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, February 28, 2014

Weather Extremes


On this last Friday of February, let’s talk about one of New England's favorite topics - the weather. And though today's top image is idyllic New England, this post stretches from coast to coast. It's not about our frigid temperatures but overall weather extremes.

For those that follow as a regular read, there's been mention of the troubling drought in California. Unfortunately, what often happens when we experience such weather extremes - well, look at what's occurring with California's current conditions.  Major storm systems are producing lots of water but way too fast. These types of storms can often be more devastating than the drought itself.

We should be paying attention to California for more than one reason. First, weather conditions in California trickle down to the food chain. This, despite all efforts to buy and produce locally, a lot of our east coast produce comes from California. Right now, what could be worse for these farmers is too much water all at once.

From drought to flood, these extreme weather conditions plague farms, homes and also the clean water supply. It’s one of our industry's (landscape architects) focal points - that stormwater management is an integral building block in any resilient design.

To give you a better understanding of what this actually means, here is a must read link regardless of your profession. This recently updated EPA national stormwater calculator is worth the look. It’s a definite click for developers, planners and landscape architects but also for those curious about the importance of stormwater management. It supports the reason why landscape architects are an integral building block in any resilient design process.

So on this #FF (FollowFriday), take your pick. You can look at the weather maps or pay attention to how all weather extremes impact our future. Maria V. Synder, meteorologist turned novelist sums it up best. “There’s always another storm. It’s the way the world works; snowstorms, rainstorms, windstorms, sandstorms, and firestorms. Some are fierce and others are small. You have to deal with each one separately, but you need to keep an eye on what’s brewing for tomorrow.”


© Top Image - Ann Bilowz - Bottom image - 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, February 27, 2014

Hand-me Down Garden Tips



Malcolm Gladwell stated in his book, ‘The Tipping Point’, “There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.”

So let’s get to it – a few one-word topics on this #ThrowbackThursday. It's a list of garden hand-me down tips. Check them off before March 20th, 2014. Yes, spring is just 21 days away and counting –click here for the current countdown clock. That is, if you don't believe me. But back to the one-word topics, it's #Throwback Thursday so let’s talk old and recycled stuff.

Heirloom – Most in the garden world know what 'Heirloom' means so consider making your planting palette more than the latest and greatest cultivars. Choose something from a past era, something listed as ‘Heirloom’. Test an heirloom Apple tree, a Rose, or start small with tomatoes. There are many to choose from and some to avoid. Use your favorite search engine button – insert heirloom varieties and take your pick. Make this a fun learning experiment to try out this year. If you already plant heirlooms, share your favorites and include the why. 

Compost – Now we’re talking throwbacks and tidbits of recyclables. Rather than toss fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, egg shells, leaf and grass clippings in the trash, all those would-be throwaways become part of a grand compost mix. Hopefully you’ve been collecting and turning your own throughout the course of this winter. Every time there was a tiny glimmer of thaw, determined me would put on the Muck boots and give the soil soufflĂ© a stir. It’s a small winter task that keeps us connected to the garden. It’s also a must-do when cooking the compost. Plus, there’s nothing better than this organic mix you make yourself. And remember, no chemicals on the lawns if you intend to use grass clippings in the compost bin.

Seeds – Still haven’t gone through last year’s collection? Remember to weed out any packets with past due expiration or else…Well, if you want good yield any of the old seeds kicking around won’t warrant a full crop. It’s been talked about before but this is the time for pre-spring seed cleaning. Plus, getting new mixed in with the retired might create a bit of garden chaos.

Let's call it a wrap on this #ThrowbackThursday of repackaged information. Hopefully, it's been given to you in the right circumstances. Twenty-one days to go with this rather harsh, cold winter. Well, it shouldn't take much to make this coming spring irresistible. All you need is a bit of inspiration and some hand-me down garden tips on this #ThrowbackThursday.

Image by Ann Bilowz - Last Year's Inventory of Brandywine Tomatoes (An Heirloom cultivar)
Inspector Ben on the clock - Border collies need jobs; one of the many. 

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When It Is...



On this #WordlessWednesday, a favorite spring perennial and a #DailyQuote. It’s from Mitch Albom. “It is never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be.”

