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, January 31, 2014

Rounding the Bend



It’s almost here. One month behind us and approximately two more to go before we can get the garden juices flowing and officially say the word ‘Spring’. So until then, let’s talk about something more tangible that we can let flow into some of our 2014 landscape schemes. Let’s touch upon pathways and a simple rule of thumb. Like many things in life, follow the flow and see where it leads. When it comes to designing a path, following that flow often drives what finally comes to be.

Some of this info dates back from an older blog post, June 7, 2010. Not everyone wants formal attire (you know formal pathways when you see them). Some of us want a more casual, organic flow that works well for kids and pets. The best rule of practice in understanding what works is to simply let them play.

Kids and dogs behave like the flow of water in nature. Water always finds the path of least resistance. Like kids and dogs, if you redirect them in a particular manner, they typically find what feels natural to them. They run with or without obstacles; somehow they manage to find their way around them.

Animals and children have a habit of carving their own paths that may contradict your gardening plans but in the grand scheme of things, it all works well. It is human nature to find these “desire lines”. It is finding the path of least resistance. College campus planners in certain parts of the world have been smart enough to realize this natural fact. They will develop a section of campus and intentionally not design or install any landscape for that area. They wait and allow the students to determine the proper path system. They design and install after the ‘desire lines’ have been established by the students. In essence, the students set the framework.

So do what is instinctive to your family. It is your lifestyle, not the one in the magazine. In other words, don’t fight it. Go with the flow. It is less frustrating and in the end, the rewards are a harmonious landscape. People don’t tend to walk in straight lines unless we are told. Nature has an organic element and flow. It is not symmetrical.

To encapsulate today’s design images, Roman Payne’s words sum it up best. “She always knew the way. Her feet were little wings.”
© Copyright note: All images and designs have 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 for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why Add, Not Delete


As February sneaks a few steps closer, the plans for our outdoor spaces and gardens follow in those same footsteps. If it's in the works to revisit what’s happening in your landscape, here’s my take on why to add and not delete.

No need to pull out statistics or trends. Growing your own produce is definitely in. There’s also a sense that ‘home’ for many is more than just a place to throw your hat. It’s become the focal point for remote workers. Not buying it? Take a peek at this recent book titled, Remote. It's a quick read. This is definitely a growing trend.

With more and more people spending work and leisure time in their homes or 'remote' places, expanding enjoyable living space can be easily achieved, specifically with the outdoor areas. Plus, who can ignore the latest and greatest studies that inundate the airwaves. Always a common thread, indicating the same theme – health and parks, gardens, growing plants… it all goes hand in hand.

So why delete something that is good for the whole package? Outdoor living isn’t a #Throwback Thursday. In other words, gardens aren’t retro, outdoor living is in. As Deepak Chopra reminds us, “If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with.” Sound familiar about January resolutions? If you want to focus on adding health back into your life, what you create in your outdoor spaces should be part of what you add to your plan.

How many apps or algorithms does it take to spell out – ADD, NOT DELETE. Pick and choose but make sure you surround yourself with healthy outdoor living spaces, even if you live in a city. Community gardens, parks, rooftop spaces – all part of your green space, whether you own it or just appreciate it.


P.S. Note to the Email subscribers – you should get a two for one today. Yesterday’s post didn’t get emailed through the feedburner system. No control over technology but it’s always a 30 day blog challenge here at Annie’s Gardening Corner.

© Copyright note: All images and designs have 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 for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday’s #Design Inspiration

 
Charles A Beard once said, “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.” That’s one big plus of cloudless but cold January evenings. If bundled up enough, one might try to count the brilliant but endless stars. But garden lovers might be counting the days until the first blossoms peak out from the earth rather than counting January stars. So while we’re slugging through the cold and snow, let’s discuss an often overlooked landscape feature that is actually hard and unmovable. It adds, not detracts from the landscape during these winter months. It is the hardscape and it’s one to plan for now.

Hardscape is the one element to consider when adding to your landscape plan. Here are just some samples of how hardscape can appear on its own or within a well-thought out design.












  


Wednesday design inspiration. So until spring, plan your hardscape and keep counting stars.
 

© Copyright note: All images and designs have 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 for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Trends


Let’s take a bold step into some trending technology. It's Tuesday and this interesting link delves into what's trending in architecture and interior design. Click on this interview with Steven South of Perkins+Will. Once you’ve digested it, make your way back here.

This intriguing interview spells change moving forward as it relates to the design of interior space and architecture. It can also be certain to impact those in the field of landscape architecture, specifically if what one views inside looking out can be altered with personal preferences displayed on glass.

