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

Monday, March 31, 2014

March Content


March may be content to leave us with heavy rains. In fact, it may cause most of us to file this spring start under Z for Zzzzz’s. But don’t sleep right through it. The birds aren’t sleeping. This recent weather has brought a monsoon of feathery activity.   

While many of us fly on auto-pilot seeking those first, colorful signs of early spring, try to tread softly. Listen for the calls and songs of the returning birds. The only requirement - grab some weather gear and turn off the distractions, you know which ones fit this category.  When there’s nothing left to distract you, watch the best content March has to offer.  It’s the worm seeking, berry picking, bug loving birds too often taken for granted in our gardens throughout the year.

Yes, we anxiously await some colorful signs of spring but Sarah Ban Breathnach sums up our waiting with these simple words. “Whatever we are waiting for - peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance - it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.” 

On this last day of March, be grateful for those feathery friends – an integral part of a thriving garden. March is only content when the birds return. Before you know it, the Daffodils will be blooming. 

© 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, March 28, 2014

Another Special Rose


Flowers can open themselves up at an opportune time, like this Desert Rose (Adenium obesum). The last and only time this flower blossomed, it was in the heat of the summer; July 18 2011 to be exact. Here is the blog post that accompanied this wonderful eventFor some unknown reason, almost three years later, this Desert Rose has decided it is time to blossom again. 

Growing in these less than favorable New England conditions, it is forced to be an indoor/outdoor plant guest. It is certain to cause a bit of confusion for this Desert Rose. This is a plant that loves to be in dry, arid conditions; not necessarily watered and cared for but neglected a bit. Somehow it must be happy in its current indoor spot to produce this beautiful flower as spring starts to unfold.

And yes, this year more than others, we all wait for a true thaw, to at least touch the damp March soil rather than feel solid, still frozen ground.  We anxiously await a show of green, the blossoms popping up one by one, then all of a sudden, in massive clumps. The color overwhelms us. Our long winter waiting is over. We can officially embark on our spring garden journey. 

Mandy Hale sums it up best. “What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.”  How appropriate that this one special blossom occurs when the waiting seems hardest. 

Trust the process and look for your special Rose. What happens to us while we are waiting can be more important than what we are waiting for.

© Image by Ann Bilowz  Desert Rose (Adenium obesum)
 
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, March 24, 2014

Monday Imagery

Quiet reflective moments in nature to enjoy on your Monday. Still deciding the daily program for the spring, summer, fall blog season. I may need to spend less time writing and more time experiencing. Like the seasons, life is too darn short. So until then, hope you can at least enjoy the latest imagery. Just a few favorites I wanted to share. 

All images by Ann Bilowz 



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Welcome spring!

 Welcome this first day of spring. Finally, after a long winter we can officially say it and oh how good it feels. 
 Hopefully no more cat napping or hibernating indoors.
Just time to welcome spring! 

Images by Ann Bilowz

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Artistry


Spring waits in the shadows...enjoy your Saturday. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Big Splash


As these March morning temperatures start at 1.3 degrees (our average seasonal temperature; mid-40’s), one has to wonder if it’s an indication of a short summer season. It makes you reflect back to the history books regarding the summer of 1816 - the ‘summer that never was.’ Right now in Boston there’s a big splash dilemma - our famous duck boats are getting a late spring start. These amphibious contraptions aren’t meant to run on ice. 

But on the optimistic side, we’re all waiting for the big melt. Although it’s difficult, plan according to the calendar and not the current weather conditions. Even if it is hard to imagine, in the next 4 to 6 weeks we could have 75 to 80 degree weather.  It can happen quickly. The seasons transition rapidly and if you aren’t already on the fast track, you’ll find yourself behind. 

Just in case some might be considering the big splash for their own backyard this summer (i.e., pool or spa), your plans should be in progress now. Waiting until the weather breaks is not optimal. It takes time to properly sequence a pool project. Holding out may find you without.

Margaret Atwood reminds us just how fast the snow and ice can turn to water. “Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

© Copyright note: this image and 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 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. (Landscape architecture/Design/ Massachusetts.)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March=Maple


Today’s post may be a bit local but we need some maple sweetness to help with these cold New England temperatures.  And if you love to buy local, 'tis the season to take a back road trek. Make time for a visit to one of the many Massachusetts sugarhouses. Here’s where you can find the skinny on the locations and hours.

Okay, so many of us New Englanders have been there, done that with the sugarhouse demonstration of the maple sugar process. You're looking for something more.  There’s tremendous local effort put into celebrating this season and it’s not a long stretch.  Don’t miss out on this fun activity happening locally in this month of March.  You can find maple events taking place on the back roads of rural New England villages and towns.  Here in Massachusetts, there’s a Maple Recipe Contest and many other festivities to keep all things sweet. Interested in which Massachusetts craft brewers use maple syrup? You can click on this pdf. 

We use maple syrup in many recipes from marinades to barbeque sauce to vegetables or baked goods. Here’s an easy recipe to try with maple syrup. If you aren’t making your own homemade salad dressings, this simple concoction should convince you it is well worth it. We never buy bottled dressings. In this simple recipe, maple syrup takes the place of sugar plus it gives the greens a distinctive flavor. Click on this archived post - this maple syrup dressing goes back to May 2010 but it’s one you can use now.

