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, January 28, 2015

Snow Globes Then Spring


A real snow globe - nothing fake
Do you love snow globes, those transparent round spheres that just like magic, one quick shake and it's a winter wonderland? Snow globes have always been a bit mesmerizing but this recent #blizzardof2015, at least for those of us folks living in Massachusetts, well, we were living the real thing. But rather than showing images of snow piles reaching higher than 8 feet, let’s take a glimpse past snow globes and snow piles and take a peek at spring. Here are a few of my favorite ‘firsts’ of that magical season. 

And if you need a real touch of spring in winter, check out your local botanical garden for some wonderful winter experiences that simulate the spring. For those that live in Central Massachusetts/Worcester County, where the snow counts were monumental, check out Tower Hill. It’s one of the best kept secrets in this area, especially in the dead of winter. Take a peek at the website and watch spring unfold before your eyes. And for those that missed out on the beauty of yesterday, Susan Orlean sums it up best. “A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder.” But most of us prefer the spring!
Most of us prefer the spring. And don't forget to think DESIGN in the dead of winter!

© 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, January 23, 2015

#Repurpose

'When all else fails to astound you, find your beauty indoors." ~ Bilowz Associates Inc.
There’s a repurpose for everything, including yesterday’s image posted on Twitter and our Facebook page. Speaking of finding a new purpose for all things, our compost bins are at a 'winter overload'. A January thaw may be wishful thinking (only a week + and counting until Groundhog Day) so here’s hoping coffee grinds, peels and egg shells can squeak in to what little space is left for a few more winter weeks. One upside has been no paths to shovel to get to the bins. The weekend weather forecast tells me – beware – that’s soon to change.

And if you aren’t paying attention to what trended most on Twitter Thursday, FYI – the seesaw of opinions, newsfeed and string of insults were off the dial about the air in footballs used during the AFC championship game rather than what’s taking place in our own landscape. So it seems a perfect segue to #repurpose what was written earlier in the week. Only two so they shouldn’t take you too much time to read.

Is Bark Overrated?
Ham Up Your Garden Come Spring

And since this whole thing literally 'blew up' for the New England Patriots on Monday morning, with Tom Brady this is where I totally agree. “No one’s dying.” We, and that includes me, a fanatical New England Patriots fan since I was a kid should be more concerned about Asian Longhorned Beetle, a bigger threat to our forests and our trees. Remember our trees and forests are living but a deflated football? We should be moving onto bigger things.

As Peter S. Beagle points out, “Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed.”So for all that look at NFL players as great heroes, remember this quote.

But for my two-cents about the important game - the game of life, anyone can be deemed a hero. So do something good for someone else, anyone (a stranger, a friend, a co-worker) who might need a kind word, a mentor, a bouquet of flowers or just a hug. #Repurpose a negative into a positive and be your own hero rather than live in the footsteps of someone else. Half the greatness may go unnoticed but heck, you’re making a positive difference. That's all that counts.

© 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, January 21, 2015

Is Bark Overrated?



A fellow garden chum, @jmarkowski0 tweeted on January 8th that ‘winter interest in the #garden is overrated. No matter how hard I try.’  

Cute and somewhat true, it’s always a search and struggle to find the interest in our January gardens. The day John wrote this tweet, my guess it was probably zero or below. As much as bark may be overrated, it’s the best of the garden features especially in the snow. Maybe the lack of fluff and powder this year makes a ‘winter #garden overrated’ so until then John, enjoy the bark, less the snow. 

Maybe it’s the paw prints missing from his winter #garden he misses most. A puppy making new prints in your garden might help because bark isn’t overrated. Whether it’s a four-legged chum or the barren January garden, that interesting bark is there when you need it most. And if you don’t follow @jmarkowski0, he’s a funny guy who loves to garden. Spring is just around the corner so find the folks that bark great garden tweets. Until then, enjoy the winter garden and the bark.