Our world is creating a vision for tangible exterior spaces and all good design is a collaborative; it’s multidisciplinary. So what in these Tuesday trends will drive design as we know it? According to South, “Glass is an important medium that’s allowing for customization, a trend being driven by Gen Y’s individualism.” This excerpt from Cath Crowley sums up glass for what it is. “If you treat glass right, it doesn't crack. If you know the properties, you can make things; the color of dusk and night…”

So back to the garden and outdoor nature lovers. Hopefully, I’m not sweeping up the Cucumber and Crocus crumbs off the floor this morning. Many followers arrive here seeking tidbits and inspiration for all things green. But every once in a while it’s important to still take a road trip to what our business is all about - landscape architecture and design. Plus  #TrendingTuesday is a perfect day to swap out green, insert glass. It is certain to impact those in the design field. But nothing changes our number one recommendation - always keep a close connection to the earth. It seems logical for what’s important to reflect in your piece of glass.

© Image by Ann Bilowz – Reflecting Water

If you like this blog, hope you check in for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Colder than…


When you hear that January’s weather has been colder than Alaska, one has to wonder, how can any of our trees, shrubs and plants survive these below normal temperatures? Monday’s quick tip – anticipate winter damage and potential replacements, especially if your landscape was newly planted. This would cover any landscape plantings done in the last two to three years as plants are still acclimating to its new digs and surroundings. 

One other word of caution to those with newly planted landscapes: hold off on any of your woody plant material winter pruning. Extreme fluctuations in temperature cause some of the worst winter damage.  This can be typical of winter - a stretch of mild temperatures followed by plummeting, below zero, Artic weather. Plants get confused with these mixed temperature signals. Unfortunately, this is when new plants incur the most winter damage. It’s best to wait until mid-March to prune newly planted material, when the threat of damaging winter weather is behind us.

This may be a repeated message but a newly planted landscape is the most vulnerable during these fluctuating weather patterns. So when it’s colder than Alaska and geographically the location is East, Zone 6 or 5B, get ready for a 'wait and see' come spring. And hold off on snipping until you see the true winter damage. Horace Mann reminds us, “Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.”

Until then, keep planting some seeds. The above Chives and Parsley only require a sunny window and good potting soil. Herbs are easy to grow and useful in taking a dish from bland to tasty. Planting seeds 'give us the determination to make the right things happen.' Have a great Monday.

© Image by Ann Bilowz – Herbs growing in a sunny window


If you like this blog, hope you check in for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

Friday, January 24, 2014

If I Were a Robot

 
Certain days, we all feel like robots. Let the dogs out, morning coffee, warm the car up, whatever it is; some things qualify as one robotic routine. But here’s the Friday brainteaser. If I were a robot, what would I grow? Here’s a link to show you what’s shaking in the environment and agricultural world. Click on it if you want to be intrigued.

There are some robots, whether in prototype stage or not, which are being designed to do everything, which includes beating you at games like Connect Four. There are robots that even have ‘soul.’ Check out this Ted Talk but trust me, these videos are long.

For those of us dragging our heels on this next revolution so to speak, there is no way around it. Robots are here and here to stay; designed and developed to do more than menial or mindless chores. But there’s something magical about letting the dogs out, sipping that first cup of coffee, and doing the mindless garden chores.

If I were a Robot, I would have stayed in this morning when it was a miserable 3 degrees. But I’m not a bear or one of our many plants in dormancy. There’s still too much life occurring and too many things to plan for the spring. But back to my initial question, if I were a robot, what would I grow? It would be that beautiful blush pink Peony with such a pretty name – ‘Sarah Bernhardt’. Oh, yeah. I did and I enjoy its June beauty when it’s in full blossom. 

Now unless you have a robot, get cranking on your garden and design plans for spring. And the #DailyQuote is…“At bottom, robotics is about us. It is the discipline of emulating our lives, of wondering how we work.” ~ ROD GRUPEN, Discover Magazine, June 2008

P.S. If you subscribe by mail, you may be getting a two for one post today. Enjoy the extra #blogfor30 and have a great weekend.

© Image by Ann Bilowz - Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt' drooping in the rain

If you like this blog, hope you check in for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thirtysomething



Joss Whedon states it best. “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.” That sums up Thirtysomething. It’s an age when we just jump in, head first, take a chance and whatever happens, well, that’s what makes memories. It’s all that important stuff called life, including all those inevitable mistakes.

So this is it - #Blogfor30 - part of the Hubspot’s thirty day challenge. Today’s goal is to write a post in one hour starting at noon and post at 1:00 PM. And like many things in life, we hashtag, wait and see what happens. Heck, I already accomplished one feat today. It was my 1,111th daily garden & design blog. Throw in a few guest blog posts here and there and it’s been a fairly consistent stream of work. Good? Heck, I took Joss Whedon’s advice.