With spring flowers and gardens in a standstill, try your hand in the kitchen with maple syrup. Make your own homemade dressings so when fresh greens from your garden or local farm stand become available, you’ll be a salad dressing pro. 

March = Maple (Sugar Maples and maple syrup) to sweeten our food and beverages while we wait for spring.  As Tom Stoppard reminds us, “A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.”  Spread the news about March = Maple. Pack up the wagon. It's syrup time again.

© Image of an Acer saccharum  (Sugar Maple) less a sap bucket 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, March 5, 2014

Spring’s Algorithm


On this #WordlessWednesday, today’s image expresses what we can’t contain – our longing for spring. Peter Hoeg asks this question. “Do you know what the mathematical expression is for longing? ... The negative numbers. The formalization of the feeling that you are missing something.”
Have you been longing for warmer days and flowers blooming?  Anyone who loves the spring season misses it during winters that shell out snow and frigid temperatures beyond belief. But the question is – are you ready? Do you have it all in place? The plans, the outdoor space that contains all the beautiful things you longed for and imagined during those negative number days?

We know mathematically that spring finally comes to fruition after winter leaves us. But are you ready to embrace those initial spring days starting March 20th?  Maybe the snow still hugs the frozen ground. The winds might howl, making it still feel like winter. Or worse, milder temperatures could tease us into thinking we’re out of the woods and boom, out of the blue, a snowstorm or some wet and wild weather pattern causes us to lose the spring spirit.

So get ready for that, especially if you live in New England. But on a day like today, despite a few snowflakes, let’s shake those negative numbers. If we long less as the positives add up, it eventually equals the start of spring. This algorithm, it works itself into what it is – a return to beautiful spring days just like this #WordlessWednesday design and image. Are you ready? Spring’s algorithm is ready to come into play.

© 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, March 4, 2014

Trees on Tuesday

If you need a #trend for Tuesday, let’s draw our attention to something bigger and better than what’s trending in the airwaves. Let’s go all out and get to the crux of what makes or breaks a great planting, which often includes large nursery stock.

Visiting a nursery to look at trees might still be on your outdoor backburner, but to get you focused, here’s a rerun form March 2011 to remind you that Trees-R-Us. If you click on the link, it’s a few of our tree picks and a reminder to get first dibs on the best of the best specimen trees. Plus, it keeps in theme with yesterday’s topic, which if you missed it, here it is again. And as an added bonus, another favorite to the Trees-R-Us list – it’s one that makes it into most of our plantings. Why? Because everyone falls in love with it – it’s the Sweet Bay Magnolia.

The fragrance of a Sweet Bay Magnolia is the number one reason to plant this rare native. Depending on form, in the plant world it can be considered a large shrub (15-20 ft.) or an ornamental tree. In mild winters it can hold onto some of its leaves, making it a quasi semi-evergreen. Its glory though is its bloom cycle. The intoxicating fragrance of one blossom in a saucer of water can overwhelm a room; superior to any of those fake plug-in air fresheners.

Its perfect location is adjacent to a terrace or outside a window where everyone hangs out. You can plant its understory with medium to low-growing shrubs, herbaceous perennials and groundcovers, adding to this spectacular garden moment.

As Marion Woodman once said, “The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or sweetness.” The Sweet Bay Magnolia is the perfect icing on the cake, especially after a long, cold winter.

Above excerpt on Sweet Bay Magnolia from our archived post, Have a Sweet Bay of a Day.

© Image by Greg Bilowz - Sweet Bay Magnolia Blossom 
Above excerpt on Sweet Bay Magnolia from our archived post, Have a Sweet Bay of a Day.

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, March 3, 2014

Plant Guardians

Though there’s always something worthy of writing about, it’s a valuable point to make about endangered species and rare plant materials on this March Monday morning.  Today’s thought provoking post stems from a recent article, ‘How to Help Save Rare Plants by becoming a Plant Heritage Guardian’.  Though it comes from across the pond, it should intrigue all gardeners worldwide, specifically those here in the U.S. green and design industry to take a closer look.
In the last few years, just in our neck of the woods, a few of our favorite specialty nurseries that cater to carrying the unusual plant materials closed up shop. Whether it’s the struggling economy, the age of the owners or just a shift of interest, it seems that finding unusual plants as well as the invaluable knowledge of these astute nursery folks, well, it's going by the wayside.
While there’s genuine garden excitement that brews in these first weeks of March, it's often lost in the rest of the hyped-up spring, summer activities. So let’s pitch a new theme on this March 3rd morning. Let’s take an individual vow to become a plant guardian.
Whether you're the keeper of some rare plant materials or just take a deeper interest in the overall garden world, one important and often overlooked component is the face behind these plants.  To keep a steady stream of invaluable knowledge trickling down to the next generation, it takes active participation or else many of these faces behind the plants are lost. Much like our local farmers, most of the current plant guardians (specialty nurseries) have an average age of 60. 
We should be following the Brits’ lead. Let's look closely at being a plant guardian. The Brits take all of this a tad more seriously than us. They’ve been collecting longer and have a few hundred years up on North America but we shouldn’t just expect someone else to pick up the pieces. We should take it to heart and be our own plant guardians.
On that note, let’s call it a Monday wrap. Are you ready to take on this March challenge? In the words of Cicero, “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things." It doesn't take many words to make a point.
Image by Greg Bilowz © Crocus sativus: Saffron Crocus
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

My photo

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

© 2009

© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)