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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Call it a Wrap

‘Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.”
"Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.”
Wrapping up 2014, this anonymous quote reminds me, "Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” Ah, the beauty of kicking off a brand new year; lots to tackle, resolve and set into gear. 

This social media truck of blog postings and tidbits (1,280 as of today) shall continue as it relates to landscape design and architecture, garden living, outdoor thoughts and trends but it’s always a question of how to make it more informative, interesting and content-enriched. It’s just par for the social media New Years’ resolution.Yes, this blog zone is unchartered creative space with one primary intention - to always be inspirational in this wonderful world of green. But as Hal Borland points out, “Each new season grows from the leftovers from the past.” So you might see repeat topics or subjects unless you ask. Hint, hint – send questions, comments, suggestions, feedback.Now it’s time to call it a wrap. But before the clock strikes midnight, to old acquaintances and new, may 2015 be a healthy and prosperous year for you; plus a big ‘Thanks’ for making 2014 a blast. 

©Image by Ann Bilowz

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, December 24, 2014

We Wish You a Merry…


© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc. 

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.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Season is Green

The Kissing Ball is decorative and beautiful swaying in the wind
Do you decorate with fresh greens during the holiday season? There’s a bundle of goodies out there and it’s worth one or two for extra oomph. As Tae Yun Kim reminds us about this color, “Green strongly influences the heart and helps alleviate tension. Positive qualities associated with green are generosity, humility, and cooperation.” Add a bit of fresh greens during the holiday season and let its color immerse you in the positive it brings.
Holiday greetings to all.

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.

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.)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thursday’s Nature Break

One of my favorites that can be spotted during spring nature walks - Rhododendron vaseyi (Pinkshell azalea)
During the hectic holiday season, one might need to seek a stillness that can be difficult to find.  So if you need some nature suggestions, here are a few worth noting. Plus, these ideas might prove helpful in getting the children outdoors during their holiday break. Introduce them into nature and even history rather than immerse them in only the electronics and technology of today's fast-paced world.

Check out the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, the birthplace of the American Revolution. Just last week, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to expand this not-so-often traveled area into the town of Auburn, MA and a larger portion of Providence, RI (one of my favorite cities.) Click here for more information and the recent news release of December 12, 2014. 

One other quick nature space to note is the Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary in Boylston. On your way, you can take in a holiday tour of Tower Hill Botanical Gardens and then check out this new wildlife sanctuary that opened in September of this year, plus it’s free. Read the recent write-up in the Telegram and Gazette today.

So that’s it in a Thursday nutshell of a few nature places to explore and discover. And until the winter solstice occurs, enjoy the last few days of fall.

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.

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.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cut Out the Unnecessary

Obvious pruning should be done before the winter sneaks in.
It’s the holiday squeeze, which reminds me that cutting out the unnecessary (whether it’s extra nibbles or too many commitments) can make the season a bit more manageable.  The irony is this simple advice applies to your landscape as well.

Need a holiday breather? Consider taking a walkabout to peruse your property. See if everything is winter tight and buttoned up. If you notice any dead branches or split crotches on a tree, take care of them before heavy snow and ice. Remove any dead or weakened limbs and attend to any apparent structural issues. This is not the season for major pruning, which is typically performed in late winter to early spring but obvious pruning should be done before winter sneaks in.

If you need to remove any large hazard trees, don’t wait until a Nor'easter barrels through. Even the slightest winds could take down one of these problem trees so removing them when the ground is frozen with little to no snow pays off. As always, bring in a reputable, insured tree company that can spot hazard. This is not something you want to undertake yourself. Leave this task to the professionals.

Time to wrap it up with one last note - keep your holiday season manageable. Cut out the unnecessary but never the important things. Handwritten Christmas notes and smiles can make all the holiday difference. Jimmy Buffett says it best. “Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been.” But if your trees are spotting a few wrinkles, make sure it’s nothing potentially hazardous.Trim, tuck, prune - cut out the unnecessary. And if you need that November/December checklist for your landscape, here is the link to that post again.

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.

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.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Flower Break

Flower break...such is my idea of happiness.
During the Hanukkah and Christmas Season, it’s another flower to break up what often becomes the rushed and hurried part of the holidays. As Leo Tolstoy profoundly puts it, “Rest, nature, books, music…such is my idea of happiness.” That’s the purpose of the flower breaks.

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.

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.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pre-Holiday Flower Break


With the holiday scramble on for certain, hopefully you can afford a ten second breather. 
It’s a pre-holiday flower break, no reading necessary.

Pre-Holiday Flower Break
Just Breathe...
Ten tiny breaths...
Even when things feel hectic, stressful, or overwhelming...
Take a breathe...and enjoy the season.
© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc. 
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.)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Wisp of Winter


A Wisp of Winter
On this #WordlessWednesday, it's a wisp of winter. Enjoy what remains of fall. 


© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.  

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, December 10, 2014

December’s Wintery Breath…

December's Wintery Breath...
During this busy month of December, the daily posts may be short and sweet; nothing more than an observation balanced with imagery. So at a quick glance, today’s photograph may capture the austerity of the changing season but if you focus on the image, you can almost feel the wintery breath of December. As John Geddes puts it quite eloquently, “December's wintery breath is already clouding the pond, frosting the pane, obscuring summer's memory...”