© Image by Greg Bilowz – Helleborus foetidus in the spring garden
 
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, February 25, 2014

Trendy Tuesday

While there may be a few more snowflakes and blustery winter days before launching garden-first into spring, let's take a peek into one of the hottest 2014 trends - outdoor furniture.  Gone are the days of rickety wooden park benches. The design of current outdoor furniture is far from boring. Let’s use a few buzz words that might fit - contemporary, chic, comfortable, a place to chill or stretch. Just take a peek at this article posted in the ‘The Dirt,’ titled ‘The Humble Public Bench becomes Comfortable, Inclusive and Healthy.’  Check out what’s coming to a park near you. 

But let’s switch from parks to your own backyard getaway. One of the many things often overlooked when designing an outdoor living space is exactly how one plans to entertain. When you plan on entertaining outdoors, it requires similar accommodations and features you would when designing an indoor space.

Let’s talk lighting, outdoor kitchen elements, seating for large crowds, the intimate spaces, including heat for chilly evenings. The trick is when it’s empty, without the flow of people moving about the space, the outdoor area should still exude elegance and simplicity. You don’t want cluttered and disorganized. Remember, it’s just like an indoor living space. 


Switching back to furniture styles, there’s a huge difference between seating used for dining versus lingering, relaxing, or reading a book. It’s one of the reasons we love implementing sitting walls to incorporate with your outdoor furniture choices. This expands the capacity of the space without cluttering the view.
As always when it comes to the latest trends, you may include an eclectic piece or two. Some may stay with a style that’s been around for ages. Others may delve into the organic, natural look or incorporate a bit of each without making it look disjointed or disconnected.

Andrew James Pritchard says this about artists but the same rings true for all of us that want to delve into the creative. “Artists shouldn't wait until they are told what their art should be; they shouldn't follow trends or allow other people to influence their work. An artist should only create from the strongest emotions within their heart.” 

What's in your heart to create this spring?

© These images and design 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.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Why of Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel in Bloom

With the social media world being boiled down to one word eye-catchers, despite its claim to ‘content’, let's make this Monday morning easy reading. Rather than indulge in long renditions of what we should look for while walking in the woods or what to plant come spring, here are some ‘one word’ eye catchers for why Witch Hazel.

Native
(Even the hybrids fit perfectly in a native setting.)

Tolerant
 (This native understory species can thrive in shade or full sun.)

Early
(Its frost proof blossoms are the earliest signs of spring color in the local landscape; a color for everyone – yellow, orange, red and sunburst.)

Fragrant
(Most varieties offer a beautiful, light perfume fragrance.)

Foliage
(All have an amazing show of fall color from yellow to sunburst to brilliant red.)

Structure
(Its form gives us something we need, especially in winter: four-season interest.)

Are you a Witch Hazel lover? List your favorite variety/cultivar and why. As Dejan Stojanovic reminds us with today's #DailyQuote, “There is always the question why and there is always life,which doesn't need an answer.” That’s the beauty of the Witch Hazel. It’s one of those magical woodland shrubs - so alive.

Witch Hazel in Bloom

© Images by Greg Bilowz 


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.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Done with Snow Angels




This is a quick Saturday post to put in a refreshed link for yesterday's post, 'What to Follow.'
There were some updates on the twitter links for our email subscribers so take another peek. Plus, I just loved this morning's image that typically would only be shared on Facebook or Twitter. I wanted to share it with those that follow us in other places. Until then, enjoy this beautiful Saturday weather and get out and make the last of the snow angels.

© Image by Ann Bilowz

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, February 21, 2014

What to Follow

There’s a #hashtag that swirls around in the Twitter world on Friday. It’s called #FF (FollowFriday) and it’s meant to tell your followers about tweets they might like. Some of my blog readers aren’t Twitter users and I must admit, it’s not my forte, either. However, I do jump into the fray of it when I can. So rather than do a bunch of #FF (FollowFriday) and retweet twitter names only, here are my Friday choices below with some backup on why to follow them, too.

First and foremost, it starts with our weather. Of course, that’s local but for Friday’s tweets, I prefer @fox25News  forecast– “Rainy Friday to give way to beautiful weekend.” If you follow @ToddWBZ, he looks too far ahead. He gives us the bummer factor when he shares what might come next Wednesday. Say it ain't so, Todd. Please, no more snow!

