For the last few weeks, everything and everyone at Glen Villa has been focused on preparing for the first (annual?) Open Garden Day on August 4. Twenty volunteers are primed and ready to go, each assigned to a three hour time slot and to a specific area in the garden.
When one of the volunteers asked me which area of the garden was my favourite, I was at a loss. How can I pick one place when I love them all? The history associated with the China Terrace fascinates me.
The clean lines of The Aqueduct give me pleasure every time I look at them.
The transformation of the Big Lawn into the Big Meadow is a joy, particularly when the wind blowing across the long grass seems to turn dry land into an ocean of never-ending waves.
The Lower Garden is full of flowers in bloom — at least when the deer decide to browse somewhere else.
The Asian Meadow is quiet and peaceful, a good spot to sit and regard one of my favourite pieces of sculpture in the garden, Bridge Ascending.
I love the view down onto the Yin Yang from the Dragon’s Tail, where a whip of grape hyacinth that blooms blue in the spring is replaced by a whip of pink in late August, when the astilbe comes into bloom.
I like the symbolism of the Yin/Yang, where aspects of our family’s history are brought together with a philosophy of life.
I love the house we live in, its strange and beautiful architecture and the way it sits so comfortably on the land. I love the view from the log terrace beside the house, looking out over the lake, or looking toward Tree Rings, the sculpture I made last year to honour an old maple tree that gave shade to the house for a century or more.
And then there is the Upper Field and the Skating Pond. So much goes on there. Bridge Ascending, the extraordinary sculpture created by the internationally renown sculptors Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito, marks the entry to the field. Abenaki Walking, the installation I made to honour the original inhabitants of the land, moves through the field, connecting the past to the present day. The shrub borders are full of colour and beauty. The Skating Pond is full of ever-changing wildlife, the buzz and scurry of insects, the croak of frogs, the slow-motion swim or motionless lounging of a very large turtle.
How can I choose a favourite spot? I love them all.
Next week when visitors arrive to tour the garden, I hope they will use the brochure and map we’ll provide to explore every part of the garden — these areas and more. I hope they will find the visit stimulating and enjoyable, that they will leave with a head full of ideas and a heart full of the peace and joy that nature offers to those who take the time to look.