BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Cardinal’s Spring Song

Yesterday, a brilliant red Cardinal caught my eye.  Although plenty of these birds have been flitting about, this one stopped me because of where it perched itself.  This brilliant red Cardinal chose the branch of the blooming Forsythia – a red flash within a mass of yellow buds. This Cardinal wanted me to notice it, reminding me once again of that beautiful spring morning, April 3rd, 2014. It was that morning when one minute my usual routine was flowing without incident until suddenly, within hours, things changed. A part of me was broken; forced to stop, slow down.

On this last day of April I share an entry I wrote on April 3rd. It comes from my morning pages. These morning pages are similar to a daily journal but it’s not a list of goals or what I plan to accomplish during the day. This year, each entry in my morning pages is to focus on one word. I have been writing these morning entries for 3 years. I think this routine has expanded my writing from technical tidbits to observations. It also helped me branch out and experience taking my own images and making it a part of the creative process. But the intention of each blog post has remained steady since I started them in June 2009 – to inspire someone somewhere that experiencing nature, a garden, getting immersed in the landscape is a wonderful thing. This early morning routine, these morning pages help me prepare to write a blog post each day. It’s a bit like stretching before you take a long run.  And though I’ve never shared an entry from my morning pages, this below entry reminds me of how important it is to listen to the Cardinal’s spring song when you hear it sing.

 “April 3, 2014 – Today the word to focus on is song. As I hear the birds singing, a very welcoming sign of spring, I want to focus more on the beauty of the song than just words. Lately it has been hard for me to look at my writing as work anymore. I am asking for guidance as to what talents I should put forth. So I shall listen and focus on the song – what can be heard in its rhythm, its cadence.

What is there about music that can lift us or in some cases, bring us down? I have been in a stagnant state since returning from Florence – the city of art. I am looking for my art. And if art is not what my work shall be than help me find it. Let me be something, rather than nothing in the presence of this beautiful spring morning. Let my writing be fulfilling and not just words randomly shooting in the air looking for landing. Let my art be not lost but meaningful – until then, I shall focus on the song.”

Sometimes this is the reason why we break - whether it’s a routine out of sync or something more traumatic that changes things a bit. We are forced to stop and listen rather than create. And because my focus has been on healing and finding some sense of a routine, I still ask myself will I write each day? Not because I don’t love to write, not because there is a lack of things to say. But when the Cardinal perches itself in the blooming Forsythia, maybe we are just meant to listen to its spring song. What one word will you focus on today?

 ©Camellia - 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, April 28, 2014

Treat Every Day Like It Is Your First


A simple Monday thought as the first Tulip in the garden sprung up this morning. Doused with plenty of rain this weekend, this morning’s sunshine brought this first Tulip to life. It’s just a reminder to treat every day like it is your first. That is the spirit of spring; it is what every day is truly all about. And as we venture into the beauty of the season, remember that there is always a surprise in each day, even when there could be clouds of doubt.  
  
This as it is close to wrapping up the month of April, where very few blogs were written this month.  This post written on April 3rd, 2014  was to celebrate the month of landscape architecture. After I posted this blog, I took my usual hike with my dogs. But there was one tweet I sent out prior to venturing off that morning before my hiking accident. Something made me stop to tweet this before I strapped on my hiking boots to celebrate that beautiful April morning with my dogs. “Some people spend their lifetime chasing awards only to find it’s a piece of paper attached to a board. #dogood first - the world follows.”

With two days left in April, there is still time to celebrate the spirit of spring and the month of Landscape Architecture. But first and foremost, always treat every day like it is your first. #Dogood first – the world follows.  

A special thank you to Mary for your kind words of support and congrats on the book!

 © The first Tulip - 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.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#TrendingThursday = Daffodils


On this blustery Thursday, it amazes me how the Daffodils remain strong in stature, not bothered by the bends and twists of the wind. Rather, it is the sun that makes this Daffodil beautiful by its lonesome. Though I was only able to take a few strides, limited to this Daffodil, crutches locked snug beneath my arm pits, I wondered if these strong gusts of wind might topple me as I maneuvered to capture an image. To my surprise, this Daffodil posed quite nicely.  By chance, despite the durable equipment constraints, I was able to capture its spring beauty.  As Jonah Lehrer said in “Imagine: How Creativity Works”, “…the imagination is unleashed by constraints. You break out of the box by stepping into shackles.” On this #TrendingThursday, look for the Daffodils bending in today’s wind.

© 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, April 18, 2014

Spring = Tulips


Wishing all a Happy Easter weekend…and when you need a hint of spring, try Tulips.

© 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, April 15, 2014

Spring’s Strength

It’s an archive post from last year, April 16th, 2013. It’s just a reminder about the strength of Boston despite all that occurred one year ago today to weaken the spirit. It's a day most of us will never forget but let’s remember the rally, the strength, the day after when all pulled together. 

