As the Garden Turns

April 22nd, 2018 | 12 Comments »
Does your garden turn its face to the world or does it veil it off?  The difference says a lot, about you and the style of your garden -- and about the spirit of the times. Recently I spoke to several groups about how to get the most out of garden visits.  Learning to Look: the Art of Garden Observation considers what it takes to really see a garden. A handout for the talk asks some key questions, starting with the garden's context.  How does it relate to the world around it? Is it open to its surroundings or closed off? Topography

Read More...

The Unsprung Spring

April 16th, 2018 | 14 Comments »
Spring just won't make up its mind. One day it cracks open the door, the next day, slams it shut. And I'm fed up! Come on, Spring, get a move on. Some years, snowdrops have finished by now. This year, they have barely started.   [caption id="attachment_6147" align="aligncenter" width="2334"] These poor little snowdrops are coated with ice from this morning's freezing rain. And yes, that's a patch of snow in front of them.[/caption]   In a normal spring, by now water would be splashing gaily over the rocks at The Cascade. Instead

Read More...

It’s Maple Syrup Time!

April 9th, 2018 | 14 Comments »
It's that super sweet time of the year, when sap is transformed into maple syrup. We've been making maple syrup at Glen Villa for many years now. My father-in-law tapped trees and the site of his old sugar camp is now an art installation in the woods.   [caption id="attachment_5000" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Orin's Sugarbush is a magical spot in winter, when snow outlines pieces of rusted tin, suspended from surrounding trees to suggest the roof that once was there.[/caption]   Making maple syrup takes time, particularly if you do it

Read More...

The Best Egg Ever

April 3rd, 2018 | 6 Comments »
What's Easter without an egg or two?   With 18 family members around on the weekend, the eggs disappeared almost as quickly as they were found.   This most beautiful of eggs was a special treat... before,   during,     and after.     Thanks, Sandra!

The Upper Room in Winter

March 25th, 2018 | 16 Comments »
The Upper Room is as glorious in winter as it is in spring, summer and fall. The highlight in every season is the beautiful screen outlining the bare branches of a dogwood tree.   [caption id="attachment_6101" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] The Upper Room stands tall in the morning light.[/caption]   Drawn by the Montreal artist Mary Martha Guy, the tree branches become more starkly striking with the late afternoon sun shining through.   [caption id="attachment_6092" align="aligncenter" width="2862"] The screen is a symphony of blacks, whites and shafts of light.[/caption]   A close-up of four

Read More...

Congratulations!

March 5th, 2018 | 25 Comments »
I'm happy to share some very good news -- the Aqueduct at Glen Villa is the winner of the grand prize for design in the residential category at ADIQ, the Quebec industrial designers association.   [caption id="attachment_344" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] A desire to recreate the sounds of the stream beside our old summer cottage was the initial inspiration for The Aqueduct.[/caption]   This prestigious prize recognizes the work of designer and friend Eric Fleury, of the landscape architecture firm, Hodgins and Associates (HETA). The walls and landscaping were the work of  Oscar Hache

Read More...

Yearning for Spring

February 25th, 2018 | 13 Comments »
It's grey and nasty today and all I can think about is spring. I know it will come but its arrival seems a long way away. So instead of moaning, I'm dreaming of snowdrops ...   [caption id="attachment_3744" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] It's easy to see how snowdrops got their name.[/caption]   and crocus ...   [caption id="attachment_6049" align="aligncenter" width="3456"] Yellow crocus are sunshine to the soul.[/caption]   and buds beginning to bloom.   [caption id="attachment_6057" align="aligncenter" width="1807"] When the yellow buttons of Cornelian cherry open up, the shrub becomes a haze

Read More...

Tropical Foliage (and a little bit more)

February 12th, 2018 | 13 Comments »
It's fascinating to see plants you think of as house plants growing outside. During a recent trip to Florida, I visited a friend and took a quick walk around her garden. The colours and textures were astonishing.     I can't name any of the plants, although they may be familiar to those of you who live in warmer climes.  Nameless or not, I loved what I saw, particularly the large-leafed beauties below.     Who can resist a shape like this rounded indentation? And the colour contrast was delicious.

Read More...

More Memorable Trees

January 28th, 2018 | 21 Comments »
I love trees. Not surprisingly, many of my favourites are in my own garden, Glen Villa, and I wrote about some of them here.  But in my travels, I've come across many other special trees, and they stand out in my memory for different reasons. One I remember because of its size. The Angel Oak, still growing on John's Island, South Carolina after some 400 years or more, is so large that I couldn't capture it in a single photo. I simply couldn't stand far enough away -- the longest branch stretches 187 feet

Read More...

Special Trees

January 14th, 2018 | 10 Comments »
A piece about specimen trees in the on-line magazine Gardenista started me thinking about trees and how special they are to me. Having recently planted a long allée of crabapple trees at Glen Villa, (and having written about it here) where the impact stems from the sheer number of trees and the precision of their placement, my mind swung to the opposite end of the spectrum, to individual trees that make an impact on their own. The most important tree at Glen Villa, my garden in rural Quebec, is the basswood, or linden as I

Read More...