Despite that New Englanders have experienced a harsh, cold winter, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, the #California #Drought is just as hard on one's garden psyche. Here’s an article retweeted by @Food_Tank regarding the California Organic Dairy Farmers hit by this weather cycle.

Need to see a positive side to this situation? @RussBishopPhoto displays an amazing #California#sunset image. Who doesn’t need beautiful photography to help them envision the moment, especially one like this?

But let’s shift to garden shows, which can be a saving grace as we finish these last weeks of winter. Share your favorites happening in your neck of the woods. My choice today is based on this Friday's weather, which reminds me of London. Check out @The_RHS tweeting about the RHS London Plant and Design Show. Gazing at their many shared images might be enough plant and design porn to make you feel like you’re really at the show. And if nothing else convinces you that you landed in London, today’s drizzle and snizzle might cinch the deal.

Okay, so we need something tangible, something to hold in our own hands while we wait for the first spring flowers to pop. Call me old-school but I still appreciate a hard-copy of a colorful garden book. Here’s what looks to be a great one that could balance out your garden collection. And if you have a garden, every gardener must have a reliable reference library. Although I’ve not been able to take a sneak peek at 'Plants with Benefits,’ author @HelenYoest makes it appealing with her post today.  It’s a dinner made on Valentine’s eve, created by one of her readers and inspired by ‘Plants with Benefits’. Consider following her or buying the book. Yoest gives plenty of reasons to energize even the sleepy gardener that it’s time to start digging in the soil come spring.

Speaking of books, if you missed this Tuesday’s post, here’s another great keeper for the garden reference library. You can check out @gardenerd1 for her latest tweets, too. Okay, one more - if you want to take a minute to smell the Roses, @RedneckRosarian is worthy of sniffing out to make your Friday bearable. Plus, you can learn a lot about Roses along the way.

There are so many more to mention but these are the ones fresh in mind. That’s it in a #FF nutshell from @annbilowz. Let’s hope you didn’t get hashtagged # out. Now lace up your boots and venture outdoors. Yes, get out there. Begin to explore. There is much to plan before we launch this wonderful season of spring.

It may be in the plans to tend a tiny flower bed or an urban container garden. Maybe you plant some shrubs or an ornamental tree. You may visit a local farmer and buy their goods. You may consider plunging in head first and producing some of your own. You might use these last few weeks of winter to stroll through your local park or if inspired enough, consider creating your own park-like setting in the now blah backyard.

Want the basics for understanding landscape architecture and all great design? It starts with creating and enjoying what you love. It’s not all the flash and the latest trends. Though some of this guides us with what to expect and what we can and can’t do ourselves. And remember, even with social media tools, we should #FF follow what we love.

Before I shove off, this is for those that appreciate the #DailyQuote. Found in Twitterville, it's worth repeating today. It's the words of Henry Ford. “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”

Our goal - to keep you excited for that first day of #Spring. It’s coming soon. Follow your calendar. There aren’t many days of winter left so be ready with your plans to make it your best yet. And when and if we hit a few more obstacles from old man winter, keep your eyes on the goal. #Spring is just around the corner.

© Image by Greg Bilowz

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, February 20, 2014

Scroogle & Celebrate


 
 
In New England, there’s enough sand and salt on the roads we might just be able to create our own beach. Factor in soon-to-be melting snow piles and you see what I mean. This morning’s sunshine after two days of snow is a welcoming break, which begs the question, why post on such a beautiful spring-like day? Let's do a scratch and sniff test. Can you sense a hint of spring in the air? Let’s make it official - Scroogle and celebrate.

As T. F. Hodge reminds us, “Being thankful for and celebrating what is attracts more of what can and will be.” Have you paid attention to the bird calls lately? It’s the first true notes of spring on its way. So let’s think these warm melting thoughts to keep snow and cold off our doorsteps for the next few weeks.

For our west coast counterpart, California, we wish you a bit of rain. Let’s give them something to celebrate. Drought conditions can be as rough on the garden psyche as this past winter has been for all of us in the Eastern part of the United States. Get your garden plans ready - SPRING is ready to launch!

P.S. Post your thoughts on what the definition of ‘Scroogle’ is…a word made up for today to say, well, what do you think? 

© Image by Ann Bilowz
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, February 19, 2014

Wednesday's Quest


It's a wordless Wednesday with one big question. Are you ready for spring? Counting down the days...where will you be spending your outdoor time when spring finally arrives? Do you have your plans in place? That's it in a nutshell...not even a quote.

