Fibonacci numbers in nature

October 20th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
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Ever since writing in a recent post about Througham Court and how Christine Facer Hoffman, the owner and designer, incorporated Fibonacci numbers into the garden, I've been noticing photos of plants that illustrate this natural sequencing. Deborah Lee Baldwin showed this one in a recent entry on Gardening Gone Wild.Apparently this plant is euphorbia gorgonis.Who would have known? Not me.And I saw this one in my own garden, in a gravel section I'm playing around with.sempervivum arachnoideum 'Cobweb' This sempervivum is named 'Cobweb.'  A close look at the central white portion tells

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Glen Villa in Autumn

October 14th, 2013 | 6 Comments »
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Travelling is wonderful, but nothing beats being at Glen Villa on a perfect autumn day, when the air is clear, the sky is blue and nothing in particular has to be done.This morning I walked around the garden, my first walk-about in three weeks. A few flowers are still blooming, like the never-say-die sedum 'Autumn Joy.'Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is still going strong in mid-October.The bergenia I planted this spring to complement the aqueduct is showing its full fall colour.Which name do you prefer, bergenia or pigsqueak?The peegee hydrangea that was

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The Guggenheim Bilbao: more than a Puppy

October 6th, 2013 | 4 Comments »
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Jeff Koons is not my favourite artist. In fact, I don't really like his work. But I do like his Puppy. And I loved the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, inside and out.Koons' Puppy is suitably festive outside Frank Gehry's trademark gay curves.In the plaza next to the museum, towering over pedestrians, Koons' highland terrier is a patchwork of colours so bright that it lifts the spirits on a cloudy day. And lifts the corners of the mouths of everyone passing by, as well.A slightly different angle confirms it: this Puppy is BIG.I saw

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Vertical Gardens, Spanish style

September 30th, 2013 | No Comments »
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Patrick Blanc's vertical garden at the Caixa Forum in Madrid is even more spectacular than the photos suggest. It is located in the old section of Madrid, beside the busy Paseo del Prado and near the Reina Sofia, one of Madrid's outstanding art museums.Passers-by give a sense of scale.I wish I could give you some stats about this wall garden: how many plants there are, how high the wall is, how wide, but I can't. I do know that it dates from 2007. And that the expanse of green was lush when I

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Is Mosaiculture topiary?

September 22nd, 2013 | 2 Comments »
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Strictly speaking, the answer is -- no. Both are living sculptures, but they are made in different ways. Mosaiculture is also a contemporary form of plant display, while topiary has a long and distinguished history, dating back to  Roman times.So, what are the differences? The most obvious one is that topiary uses a single plant to create architectural and sculptural shapes while mosaiculture creates forms by combining a variety of plants with different colours and textures. Traditionally, creating a topiary took a long time; a plant, tree or shrub was clipped and shaped

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Mosaiculture: a different kind of art

September 16th, 2013 | 4 Comments »
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Mosaiculture is the name given to three dimensional sculptures made of plants. This summer, the Montreal Botanical Garden played host to dozens of creations from around the world, all illustrating the theme, Land of Hope. I postponed visiting the show until a few weeks ago, thinking I wouldn't like it. But I did. I was captured by the skill, the scale and the imagination. And by the humour. Who couldn't smile seeing these lemurs, parading along the walkway, tails held high? These ring-tailed lemurs are from Madagascar, an island rich in biodiversity.

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I am confused

September 9th, 2013 | No Comments »
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Do I look confused? I am.Help straighten me out!Last week I included a survey in my blog post. Many of you responded. But even more of you did not.Will you take a few minutes now to respond? I'd really appreciate it. Your input will help me make the blog better! And that, I hope, will make it more enjoyable for you.Just click here.

My favourite plant: Jeffersonia diphylla

September 9th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
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Gardeners in temperate climes may wonder why I love Jeffersonia diphylla. For them it grows easily, spreads nicely and offers a touch of light in a shaded border. A nice plant, but nothing special. Jeffersonia doesn't grow easily for me. I have to coddle it, and it is one of the few plants at Glen Villa that gets this care.  As for spreading nicely, no such luck. My one plant grew for quite a few years before it produced a baby. Nonetheless, I love Jeffersonia. It is my favourite plant. Not

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The Joy of Weeding

September 2nd, 2013 | 2 Comments »
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We all know that weeding is a chore, right? We also know that a weed for one person is a flower for someone else. Or, as often expressed, it's any plant growing where it isn't wanted.   Some people don't like ajuga in the lawn. I do. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it better, describing a weed as "a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." My favourite quotation about weeds, though, is Shakespeare's contribution: "Great weeds do grow apace." And indeed, they do. Or, at least, this summer they

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The Aqueduct: Success at last?

August 26th, 2013 | 11 Comments »
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Last week I was in Quebec City for the annual symposium of the Garden Writers' Association. I met many interesting people from across North America (and one or two from England and elsewhere) and saw some private gardens that had much to offer. I visited some public gardens, some I hadn't seen for years, and one I'd never seen before. I'll write about these gardens, the people I met and the things I learned in the weeks to come. But for now, it's back to the aqueduct and the BIG

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