So the real question becomes why keep up this insanity? Let’s go back toThirtysomething. It’s that time in life when lots of things change. Apply what Whedon suggests, “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE” and this might be what you get.  But the truth is, one constant question tugs at me; this creative, sometimes whacky but sensitive, even inspirational, “What do you really love?” Any guesses? Yes, I always loved to write.

If I backtrack to an earlier time, gardens and nature dominated a large part of my childhood. It’s a reminder that you can’t deny the influence of parents and grandparents. Each one of them taught me so much about loving the earth. Fast forward to Thirtysomething, you guessed it. Marriage x XXX years equals husband + partner in our landscape architectural firm.  

So how do you combine creative, whacky and inspirational into the garden and design world? Write a daily blog post and hope it lands on the right doorstep. Anyone who writes,well, you know all you can ask for is that it finds the right person who might need a piece of inspiration, tip, advice, or a part of nature that becomes a part of them.

Time is up. It’s a wrap for #Blogfor30. There’s no garden advice or even the slightest bit of inspiration for Thirtysomethings except MAKE the most of these years. Why? You’ll find out soon enough –it’s every piece of every day that is a thread woven into who you are. It’s answering that tough question – “What do you really love?”

© Landscape Design by Bilowz Associates Inc. ©Photography By Eric Roth – property of Bilowz Associates Inc.   

If you like this blog, hope you check in for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

Trending Thursday

 
What’s trending this Thursday that relates to our gardens? The town crier wants to share yesterday’s big announcement - 2014 is the Year to Enjoy Echinacea! You can click on this National Garden Bureau (NGB) link to get the trending skinny on this plant. Get prepared to see the Coneflower (common name) dominate your nurseries and retail garden storefronts.

A word to the flower hungry; the Echinacea varieties are drop-dead gorgeous. It has a color chart gone off the dial, making this durable perennial a great choice for your garden. But don’t overlook our favorite, the standard purple. Remember, if you want success, start with the native. Then expand and experiment with some of the other colorful varieties. And here are two more +NGB big announcements - Cucumbers and Petunias are this year’s choice for the edible and the annual.

Speaking of edibles, if you were smitten on yesterday’s post, ‘Bright Lights’, there was mention of another growing trend – well-designed produce gardens. Remember? Always combine color, texture, and aesthetics. Echinacea is a great perennial, (one that can handle full sun) to consider growing in your well-designed produce garden.  

So that’s a wrap on this trending Thursday. It’s time for today's #DailyQuote from Steve Maraboli. He spells out what's necessary to apply to our lives and our gardens. “Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature."
 
What else is trending? Today marks my 1,111th post. Check back later for my #blogfor30.

© Images by Ann Bilowz – Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

If you like this blog, hope you check in for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bright Lights



If you can’t shake the chill of this January weather, consider some bright lights. No, not the ones with electricity but a favorite Swiss chard variety appropriately named, ‘Bright Lights.’ Roll over Spinach. Make room in your midspring to midsummer garden. ‘Bright Lights’ are coming. 

So why the big fuss over Swiss chard 'Bright Lights'? Well, if you notice such things, there’s a growing trend with well-designed produce gardens. This leafy variety offers as much splash as an array of choice annuals. With its bold spikes of color, Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’ is a ‘must have’.

While “Bright Lights’ can offer stunning ornamental value, this variety deserves recognition for more than its ‘WOW’ factor. Consider ‘Bright Lights’ when choosing a tasty green for your summer sautés. This variety is a bit milder and sweeter than spinach while adding colorful magic to a simple summer dish. I’m thinking ‘Bright Lights’ and garlic scapes – now that’s an ‘easy to sow and grow’ culinary delight.

Start thinking impact. Shine today’s spotlight on our favorite pick of the week.  Bring in the Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’ please. Plus it’s an easy design tip for your up and coming produce garden. Always combine color, texture, aesthetics…and we can’t forget flavor. Add ‘Bright Lights’ to your upcoming seed order. 

Before it’s a wrap on this Wednesday morning, make time to find your sea legs for growing a garden. For those who think it’s still too cold or too difficult to test the green thumb waters, Richie Norton shares this advice. “If everyone waited to become an expert before starting, no one would become an expert. To become an EXPERT, you must have EXPERIENCE. To get EXPERIENCE, you must EXPERIMENT! Stop waiting. Start stuff.”  

Turn on the ‘Bright Lights’. Great gardens here we come!

© Image by Greg Bilowz – Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights'

If you like this blog, hope you check in for your daily share's worth of inspiration, design, and garden tips; always original, not cookie cutter and copied. Just like our design work, we strive for unique! 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 LinkedIn and Houzz, too. Don’t forget Google+ where you can find us under Ann Bilowz and Bilowz Associates Inc.

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.)