©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. 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, February 18, 2014

#TrendingNow



#Snow maps feel like an everyday occurrence. Our fearless groundhog must be gloating on his grand performance. There might actually be a speck of meteorological value to the furry critter’s predictions, at least if you look at this winter’s weather patterns.

So on goes the battle as we dodge another wintery mix. It might be convincing many to jump into the whole outdoor living experience sooner than spring. Your mind is made up - your adventurous plans are underway. And if you had a chance to catch yesterday’s post, starting your own vegetable garden could make this year’s list.

But let’s delve back further. It’s a post from last spring; a book review - ‘To Be or Not to Be a Garden Geek’. Tailored for those making the big jump into a vegetable garden, this quick read is also recommended for the serious ‘Geek’ gardeners. It’s a definite keeper for the reference shelves. This book serves much like a well-worn tool, something you want by your garden side when spring finally arrives. It’s the reason why ‘Gardening for Geeks’ deserves another preview performance.

It's an all-in-one, comprehensive book. Its main feature is its simple default language yet it offers something of value to all levels of garden expertise. Wilhelmi takes a complicated subject matter and translates it into easy terminology, allowing all levels to venture into outdoor living, gardens and all things green. Her instructive book offers knowledge as well as the crucial step by step ways to make a garden happen. And it all comes in digestible, bite size chapters.

So that’s a wrap as the snowflakes swirl.The groundhog said it won’t be spring for a few more weeks. Let the wise words of Robert Frost remind us, “You can’t get too much winter in the winter.” Let’s ask everyone tomorrow.

© Winter Image - Greg Bilowz

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, February 17, 2014

We Are Our Choices


When we got our first border collie in the early 90’s, there was a controversy brewing between the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the working Border collie community. In 1994, this breed finally became recognized by the AKC. Our current Border collies, very different in personality came into the scene in the mid 2000’s. So why bring up this controversy, which still exists in the breeds’ working community today? And how in the heck does it relate to landscape design and garden thoughts for the day?

It reminds me of another controversy that currently exists between the Genetically Modified Seeds, Crops, Food, etc., versus traditional. Let’s switch back to the Border collies for a minute and how does this relate? In the case of Border collies, when do you breed out what is meant to be their best qualities - its herding and intelligence as a trade-off for confirmation? This was and continues to be the bone of contention between the working Border collie community and the AKC.

When it comes to our food, seeds and the genetic engineering standards and methods used in the United States, this controversy is on a fast boil or a slow simmer, depending if you pay attention to such things. One current debate - unlike other countries, there is no requirement for the United States to label food that contains genetically modified ingredients. You can read about it in the excerpt below. It's from a recent article dated last Friday, February 14th.

“GMA FIRES BACK AT DR. OZ: The Grocery Manufacturers Association is defending the use of genetically modified ingredients in food following questions raised over their safety on the Dr. Oz Show today. The segment was titled, “No to GMOs: The Global Conspiracy to Keep you from Knowing the Truth About your Food.” In a statement posted to the show’s website, GMA says, “Providing consumers with safe products is our number one priority, and we understand that some consumers have questions about genetically modified food ingredients. Genetically modified ingredients are not only safe for people and our planet, but also have a number of important benefits.” This is not the first time Mehmet Oz has used his TV show to take on GMOs. He also asked about their safety in a segment that aired in 2010.”

Back to dogs and how this relates. When looking for our two current Border collies, I reached out to breeders and rescue shelters for our next two pups. I recall one stating, “Whatever you decide to do, know that your new dog will not be like your other dog in the past.” She told me in a roundabout way that I would notice inherent changes in the temperament of the breed.

Without stepping into the current debate swirling about GM anything, it's paying attention to what it is. As Jean-Paul Sarte stated, “We are our choices.” What do you think?

© Images of our Border collies

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, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

It's a no-frills Valentine's Day card. It's short and sweet. If you aren't in the snow zone, consider yourself lucky. But the weather folks enjoy telling us there's more on the way.

So that's it in a nutshell. Can't say I love this snow, especially since it was mixed with sleet & rain.  But I do love Valentine's Day. It gives us 'tired of winter' garden lovers something to celebrate!

