A Year in the Garden: Part 3

December 31st, 2018 | 6 Comments »

This final post of 2018, written on the last day of the year, brings the garden at Glen Villa to a close — for now, at least.

August is high summer in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

The trail through the Joe Pye weed is luscious in August.
The trail through the Joe Pye weed is luscious in August, for bees and for pedestrians.

 

Insects make their presence known.

I'm not sure what flying creature this is, but I love the translucency of the wings.
I’m not sure what flying creature this is, but I love the translucency of the wings.

NOTE: Thanks to Mark A. for identifying this as a damselfly.

 

 

Roses bloom.
Roses re-bloom.

 

Chanterelles gleam in the woodland darkness.
Chanterelles gleam in the woodland darkness.

 

Near the house, a path leads up the hill and into the woods.

Petasites japnonica variegatus thrives in the shady woods.
Petasites japonicus variegatus thrives in the shady woods.

 

Canadian thistle blooms in sunny spots.
Canadian thistle blooms in sunny spots. Even though it is a pest of a plant, I like its form.

 

Autumn announces itself late in August.

Leaves in the Lower Garden are just beginning to change colour.
Leaves in the Lower Garden are just beginning to change colour.

 

It becomes more and more prominent as September progresses.

This tree is one of the first to change colour every year.
This little horse chestnut tree is one of the first to change colour every year.

 

Trees begin to change colour along the driveway.
Trees begin to change colour along the driveway.

 

Autumn colours is spectacular1
Autumn colours is spectacular.

 

I spent most of September in England, leading my final garden tour. But home again, October made its own strong statement.

Hydrangea's colour isn't spectacular but the dying form has its own appeal.
Hydrangea’s colour isn’t spectacular but the dying form has a delicate appeal.

 

The young buck is becoming a stag.
The young buck is becoming a stag.

 

Wild turkeys graze along the crabapple allée.

 

November is normally a boring month. This year, though, snow came early, giving the month an unexpected charm.

Snow caps the hawthorn trees by the road.
Snow caps the hawthorn trees by the road.

 

We spent lots of time constructing the temple façade, part of Timelines.

We started builing the façade in late October; work ended in early November with the first snowfall.
We started building the façade in late October; work ended in early November with the first snowfall.

 

A frosty morning coated all the trees with a gleam of ice.
A frosty morning coated all the trees with a gleam of ice.

 

Turkeys crossed the road -- who knows why!
Turkeys crossed the road — who knows why!

 

A wet heavy snow weighed down all the tree branches along the driveway.
A wet heavy snow weighed down all the tree branches along the driveway.

 

Finally, a look at what 2019 may bring -- sunbeams and glorious light.
Finally, a look at what 2019 may bring — sunbeams and glorious light.

 

May 2019 bring you happiness at home and in the garden.

A Year in the Garden, Part 2

December 28th, 2018 | 6 Comments »
My son and grandson spotted this fawn very shortly after the baby was born.
The meadows and fields at Glen Villa are white with snow in December, but in June and July, they are alive with colour. [caption id="attachment_7079" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Lupins brighten meadows and fields in late June and early July.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7092" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Buttercups and dandelions colour a field yellow.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7088" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Ragged robin turns this field rosy pink.[/caption]   Closer to the house, colours appear in smaller doses. [caption id="attachment_7090" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Hawthorn trees are a froth of white.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7096" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Old-fashioned day lilies

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A Year in the Garden, Part 1

December 23rd, 2018 | 9 Comments »
A stream coming down the hill marks an S-curve at the entry to Glen Villa.
On a surprisingly mild winter's day -- not at all typical for Quebec in December -- I'm remembering the garden at Glen Villa as it looked earlier this year. January brought lots of snow.   [caption id="attachment_7035" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] A stream coming down the hill marks an S-curve at the entry to Glen Villa.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7036" align="aligncenter" width="4836"] The Crabapple Allée marches across the open field.[/caption]   February brought snow and gloomy skies. [caption id="attachment_7037" align="aligncenter" width="3456"] My sculpture Tree Rings honours the life of a maple tree that died

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Topiary for the Holidays

December 14th, 2018 | 8 Comments »
Each bird is slightly different, and each has its own personality.
Do Christmas trees qualify as topiary? We never think of them as such but they fit the definition -- the Oxford dictionary calls topiary the "art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes." And surely Christmas trees don't grow naturally into the perfect cones commonly seen but have been pruned and clipped to shape them.   [caption id="attachment_5888" align="aligncenter" width="2099"] This cone-shaped spruce tree is attached to the chimney stack at Glen Villa. It hangs right outside our front door.[/caption]   As a young gardener, I disliked topiary, thinking that it was a distortion

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The Past Looms Large

November 27th, 2018 | 12 Comments »
The columns are striking in every season.
For the last eighteen months or more I've been working on an art installation that stretches along a 3-4 km trail at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec.  The trail moves in and out of fields and forests, and each environment has its own character. When I started the project, the idea behind it wasn't entirely clear. Gradually, working with the land and listening to its story, the project took shape. Time -- how we think about it, experience it and represent it -- was a thread connecting each installation. So several

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Monuments and Memorials

November 20th, 2018 | 6 Comments »
This statue on Richmond's Monument Avenue shows Robert E. Lee astride his horse Traveller.
Paintings on rock made by indigenous people many years ago give us insights into their daily life and the events and objects they valued. (I wrote about rock paintings here.) Monuments and memorials serve a similar purpose. So what do they show about what we value today? Traditionally monuments were erected to great men and generals who led us in war, and to those who fought and died. I grew up surrounded by this type of memorial. The statues of Confederate leaders that lined Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia left no doubt about

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Rock Art

November 12th, 2018 | 19 Comments »
Australia Kimberley 2011-82
Cave paintings on the island of Borneo showing animals and human hands have recently been dated back some 40,000 years, making them the oldest known example of figurative rock art in the world. (Details of the story can be found in various articles, including one here from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.) Think for a moment about how long ago that is. Forty thousand years. It takes my breath away. I've been fascinated by rock art for many years and have been fortunate to see examples in South Africa, Namibia, Australia, Chile and Peru. While the particulars

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Strange Times

October 30th, 2018 | 11 Comments »
stonehead (1 of 1)
We are living in strange times. Walking through the woods yesterday, I came across an odd scene. A creature made of stone was rising up from the leaves. First came a head, shoulders and arms....     then a leg. First one leg ...     then another.     The legs stretched out longer and longer.       I admit it, I ran. And as I left, I heard a crash.     I ran faster and faster, only to find myself in the place I'd been before. And there was

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Autumn Colour

October 16th, 2018 | 12 Comments »
Maple trees gleam in the sunlight.
Autumn is spectacular in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Unfortunately I've had little time to enjoy it this year, because earlier this month we sold our condominium in Montreal where we've lived for the last 22 years. Cleaning and sorting and disposing of the contents has taken a lot of time and effort. In fact, it's been a real slog but thankfully I've had lots of help from family members. (Thank you, each and all!) Understandably, blogging has taken a back seat to household work. But this past weekend, I took a

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Garden Hits and Misses

September 30th, 2018 | 13 Comments »
The fountain rises 70 feet into the air. On a sunny day it is beautiful to see. It works via a remote control!
At home after three marvellous weeks visiting gardens (and  friends) in England, I find much to criticize in my garden. After many years of travelling, I've come to expect this -- and to accept that a garden in Quebec's harsh weather conditions will never resemble an English garden, with its lush foliage and flowers, topiary and ancient walls. I've also come to expect that gardens other than my own will disappoint me. On every tour I've hosted, there has always been one garden I particularly looked forward to seeing. On

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