plan on renting any of the equipment necessary to do the above chores or want to schedule a company to do it for you, get your name on the list now because once September rolls around, equipment and labor can be mighty hard to come by.

That’s the quick five for Thursday. It’s time to wrap up the tips for mid-August and get on with the day that sprawls ahead. As Jeannine Mobley states, “It won’t be a chore, it will be a garden.” And if your garden has sprawled beyond perfect, remember these five mid-summer tips.

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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Scenery & Light



Today's changing air reminds us to enjoy a quiet moment outdoors. We sense like this Russian Sage that we shall also be waving goodbye to the extended days of light. These words from Mitch Albom sum it up best. “Scenery without solace is meaningless.” Enjoy this morning’s light.

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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stems & Twigs

 


You may think that stems and twigs might be all you see when you take a walk in the woods. Bill McKibben summarizes this experience best with his profound words. “I think people who don't know the woods very well sometimes imagine it as a kind of undifferentiated mass of greenery, an endless continuation of the wall of trees they see lining the road. And I think they wonder how it could hold anyone's interest for very long, being all so much the same. But in truth I have a list of a hundred places in my own town I haven't been yet. Quaking bogs to walk on; ponds I've never seen in the fall (I've seen them in the summer - but that's a different pond). That list gets longer every year, the more I learn, and doubtless it will grow until the day I die. So many glades; so little time.”

Remember, there’s more than stems and twigs in the woods. Often times, imagination, creativity, or a much needed boost of energy can be discovered just when you need it most. Or it may be the best ‘quiet’ place to contemplate and to think. If you really listen, you might hear the sound of your own breath, your feet swishing against the stems and twigs, maybe a bird flitting about and nothing else. Yeah, there may be a few bugs to battle at this time of year but I always find something interesting when I truly explore the woods. 

So if you can, before the summer ends, find some time for a walk in the woods. As C.S. Lewis once penned, “Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.”    

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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Secrets

 

August can be one of those dreadful months in the garden. The weeds always seem to be healthier than what we planted earlier in the season and most, if not all of the wonderful mid-summer blooms start to wind down. This summer slump can be downright ugly. Deadheading and weeding is an out of control chore. You scratch your head and wonder ‘Why the heck are we planting more?” 

Here’s a general tip from the National Gardening Association that might give you some hope on conquering the ugly part of the garden – weeds galore. “It's the time of year when garden weeds can get ahead of us. If the weeds in your garden have gotten ahead of you, make your catch-up efforts count. First, pick off any weed flowers that are going to seed to prevent the next generation, then pull or smother the weed plants and top the area with mulch to keep them from coming back.”

So here’s the summer secret said best by Dr. Seuss. “When you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” So unslump yourself and do what you can in the weeding and deadheading category. Then look beyond to the beautiful parts of the garden you created this year. 

P.S. If you are looking for an awesome zucchini, Costata Romanesco is one we planted this growing season. The flavor, texture and size - absolutely phenomenal; the seeds came from Johnny’s in Maine. Happy Monday - it's time to unslump yourself and look for the beautiful in the garden.


 
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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc

Friday, August 9, 2013

EXQUISITE

 
 
On this rainy Friday, let’s delve into a few quick tips to wrap up this week. First, if you didn’t receive yesterday’s blog post via email, here it is. Right-place Right-vine The post reveals a great deciduous vine meant to climb so if you have the right place, it’s definitely worth planting.
 
With some ideas for plants fresh in mind, here’s one certainly worthy of adding to our must-have perennial plant lists. Part of the Campanulaceae family, Platycodon grandiflorus, otherwise known as the Balloon Flower, is an herbaceous perennial with some wonderful plant traits. Great for cold and warm weather spots, it can handle temps in Zone 4 through 9, and even possibly hardy in Zone 3. It’s deer resistant, non-aggressive plus plan for a fall show as its flowers turn gold. It prefers full sun in cooler climates or part-shade in those that heat up a bit more. But it doesn’t like it too dry or too wet, so keep that in mind.


But its beauty is in its flower, especially if you’re a big color freak like me. Remember it also comes in softer colors of white and pink. This mid-summer charmer might just get more notoriety if it makes it to the Perennial of the year in 2014. Just a hint for those involved in getting these plants nominated because the Balloon flower should definitely get used in more applications. Although it is not a native, which we typically like to use, it is well worth checking out plus it’s great for cut flowers, too. And it can be long-lived with low maintenance once established, yet another big benefit to reap.

So one more tip before it’s a wrap – if you’re a member of a Botanical garden or Horticultural Society, never be afraid to ask what your membership benefits can do for you. There are plenty of discounts, even free entrance fees but if you don’t ask, you’ll never find out. You can also contact the membership coordinator and get a listing of all the gardens, nursery centers, etc. that you can take advantage of as you explore the horticultural world during these summer months. It’s worth supporting your local horticultural societies with an annual membership just for things like this. 