And though I've used this quote before, it seems appropriate for today. Margaret Atwood sums it up best. "The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love." Could someone please tell me when I moved to Alaska?

Signed, 

The Tired Gardener, Waiting for Spring.
 
And please do follow us in all the social places. Twitter, Google+, Facebook and more or you can visit our website, Bilowz Associates Inc.

Image by Ann Bilowz

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day

For all my email subscribers, it's been a week since a daily email with our blog posts has come to your inbox. No worries. I'm still here and yes, I'm still writing daily to my dedicated readers. Unfortunately, like this abandoned building (yes, it's one of my images but no time to Photoshop © Image by Ann Bilowz) I might have to abandon the email subscriber list and ask that you follow us some other way. I know most of you are tried and true email subscribers and you like it served to you via the email plate but I'm giving it one last ditch attempt to try something suggested by a techie, which if this doesn't work...well, let's keep our fingers crossed this makes it to you. And if it does, these are the posts you missed, starting with today to last Thursday. 
The Pressed Rose 
The Wednesday 'Why'
Covers & Shells
Got Houseplants
Task Versus The Volcano
And last but not least, Catch & Release.

And for the question asked by one of my email followers, the # in front of words is for Twitter. So if you don't like Twitter, don't worry. I'm not changing the English language.And hopefully this post makes it there as an automated post on Twitter as well.

Signing off so if you cant' find us in your email box, you can go direct to our website, click on the blog button or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ where the posts are always linked.

And yes, this image is not from today....lots more covering up the streets and the roadways. Everything is closed except for us it seems - it's officially a snow day.

The Pressed Rose



As a major storm is set to move in across the New England region, it may put a damper on the florists and other green industry folks that live and work hard for tomorrow’s Love Fest Holiday. This storm could force the celebration to subside for a day but a memory like this pressed Rose forces us to look back to a different season.

For those that remember this special Rose, it received a lot of attention in October. This particular archived post was called, ‘Pressed for Time.’ Hope you take a peek to read the story and to see what this special Rose looked like in the fall.

Today, this pressed Rose serves as a reminder of what makes us strong despite the storms. An unknown author once said, "Even if love is full of thorns, I'd still embrace it for I know that in between those thorns, there is a rose that's worth all the pain."

And don’t forget the flowers or a plant, even if it ends up being a day or two late. Celebrate this magical day. There is something wonderful about smelling a Rose in the midst of a winter storm. Until then, it’s the memory of a pressed Rose.

© Image of the Pressed #BostonStrong Rose by Ann Bilowz

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, February 12, 2014

The Wednesday ‘Why’

Did you ever wonder what a pine cone really is? Well, just for starters, a pine cone is not a seed and it’s not a fruit. Think of a pine cone as its own architecture, its home, its shelter. This definition from the UCC Biology Department might help explain that thought. A pine cone is “a cluster of highly modified woody scales tightly packed together to protect the developing conifer seeds inside.”

Pine cones are fairly common so what’s the big deal? In the forests you find them everywhere, cluttered around the understory of a towering Pine tree. But when I spot just one pine cone, like this single one resting on the snow, I stop to ask, why is it here? The wheels start turning. Here’s my next post. But it’s not that easy to sum up how one pine cone is symbolic of this year’s winter experience and why. But one quick hint - we are more like this pine cone than we might know.

Get ready for more sleet, ice, snow…it depends on your location but there’s something in common with this pine cone as we tightly pack ourselves together in our highly modified woody scales (our shelter, our homes). One thing is for certain, we are getting ready for that warm spring when all our winter garden and design plans come alive.

Let’s wrap up this post on a pre-Valentine note with a Nicholas Sparks quote. “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” You can learn a lot from a single pine cone resting on the snow. Bundle up, hunker down, there’s less than 36 days and counting until spring. And don’t forget the Rose, the chocolates, the bling….

© Image by Ann Bilowz

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, February 11, 2014

Covers & Shells



We are fast approaching Valentine’s Day, a time of kindness, a day to celebrate love. Although many may still be hibernating from snowstorms and bone chilling cold, let’s embrace these final weeks of winter, its covers and shells. Andrew Wyeth once said, "I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show." Wyeth knew there was something special that waited under the protective layers of it all. Everything needs protection when it is fragile or cold.