© 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, January 20, 2015

Ham Up Your Garden Come Spring

 witch hazel (Hamamelis sp.)
Ham up your garden come spring with this beautiful native shrub - witch hazel

During these winter months one might be anticipating how to ‘ham it up’ in the landscape come spring 2015. Need some tips on what to add? If the above image caught your fancy, then witch hazel (Hamamelis sp.) should be at the top of your ‘must add’ one of these shrubs come spring. Need five reasons why? Take a peek.

Early blooming

Stunning fall color

Great understory plant (has structure of an ornamental tree but is a large shrub)

Easy to plant groundcovers and perennials underneath, which is a bigger bonus than most might think

Extremely hardy

What more do you need? It’s a high-five for this beautiful native. Plus you can choose from some favorite varieties – ‘Diane’, ‘Jelena’ and ‘Arnold Promise’ to name a few. The color spectrum of flowers can range from yellow, orange sunburst to bronze red. This is ‘one shrub to ham up your garden’ come spring.

As Lucille Ball once said in her days of making us laugh, "I am a real ham. I love an audience. I work better with an audience. I am dead, in fact, without one." A landscape works better with an audience, too. So ham it up and add this shrub come spring. 

© 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, January 16, 2015

Before this holiday weekend

Hawk in flight
"You can't fly if your wings are holding the baggage of yesterday. Let go. Fly." ~ Steve Maraboli

Catching a hawk in flight yesterday was a first. It seemed like an appropriate image to share with this Steve Maraboli quote. “You can’t fly if your wings are holding the baggage of yesterday. Let go. Fly.” But before you take off for your long weekend, here’s the baggage from this week's posts. Hope you’ll take another peek or catch up on ones you might have missed. Then you can fly off to enjoy your winter weekend. Before the big game on Sunday, make sure you get outdoors! #GoPats. Let's take the win over the Colts.

‘The Beauty of a Vista'

‘The Indoor Green Scene’

‘The Green of Winter’

‘The Tree to Make the Top ofYour Planting List'

 © 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, January 15, 2015

The Beauty of a Vista

Image taken by Greg Bilowz
El Capitan on our March 2008 trip
The big news yesterday in the world of vistas - two climbers made history at Yosemite National Park. It’s all over the news but what inspires these two men to conquer a feat so difficult? As Kevin Jorgeson, one of the climbers stated in the midst of this endurance test, "Momentum is a powerful force. When it's on your side, everything feels a bit easier. When it's not on your side, it feels like wading through mud," he wrote of his week-long attempt to get past the particularly difficult section. "It took everything in my power to stay positive and resolved that I would succeed. Now that momentum has returned to my side, I'm staying just as focused and resolved because a lot of hard climbing remains."

Of course there is a tie-in with the world of landscape architecture and design. The tie-in: what defines the beauty of a vista? Compare the natural wonder of Yosemite to your own landscape and outdoor living spaces. Though few vistas can be as captivating as El Capitan, to design, create, or enhance our outdoor vistas or viewpoints is the difference between humdrum spaces to simply amazing. 
© All Images – Property of Bilowz Associates Inc.
Stay positive and plan your outdoor vistas for spring.
And when it comes to wading through the mud, many might relate to this sentiment, specifically during the winter months.  It can take an extra push out of the comfort zone to think and plan ahead for spring. Let this amazing story of two men inspire you. If you’re lacking momentum during the dormant season, stay positive, get past the mud and plan your outdoor spaces come spring. Discover the vistas that exist within your own landscape.

And if you’ve never visited Yosemite, it’s a must for those that love the great outdoors. You won’t be disappointed.
Image taken by Greg Bilowz
Yosemite is a must see, bucket list place to be.
© 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, January 14, 2015

The Indoor Green Scene

Catch a bit of greenery indoors.
With so many botanical places to explore during the winter months, there are no excuses. Get your fill of green because it sure beats the ice and snow. 
 
Ah, the beauty of January's ice and snow.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, ‘The Green of Winter,’ joining a garden club, a society, a lecture – it all boosts your knowledge of what you love. Remember, the garden party starts now.