So there’s the Friday round-up but before I go, I must leave you with this one last image and these phenomenal words by Nan Fairbrother about exquisite moments. “Summer weather, like being in love, is a philosopher's stone which turns our ordinary days to gold. But not the whole day ... For it is never the whole day, never all our life which is transformed in any happiness, but only the exquisite moments.”

 
This Quail posed so nicely for me, I just wanted to share it as one of those exquisite moments of summer. It seemed a break from all those other things in design, nature, including dogs and flowers, which I’m always sharing and for me, spells EXQUISITE in capital letters.  

All Images by Ann Bilowz ©  

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Right Place, Right Vine

 

Like a fine wine, there’s a right food and place for the grape from that vine. When it comes to the Climbing Hydrangea, Hydrangea anomala petiolaris, the right place for this vine is where it can climb. In my research garden, I’ve tested the Climbing Hydrangea in various places, including an old stump and a rock, where it definitely sprawls and covers unsightly objects. For me, it’s a bit out of its element for what I consider its best use.

This lovely white flowering Hydrangea is in its glory when it is doing what it was named for – climbing. It prefers partial to full shade with moist, well-drained soil and a fairly wide zone (4 to 8). Arbors, fences, stone walls - this is the right place and the right vine if you’re looking for a climber that has great foliage (heart-shaped dark green leaves), height (30-50’) and spread (5-6’) with a dainty early to mid-summer white blossom. Its winter interest is also part of its charm. With amber exfoliating bark, it can add color to an otherwise stark landscape. 
 
 
To wrap up today’s post with a positive thought, David McCullough Jr. sums up our overall design philosophy best. “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”


Landscape Design by Bilowz Associates Inc. ©
Photography by Eric Roth Studio ©

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 follow with visuals on Pinterest, too! http://pinterest.com/bilowzassoc/ and you can also find us on Houzz http://www.houzz.com/pro/bilowz/bilowz-associates-inc




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Year of the Watermelon

 

There's been a few beats skipped here and there in the blog postings since last week. Welcome back on wordless Wednesday. Well, of course, there’s always a tidbit I want to share. Yes, it’s about watermelon, one of the largest edible fruits. It hasn’t been written about here in this garden corner yet. Did you know 2013 is the year of the watermelon? With a few growing in our own garden this summer, there’s a word of caution that isn’t shared about the watermelon on the National Garden Bureau's informative link. http://www.ngb.org/year_of/index.cfm?YOID=34

As Mark Twain once penned, “When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” But did Mark Twain ever leave a watermelon home by itself, unattended for a few days? An overripe watermelon is not something you want to experience and return to late in the evening. Thank goodness it was left to its own accord in the basement and not in the upstairs living space. Trust me - a meltdown of a watermelon is not pleasant even if it occurs outdoors. Yikes. There’s not too many more horrible smells than this one and a wet Vac and Simple Green can’t cut the leftover remnants of just a couple of days. 

So just a little Wednesday word of caution as the melons we planted seem to be doing their own thing. Never leave a watermelon unattended. That’s all she wrote on this wordless Wednesday.

P.S. The watermelon explosion was one we purchased from the store, which makes one think that these melons were a tad on the ripe side to begin with. The ones growing in our garden are perfect and happy. But now we know to never leave them stored in the basement unattended.

Image of watermelon growing in the garden by Ann Bilowz ©

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Friday, August 2, 2013

By the Wayside

 

It’s the peak of summer with beautiful blossoms abound. So why on earth does this wayside plant, Chicory keep crossing my path – almost like it’s trying to say ‘Notice me’? Perhaps there’s an interesting tale to tell about this herbaceous plant. Besides its lovely sky-blue flower, Chicory has so many uses. Try it as a garnish for salads or as a substitute or main ingredient for coffee.

Yes, this Bach Flower remedy has medicinal purposes, too. Yet what I find so fascinating is this little tidbit. According to ‘The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies by C.Norman Shealy MD, PhD, he states that ‘Chicory helps people to be selfless in love, which makes for more satisfying relationships. It helps us to see love as a universal force, to give love freely so that it may freely return to us.’ 

Funny, Chicory keeps appearing in front of me, enough to make me stop and notice this wayside plant. Plants, like animals are often signs, serving as a wake-up call to what is most important. But these words from Audrey Hepburn sum up best what this wayside plant may be trying to express about selflessness. “It's that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so 'don't fuss, dear; get on with it'.

It’s just a Friday reminder to remove the things that clutter life - bring on the Chicory. I love when a flower can tell a story.

Image of Chicory near the water by Ann Bilowz © 

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Keeper of Light

 

Ursula K. Le Guin’s words compliment today’s image. “I had forgotten how much light there is in the world, till you gave it back to me.”

Water and light - so simple and often taken for granted but these two elements remain most vital to sustain our gardens. It takes a beautiful sunset on the water to remind us that nothing in life can be taken for granted, especially water and light.

Image by Ann Bilowz ©

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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.)