At the End of The Aqueduct

September 1st, 2014 | 5 Comments »
A few posts ago, I wrote about the journey that water makes as it flows down the hill and into the lake. A few posts before that, I referred to the 'haste makes waste' pond that is just above the boathouse, the final spot on the water's journey. Today I want to show how important it is to acknowledge errors when you make them -- and don't we all? -- and to correct them as soon as possible, before your eye becomes accustomed to what is there.Here is what the

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North Hatley in Bloom

August 25th, 2014 | 5 Comments »
This week I was a judge in the North Hatley in Bloom contest. Organized by the town council, the contest is designed to encourage residents and commercial establishments to beautify the town and 'up' curbside appeal.Judging almost anything presents challenges. With clear rules and categories, the process can be easy. But sometimes judges have personal biases, or different interpretations of rules, or dominant personalities that overwhelm opposing ideas.Luckily, this was not the case for North Hatley in Bloom. We judges agreed rather easily, because we shared a similar sense of what is

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Less is More… more or less.

August 18th, 2014 | 5 Comments »
A few weeks ago I wrote about The Big Rock and my plan to simplify the plantings around it, using a  lesson I learned from touring gardens in Italy. We haven't tackled that project yet. But we have tackled another area, applying the same principles of simplicity and balance to great effect.Beside the drive coming into the house is a large stand of spruce, planted there some 50 years ago. They are tall regal trees that mark a transition from open farm field to forested hillside. Until last week, they were

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The Aqueduct, 2014

August 11th, 2014 | 6 Comments »
Last year was the summer of The Aqueduct: a series of mishaps, course corrections, and headaches that resulted in what I believe is a triumph of landscape art and design.This overview of the main portion of The Aqueduct dates from summer 2013.Those of you who were reading Site and Insight last summer may remember the problems we had, catalogued here, here, here, and here. You may remember a passing reference I made earlier this summer about haste making waste, as a hurried decision made last fall proved to be too awful

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Following my Tree: August

August 3rd, 2014 | 13 Comments »
Corylus avenllana is the proper name of the tree I am following, corkscrew hazel is its common name, and Harry Lauder's Walking Stick is its nickname.This nickname was what attracted me to the plant many years ago. That and a photo of a full-grown plant.This photo of a full grown contorted hazel is from the on-line site Dave's Garden.I loved the twisted branches and knew it would be an outstanding plant in winter months, with the contorted branches silhouetted against the snow. Plus I was intrigued by the name. Who was

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Italian lessons: planting The Big Rock

July 27th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
I have no desire to create an Italianate garden in rural Quebec. Yet many things in the Renaissance and Renaissance-revival gardens I visited this spring are inspiring me to re-examine aspects of the garden at Glen Villa. High on the list is ensuring I have the right balance. Balance between simplicity and decoration. Between open and closed spaces. Between light and shade.One of the simplest gardens we visited in Italy was the 'secret garden' at Villa Medici at Fiesole, just outside Florence. A small area beside the house was divided by gravel paths into

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How a Garden Grows: The Skating Pond

July 21st, 2014 | 7 Comments »
This post is the first of several I plan to write, describing how different sections of the gardens at Glen Villa have changed over the years. Let me know what you think. Are you interested in more posts like this one?Some people plan a garden before they begin to make it, with sketches or architectural plans drawn to scale. Not me. I don't say this with pride, only as a matter of fact. Forethought helps, but happenstance and serendipity are more my style. And these too can produce wonderful results.More than ten

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The International Garden Festival at Métis, Québec

July 14th, 2014 | 5 Comments »
Edward Lutyens once said that a garden "should have a backbone -- a central idea beautifully phrased." The central and beautifully phrased idea of the International Garden Festival at the Reford Gardens in Métis, Québec is to offer garden installations that challenge conventional ideas of what a garden is -- or can be.For the past 15 years the festival has been a showcase for innovation and delight. Featuring designers from Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, France, the United States and Canada, this year's Festival presents 22 contemporary gardens that "invite visitors

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A different way to follow my tree: July

July 7th, 2014 | 12 Comments »
The Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic' has grown in the last month -- not much but enough that its head now rises above the wooden rail that marks the back edge of the border.The colour of the leaves reminds me of Heuchera 'Palace Purple.'I chose this tree because of the colour of the leaves, and I continue to find them a wonderful contrast to the blue spruce and the sharp green of amsonia. Unfortunately, to see this colour contrast you have to stand at the edge of bank, a precarious position

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What a difference: seven years and counting

June 29th, 2014 | 5 Comments »
Last year when a group came to visit Glen Villa, I asked them what I could do to make a future visit more enjoyable. Provide a map, they said. So I have.A very kind friend has revised the map of Glen Villa produced in 2007 to bring it in line with what is on the ground today. Here is the version from 2007.This wonderfully hand-drawn map of Glen Villa dates from 2007.Here is the new one.This is the 2014 version. Differences are subtle, but substantial.At first glance the two maps

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