A bit of color mixed with the greenery.
Blossoms in the winter green spaces make it feel like summer in January.
And if you are desperate to find a shot of green in nature, spy all the evergreens – there’s green when you look around. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe pointed out, “Nature! We live in her midst and know her not.” 

The garden party starts now!

© 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, January 13, 2015

The Green of Winter

Join a garden club, a society, a lecture that boosts your knowledge of what you love.

Looking through our gluttony of garden and design images, one popped out on this chilly morning of one of my many favorite plants. We’ve collected an enormous amount of Hosta varieties over the years and when I saw the above image, it jostled my frozen January memory. I recently received an email about an upcoming event and renewal of membership for the New England Hosta Society. Societies are great fun and can add to your plant knowledge so for any interested in the hosta world, here’s the excerpt of a winter garden event to learn more about this fascinating and versatile plant. 

“We have exciting events planned for 2015, including a picnic, garden tour, auction, plant sales and the upcoming January 31st  potluck lunch meeting featuring two speakers.  At this meeting, Carolyn Schnaffner will discuss troughs and containers with hosta, followed by Rick Goodenough speaking on the 10 best hosta. You can find a schedule of events on our website at www.nehosta.org.
Learn how to use Hosta in a container as Bilowz Associates Inc. does in our overall landscape designs.
Winter is the perfect time to hone your skills. Immerse yourself in the knowledge, tips and latest and greatest material and ideas to enhance your outdoor space. And if you missed yesterday’s post, check out ‘A tree to make the top of your planting list.’ 

As Robert Kiyosaki points out, “If you are the kind of person who is waiting for the ‘right’ thing to happen, you might wait for a long time. It’s like waiting for all the traffic lights to be green for five miles before starting the trip.” 

Plan ahead. During these winter months, start your trip of green. Do it before the spring and all that blossoms starts to pop. Join a garden club, a society, a lecture that boosts your knowledge of what you love. The garden party starts now.

© 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, January 12, 2015

A Tree to Make the Top of Your Planting List

Bee in A Cosmos Moment
Sweet as Honey...one hint for today's specimen tree.

Here’s something not to shelf in the dead of winter. It’s time to think trees and what to plant and where. Here’s one tree you may not think about too often when it comes to planting or nursery shopping but it’s a specimen tree we love. And it has a good hardiness zone – 4 to 9. 

A few more hints – although it does have a variety of names, if you’re a Van Morrison fan think of one of his sultry songs and add some honey. This tree has beautiful fall foliage and also a great native. And to my knowledge, it’s not host to the problematic Asian Longhorned Beetle. 

Okay, do you give? One or two more hints. It’s slow growing and it makes an excellent shade tree. But don’t plant it in alkaline soils. Its fruits are a favorite of birds and squirrels so it performs as a natural bird feeder, something we encourage folks to do. That’s a wrap – now here’s the tree. But here’s one more hint. On Martha’s Vineyard, this species is called ‘beetlebung', (also its old colonial name) because the wood was used to make the plug/bung for old wooden casks. 

By now you may be giving up so just for those that made it to the end, it’s a Nyssa sylvatica. Black Tupelo, Black Gum or Sour Gum – those are its other common names. If you want an excellent specimen, add this tree to the top of your planting list. 

Remember, winter is the time to plan.  This tree is an ‘angel of the first degree.’ And just in case you want the real deal, here’s a Youtube clip of Van and Tupelo Honey.  Enjoy this January 12th day. And wow, did my New England Patriots make my weekend - sweet as Tupelo honey! 

© 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, January 9, 2015

The Quiet Season

A quiet spot in the winter landscape
The Quiet Season
During the quiet season of winter…when it feels like the cold and the snow might stay longer than expected, find that quiet space in the great outdoors. 