Think what you can find enclosed in a circle, whether it’s a tiny shelled egg in a bird’s nest or seeds, plants and trees with its roots hidden beneath the snow. There is protection, a cover, a shell that soon shall be lifted but we are given winter so the ‘whole story doesn’t show.’ We celebrate this holiday, Valentine's Day, in the midst of cold because we need to remember that it’s a time to embrace kindness, a time to celebrate love. Embrace what protects us, those that we keep close.

This Valentine’s Day you can buy the dozen of Roses and the box of chocolates but there’s something more important – it’s what's hidden beneath the snow. It’s your garden - the soil, the roots, even the tools hidden in the potting shed. It’s your forgotten containers and urns waiting for the 2014 Petunia selection to make a stunning debut.

So when you grumble and search for the mittens, the covers and the shells to protect us from this bone chilling winter day, think what waits beneath the snow. And think Valentine’s Day to help you remember what we embrace eventually blossoms and grows.

© February Petunia Thoughts © Image by Ann Bilowz

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, February 10, 2014

Got Houseplants




Many of us are still buried knee-deep in winter thoughts. Despite all the seed, plant and design talk you can find in our daily posts, it can be hard to concentrate on something colorful and magical. Take for instance this beautiful Begonia ‘Phoe’s Cleo’ in bloom.



Yes, this was tweeted and put on our Facebook page but some of you may only subscribe to the daily posts.  For the email subscribers, let’s see if today you receive one or 3 or none. Uugh - just like our plants can catch them, another technical bug to sort out. But back to today’s subject at hand – houseplants.

What’s the big deal about this particular Begonia? Well, it's one of those plants that went downhill, almost from the start. Logical folks might give up; toss it away. For those who struggle with ‘green thumb’ phobia, listen up. Losing plants may be an everyday occurrence but I don’t lose plants.  Even the underdogs that look like goners, I often try to resuscitate and bring them back to life. This Begonia was down to one scrawny leaf, diseased with bugs and ready for the 'Tossed' or 'Lost' list. Most intelligent people, even plant lovers would reason and state, “Sorry Begonia. But I think we’ve seen better days.” Of course, this past summer, I gave it one last chance. I stuck it outdoors and let it do its thing. When the weather changed, I brought it inside. I replenished its soil and gave it a new pot. It received less water and frankly a lot less love. But sometimes, like this Begonia and this longer than usual, unbearable winter, the message is - ‘Don’t give up.’

Deepak Chopra states, “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” Winter serves as a constant reminder that sometimes we must sit still. When you need to have some movement and chaos, get yourself a temperamental houseplant. And don’t forget that spring sneaks up on us, so be prepared. Until then, ‘Phoe’s Cleo’ and her beautiful blossoms keep color and magic alive.

© Images by Ann Bilowz

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, February 7, 2014

Task versus the Volcano


An industry colleague mentioned at a trade show recently that his liner company (a supplier for tree liners to the green industry) has booming sales. The dilemma  – his company is struggling to keep up with its increased volume due to a shortage in labor. You see, these aren’t the jobs of the future so these are the tough jobs to fill.

Segue into another trade show conversation and the talk is all about technology. No industry goes unscathed from the constant bombardments and technological changes. So once you clear through the chatter, the resonating message or trend (regardless of industry) is exactly what my headline states – TASK VERSUS THE VOLCANO. There’s a struggle to keep up and before it’s apparent, we are slaves to the technology rather than the task at hand.



Let’s touch upon the technology our industry, the landscape architectural and design world must keep up when displaying a vision; talk about #BlurredLines. The task is creating the vision while technology serves to implement our creative concept to many hands and minds. We see it all too often. LA graduates are whizzes at technology but cannot vision the actual creative and planning process that makes everything gel and come together. In other words, don’t confuse the tools you use with the actual task.

Think less about technology when the tool enslaves you, when it removes you from the task at hand. Most of us, if not all, love the technological achievements when it makes a process faster, more efficient but we buck when the actual task becomes blurred or worse, lost. Douglas Adams sums up today’s post best. “We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

So after you read, share, tweet or place your comments, consider turning off the technology for a moment. Remember this daily blog’s task is to get you outdoors, order your seeds, plant some herbs, or create your garden space. Spring is a handful of weeks away… until then, celebrate by buying yourself a rose today.



© Photography - 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.

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.)