Happy Birthday to a one-year old blog!

January 27th, 2014 | 12 Comments »

A year ago this week I wrote the first entry for this blog, Glen Villa: Site and Insight. In the introductory post, I acknowledged that I didn’t know how the blog was going to evolve.

I know I want to write about my garden, Glen Villa, and about how it got to be what it is. I want to write about art and the installations I’m building throughout the property. But more, I want to share my ideas about what a garden is, what it can be, and why it matters – to me, at least. Writing helps me think about what I’m doing. It clarifies my ideas about what works and what doesn’t. It allows me to investigate verbally before investing time and money in concrete projects. And with luck, writing will put me in touch with a larger gardening community.

Without doubt I’ve made the connection with the wider garden community, making friends on-line and even meeting some in person. These contacts have widened my perspective, and I’m grateful to all the bloggers who take the time to chronicle their own garden exploits. Following people who live in other countries and other climes, I’ve come across ideas that appeal to me, that one day I may use, in their original or in a modified version.

Throughout the year I’ve shared my ideas about what a garden is, or can be. I’ve written about Glen Villa in 35 of 58 posts, covering different areas of the garden. I’ve written about new and on-going projects, art installations, and the occasional plant. I’ve covered the seasons, writing about mud and maple syrup,

 Glen Villa’s own maple syrup: lip-lickingly good!
Dandelions on the grass at Glen Villa
Autumn at Glen Villa, with a sculpture by
Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito in the distance.
December at Glen Villa

I’ve covered more ground than I expected, posting comments from Australia, Spain, England and the United States. I wrote entries, sometimes more than one, about Canada Blooms, the Chelsea Flower Show and its decision to lift the ban on garden gnomes, and topiary-type presentations at Montreal’s Mosaiculture. Topics like size

Rubber ducky, you’re the one…
an amusing oddity by the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.

and shape

The amphitheatre at Great Fosters,
a triumph of design by Kim Wilkie.

preoccupied me, as did rills,

Sir Geoffrey’s Jellicoe’s rill at Shute House in Dorset

monuments and memorials,

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
In my opinion, this memorial is not a success.

and borrowed views.

A view of the English countryside, taken at Petworth in Sussex.

With some trepidation, I asked you readers to take part in a survey, and 30 of you took the time to respond. You told me that your favourite part of the blog is the photographs (thank you very much!) and that you like reading about garden design, gardening at Glen Villa, and garden art.  I’ll continue to write about these topics, and more.

Changes you suggested involved reducing the size of the watermark on the photos (it is much less visible now), using common names alongside the botanical names of plants (I try to remember), and writing more — more about places I visit and more often. The latter I can’t do — I sometimes struggle to find time to write once a week, but writing more about places I visit will be a pleasure.

A view of the Boboli Gardens in Florence, taken from Wikipedia.
This should tell you where I’ll be travelling in 2014, and what I’ll be writing about.

Writing the blog gives me great pleasure, and receiving comments from readers gives me even more. Writing helps clarify my ideas, your comments enlarge them. So, please, keep them coming!

2013: Glen Villa reviewed

January 20th, 2014 | 4 Comments »
The end of January isn't the obvious time to do a year-end review, but since 2013 is well and truly over,  it's now or never. And since next week marks the one year anniversary of this blog, and I plan to review some of the top posts and your comments about them, writing a month by month review of what happened this past year at Glen Villa seems a reasonable idea. So let's go! January: The tiny evergreen seedlings we planted four or five years ago in an area I


Observing and learning

January 12th, 2014 | 6 Comments »
A few months ago Don Stratham, a New York state garden consultant, wrote a blog post about garden mishaps, or learning from failures in the garden, in his blog called Rooting for Ideas. He listed some of his mistakes -- and what they had taught him. But what his post made me think of was the importance of observation itself, and of taking note of what you observe. I saw this forest scene a few years ago and was immediately struck by nature's artful composition. The contrast between the upright


Looking ahead: Glen Villa in 2014

January 5th, 2014 | 8 Comments »
I don't make New Year's Resolutions. But planning ahead for the garden is a regular winter activity. So this is what I plan (correction: make that hope) to do in 2014. 1. Clean up loose ends. This category includes more things than I like to think about. I often start new projects before the old ones are finished, but this year I intend to do some tidying up before beginning anything new. (Ok, I suppose that counts as a resolution.) Loose end #1 is the final aqueduct pool, just above