Hark for all those that love the gardens and their landscapes, we may be missing summer but this resting period, this coming season gives us a chance to appreciate the quiet but gentle breath of winter. The best remedy for holiday stress - get outdoors. While everything sleeps, the landscape still breathes.

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.

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.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Power of Blue Skies

Blue Sky Thinking
When early signs of winter force us from enjoying our outdoor garden spaces or surrounding parks and nature, it’s time to pull out the power of blue sky thinking. As Lyman Frank Baum reminds us during this icy, wet and snowy weather pattern hitting New England, “Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” 

During this way-too-soon winter season, enjoy the stillness of your outdoor spaces. And when necessary, pull out your blue sky thinking. Dare to dream big; plan for your spring design. 

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.

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.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chasing a Beam of Light

When we miss the summer light.
So many people dread the coming of winter because of light deprivation. More than the sound of the surf, summer breezes and being outdoors, lack of light drags us down. So on this Thursday, here are a few quick light bulbs to turn on when you’re feeling light-deprived. Despite if these suggestions may seem common sense, try just one and see if you light up or if it helps you out of a pre or post-holiday slump.

Look for the natural light in the sky – on this chilly December morning, the stars were absolutely stunning. Also look for the moon and watch it change from half to whole. There’s nothing more amazing than a full  moon on a crystal clear winter night.

Take a nature break when the sun is out. Rather than stuff oneself inside a gym, find a quiet path or park and bask in the winter sunlight. This is a must for anyone who does not work in an office with a lot of natural light.

Decorate a tree in your landscape that you can see from a window or drape an indoor plant with light. Turn it on and watch that living tree or plant becoming more alive. Then do a quick self-test and see if that decorative light brought a helpful lift to you.

One quick point if you are choosing and/or considering outdoor lighting for your landscape - remember ambiance and functionality may not be found all in one light. Use this coming winter season to fine-tune or address your outdoor landscape lighting plan. Determine what might be lacking or what you could have too much of - is it ambiance you need or functionality and safety lighting or both?  Then you can start your light shopping or in some cases, you might need to weed a few things out. Speaking of outdoor lighting, take in one of the many holiday tree festivities; free and fun.

That’s it in a light beam. Share your favorite places where light exists for you during these light-sensitive months.  As this Irish proverb reminds us, “A light heart lives long.” Now that winter is soon upon us, start chasing your beam of light.

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.© Copyright note: the above image & 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, 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, December 3, 2014

Straight from the Vine

Noiret Grapes in our vineyard covered with snow

With the holiday parties and cold weather activities taking charge, one might be looking for an easy party punch that smells yummy while brewing yet tasty like warm cider.  Well, here’s one simple recipe to test drive this holiday season. We already whipped up this 'Better Homes and Gardens' punch on Thanksgiving Day in our own test kitchen. You guessed it - this punch was a hit. 

What made it a tad more special was using wine produced from our own vines. But any dry white should do for this warm, sweet concoction. This Hot Scarlet Wine Punch comes straight from a book laden with great decorating ideas, ‘Better Homes and Gardens – Celebrate the Season 2014’. This recipe is a definite must-try if you love to hit the easy button. Isn't that the idea during the busy holiday season?

Hot Scarlet Wine Punch:
What you need:

2 inches stick cinnamon
4 whole cloves
1 32-ounce bottle cranberry juice (4 cups)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 750 –milliliter bottle white Zinfandel or dry white wine
Whole fresh cranberries (optional)

What you do: Three easy steps:
1) For spice bag, cut a double thickness of 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth into a 6-inch square. Place cinnamon and cloves in the center of the cloth.  Bring the corners together and tie closed with clean kitchen string. In a 3 ½ or 4-quart slow cooker, combine spice bag, cranberry juice, and brown sugar.
2) Cover and heat on low-heat setting for 3 to 4 hours or on high-heat setting for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove and discard the spice bag.
3) Remove and discard the spice bag. If using low-heat setting, turn slow cooker to high-heat setting. Stir wine into the punch. Cover and heat for 30 minutes more. Serve immediately or keep warm, covered, on low –heat setting up to 2 hours. Ladle punch into heatproof cups. If desired, garnish with cranberries on skewers. Makes 14 (4-ounce) servings.

When it comes to making holiday cheer easy, this Hot Scarlet Wine Punch should do the trick. 

Grapes ripening in our vineyard

Harvesting the grapes
Taking a skip past the recipe and grapevine talk, here's an image shared yesterday on our FB page. It's a Ben perspective regarding #GivingTuesday. So when you hit those rough spots of light deprivation, keep looking for the positive. Tune into nature and surround yourself with what you love.
And for those that love a daily quote, it's the words of M. Scott Peck that resonate how to celebrate and make the most of the holiday moment. "Share our similarities, celebrate our differences." Until the next post, the next thought, the next photo...look here for garden, design and inspiration overall. The blog train should keep chugging through the winter months. 

© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.

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.)

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Hallmark of December

Find the right tree for winter interest

The hallmark of December is finding the right tree – not for your living room but for your landscape. Let December be the season to reassess your property. Look for that structure that adds the winter interest.  Sorry for the short and sweet... 'tis the hallmark of December. It’s time to enjoy this beautiful season.

© Image by Ann Bilowz (Acer griseum Paper Bark Maple)

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.)

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.)