© 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, January 7, 2015

Why We Should Plan Now


Why plan now? 
A simple quote accompanied by a collage of our designs and I shall be on my way. Tom Turner’s words resonate why landscape design is critical to the lives we lead. “In town and in country there must be landscapes where we can walk in safety, pick fruit, cycle, work, sleep, swim, listen to the birds, bask in the sun, run through the trees and laze beside cool waters.”
Laze beside cool waters...
Run through the trees...
That’s why planning now during the earth’s natural sleeping cycle makes perfect design sense. Psychologically we always allow the rhythm of spring to get one step ahead of us. We wake up and see the first Crocus pop and all those restless garden souls of winter come out in force.
Bask in the sun...
Listen to the birds...
Why wait until spring cycles around this year? Plan ahead so there shall be ‘landscapes where we can walk in safety, pick fruit, cycle, work, sleep, swim, listen to the birds, bask in the sun, run through the trees and laze beside cool waters.” 
Plan now for spring.

Envision your perfect outdoor living space during the winter months so your plans are shovel ready come spring.
Envision your perfect outdoor living space.


© 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, January 6, 2015

Winter Seeds

Tulips
Let's start with Tulips for Tuesday!
Let’s start with some beautiful Tulips for Tuesday. Don't these store-bought beauties make up for any lack of flowers outdoors? Word of winter advice - keep spring close by as we move onward and upward. It's time to find the best of the garden and design chores during our slumber party winter months.
 
Yes, tis the season to gather the seeds. Collect your previous plant notes and start planning for what was lacking in last year's garden; begin your plant and seed catalog search. Sort through the seed drawer and dispense of past dated packets. It’s never too soon to place orders for grape vines, fruit trees and those specialty type plants that often get snatched up over a year in advance. Most of our orders have already been placed. 

And while you are sorting through what seeds to propagate, are there any new winter hobbies while you wait for the spring to break? We’re going to give cheese making a go. The kit is bought but one fears it could be a passing fancy. Though we hear soft cheeses can be quite easy, let's see when we give this untried hobby a spin.

So best to look winter straight in the eye. It's knowing the Tulips above are soon to be popping from the ground rather than from a store’s shelves. As Ellen G. White states it best, “Talk unbelief, and you will have unbelief; but talk faith, and you will have faith. According to the seed sown will be the harvest.” Winter seeds make for the perfect spring .Until the ice breaks, enjoy the slumber party offered to us during the winter months.
Ice breaks
Enjoy the winter slumber party until the ice 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.)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Topics to Turn Over

Share your thoughts, comments and isn't this a great place to read a book?

While we won’t be turning over the soil anytime soon, there’s always an abundance of interesting garden and design topics to turn over and kick around until spring appears. This particular article caught my attention this morning titled, ‘A gray area in regulation of genetically modified crops.’  Click on the link and take a peek. This is the type of topic we may not be privy to until its ramifications; until years to come. 

Regardless of imposing more stringent regulations or tightening up loopholes that companies may navigate around, the long-term environmental concern is a biggie - the potential of creating an invasive species such as a grass so resistant that it cannot be eradicated. Developed species that can withstand chemical treatments has its purpose and its pros. The flip side of the coin is what was mentioned above - a developed species becomes so dominant, there is no way to control it. All you have to do is look at our current invasive species list and wonder how these came to be problem children of the natural world.

As Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, president of the biotechnology division of Syngenta, a seed and agricultural company states, “The technology is always one step ahead of the regulators.” This one line rings true for any new developments. Accountability of product lines and its long-term impact equate to a balance necessary to keep all good things in check. Yes, balance and harmony is what we promote.

One other insight caught in today’s paper worthy of making a note – Mark Zuckerberg is adding ‘a little more book’ to Facebook. The Facebook Founder and CEO plans to read a book every other week in 2015. One can only hope that somewhere in there he indulges on one related to the green industry or any topic that spells ‘OUTDOORS’. The books he considers for his ‘Year in Book’ page is certain to boost the readership of its author and subject. Like running water, it should create a trickle-down effect. I’m just thrilled he is giving reading this extra push.

Share your thoughts, comments or suggestions on today’s topic. Or send your design and garden questions that can be addressed in one of our posts.

© 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.)

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.)