And as it rains on this one year anniversary, the vital rain that strengthens our trees, our plants, and our earth - today it's important to remember spring’s strength. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”  One of my favorite archived images – and it’s this year’s perennial, too!
 
A small P.S. 

I also rely on the strength of this spring to get me back up on my two feet again.  Another 6 to 8 weeks before things are back to what I hope to be a normal pace. It's worth another shout out to the first responders (EMS, Fire & Police) and those in the medical field that help us heal - thank you! 


© 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, April 7, 2014

A break in the posts

There's been a break in the April blog post flow - literally and it may be that way for a bit. This morning's post is not about design or garden related tips but a special thank you for a group of folks that too often are overlooked - the Sterling PD, the Sterling fire and rescue and our local dog officer. Thank you for the assistance on my mishap last Thursday. Never once did I doubt that you could haul me out safely as we (me & the dogs) patiently waited for your help. Thank you from my two border collies, too - they so appreciated the extra kindness and special treatment as I was rushed to the hospital. 

No, you never expect on a beautiful spring Thursday as you walk with your dogs, negotiating a steep hill with ice you might fall a mile and a 1/2 out, unable to move or get up. You never expect to end up in surgery and a corner room at the hospital for four days. 

But what can be expected is the reliable service of those that serve - thank you to the Sterling Police (Officer Johnson who located me first and offered his coat and gloves to keep me warm) and dispatch for staying on the line and listening to my coordinates to help find us in the woods while we waited for the Sterling Fire dept. to do what they do every day - stabilize and rescue. All of this being done when they were in a precarious situation of hurting themselves, too. And one big, extra thanks to our animal control officer that went above and beyond to bring my dogs home rather than to the town kennel. It's little things like this that can make all the difference. 

That can be the benefit of living in a small, rural New England town. Often times, metro folks don't even know where Sterling is. But we are lucky to call Sterling our home because of small but important times like this. And to every nurse, aide, doctor, surgeon at Health Alliance, many thanks to getting me back here - home. Yeah! And doing it all with such gentle and considerate care. And I can't forget Verizon wireless because if it wasn't for their signal, well, enough said. 

I'm just glad for the little things in life too often overlooked including the first blossom in the garden.  Greg caught the image so I could share it with all of you today. 

Image by Greg Bilowz (First blossom in the garden today)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stem to Stem

Stem to Stem

Do you ever think about the simple functionality of a stem? To keep it simple, that part of the plant that serves as a pump or its circulatory system? It’s amazing how much movement actually takes place in this often underrated but essential piece of these living things we call plants.  We focus elsewhere but the stem is vital and too often overlooked.

So let’s take a peek at another STEM. It’s the buzz word/acronym for what’s critical in today’s educational process – SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, & MATHEMATICS. So why compare a plant’s stem to this STEM?

For starters, April is the month to celebrate Landscape Architecture, an often misunderstood discipline. Why?  Because the often overlooked is its STEM-related parts (SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, & MATHEMATICS) that all roll into one. This dynamic design piece (landscape architecture) is overshadowed by so many competing parts. It’s not viewed as what it is - a vital function made up of science, technology, engineering and mathematics that serve as the circulatory pump in creating a successful end result.   

That’s it in a nutshell – don’t underestimate the stem of a plant or the STEM parts of the educational process. And in the field of landscape architecture, all parts of the stem apply. In the words of Ian McHarg, “I believe that it is accurate to state that no other profession has achieved as rapid a transformation from oblivion to social significance than Landscape Architecture.”  

Celebrate the month of April – landscape architecture, Stem to Stem; it’s the circulatory pump in creating a successful end result.

© 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, April 2, 2014

Wednesday’s Limes


No pun intended on this wordless Wednesday - there's only a few lines of prose to offer today, especially when the only tree in blossom, well, it's the indoor Lime basking in the morning sun. It was deemed worthy of a wordless Wednesday image accompanied by the usual quote. 

Today's bit of wisdom (in the form of a Jennifer Paterson quote) offers a couple of citrus tips.  No deep philosophical or inspirational thinking. In this case, not even lime but lemon tips. Yes, our indoor/outdoor Meyer Lemon tree should offer a blossom soon as well. 

Paterson shares these lemon tips, one I’ve done and one worth a go! “Never throw away squeezed lemon but keep them for the day by the sink. Then you can use them to remove fish, onion or garlic smells from your fingers. Or you can stick them on your elbows while you are reading a book to soften and whiten your skin.” Now there’s a picture worth sharing – someone reading a book with cut lemons on their elbows. If it made you laugh, mission accomplished. #WordlessWednesday  on this April morning.

© 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, April 1, 2014

In the Heart of it All


Stepping into April and what a grand month it shall be.  What are you planting as we step into spring? Get excited. In the heart of it all, this April 1st, we can see it unfold. It’s really here - #Spring2014.   

© 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.

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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/

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© 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.)