Reviewing 2019

December 31st, 2019 | 8 Comments »

Today, on the last day of the year, I’m looking back at what happened in the garden in 2019.

Without question, the single biggest event was the Open Garden Day in July. Over 300 people attended and we raised almost $10,000 for the Massawippi Foundation, helping that organization to continue its support for community activities and the conservation of biologically significant land.

The rich sounds of the cello could be heard from the Lower Garden right up to the Upper Field. No question, the music added to the special atmosphere.
Catherine Walker and Gary Ross volunteered to help on the Open Day and their music added a special touch to the day.

 

Getting ready for the Open Day meant completing sections of Timelines, the 3 km trail that leads past art installations in Glen Villa’s fields and forests. By the Open Day, everything that could be done had been completed. The façade of the Greek temple was standing tall.

 

Construction details are visible, making this façade resemble a billboard.
Construction details are visible, making this façade resemble a billboard.

 

The Perspective sign at the end of La Grande Allée was in place.

 

Perspective points from one tiny chair close up to a big chair in the distance.
Perspective points from one tiny chair in the foreground to a big chair in the distance.

 

The sign painted by my friend John Hay that gave La Grande Allée its name was installed.

 

An old post for a street lamp now holds the name of this part of Timelines.
An old post for a street lamp now holds the name of this part of Timelines.

 

The sign to announce La Seigneurie made by local blacksmith Justine Southam was erected ….

 

This wrought-iron sign was made by the blacksmith Justine Southam. I think she did a great job.
The sign hangs above old wrought-iron gates.

 

… and the Seigneurie field was planted for the first time.

 

Three crops planted in long rows suggested the planting patterns used in Quebec during the French rule.
Three crops planted in long rows suggested the planting patterns used in Quebec during the French rule.

 

Mythos and Logos options were offered to anyone walking the trail…

 

A short detour from the main trail offers walkers an option -- and a place to sit down.
A short detour from the main trail offers walkers an option — and a place to sit down.

 

… and the sign naming Orin’s Sugarcamp was suspended above it.

A sign over the trail announces the name of this section of Timelines.
A sign over the trail announces the name of this section of Timelines.

 

The second major project we undertook this year was rebuilding the foundation wall of the old Glen Villa hotel. The results are spectacular, far stronger visually than I’d anticipated.

 

We took this picture yesterday, as snow was falling.
We took this picture yesterday, as snow was falling.

 

The addition of ‘walls’ separating one room from another in the China Terrace started the renewal of this section of the garden.

 

The 'door' to the dining room is near the bottom right -- that bit of open grass.
The new ‘walls’ add definition to the space even when they are partially covered with leaves.

 

An old tree trunk was chainsawed to become an alligator or crocodile, depending on your choice of words, and an enormous old pine tree was taken down.

 

Jacques says he loves to be this high off the ground. Not me!
Jacques says he loves to be this high off the ground. Not me!

 

Without question, 2019 was a busy year and 2020 looks like more of the same. I’m the directing force behind every project at Glen Villa but Jacques Gosselin and Ken Kelso are the ones who make things happen. They are multi-talented men who tackle every challenge I set them with enthusiasm and I can’t imagine accomplishing anything without them. So let me end this year with a big thank you to the two of them.

Let me add another big thank you to you, my readers, for sticking with me and for offering the feedback that makes me want to continue writing.

Happy New Year!

Turkeys at Christmas

December 15th, 2019 | 15 Comments »
Odd looking creatures, aren't they?
We are preparing for the holidays at Glen Villa and waiting eagerly for family and friends to arrive. The group below came early.   [caption id="attachment_8384" align="alignleft" width="1600"] We see wild turkeys from time to time but rarely in the colder months.[/caption]   I counted 15 of the prehistoric-looking animals munching their way through the field where the long line of crabapple trees grow.   [caption id="attachment_8385" align="alignleft" width="1600"] Odd looking creatures, aren't they?[/caption]   Until last week the field was covered with snow but warmer temperatures and rain (ugh!)

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The Job is Done!

December 2nd, 2019 | 8 Comments »
An old hand-coloured postcard shows Glen Villa Inn.
The foundation wall of the old Glen Villa Inn is once again standing tall. Rebuilding the wall has been quite a process. In its prime the wall was the base of a grand structure.   [caption id="attachment_1503" align="alignleft" width="1000"] An old hand-coloured postcard shows Glen Villa Inn in all its magnificence.[/caption]   Unfortunately, like so many summer resort hotels built of wood, it didn't last.   [caption id="attachment_8331" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The fire that destroyed the hotel left an impressively long wall and two chimneys. The planting beds in the foreground hint at a

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More Treasures from the Past

November 25th, 2019 | 15 Comments »
This colour postcard shows the same or a similar flower arrangement. It also shows the dam and waterfall. The building in the distance was the clubhouse for the 9 hole golf course.
Work continues as we rebuild the foundation wall of the old Glen Villa Inn.   [caption id="attachment_8327" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The white sheets are put on at the end of each work day to protect against whatever the weather brings.[/caption]   I first wrote about this project a few weeks ago in a post titled We are (Re)Building a Wall and in that post I recounted some of the history of the old hotel.   [caption id="attachment_8332" align="alignleft" width="1600"] This black and white photo shows the hotel as it was in its

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Buried Treasures

November 19th, 2019 | 12 Comments »
untitled (2 of 9)
Slowly the wall that used to hold up the old Glen Villa Inn is beginning to look like a wall again.     As exciting as the re-building are the treasures we discovered when the wall came down. We found glass bottles of all sorts, clear and coloured, broken and unbroken.     Some of the bits of glass were plain, some more decorative.     A clear glass jar with nicely interlocking circles saying Ripans tabules came from Ripans Chemical Company, New York. Thanks to an on-line search and information from The Toadstool

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Another One Bites the Dust

November 11th, 2019 | 10 Comments »
The black tubing marks the edge of the clearing.
The job of rebuilding the hotel foundation wall is progressing but more slowly than we hoped. The slow-down was unavoidable, thanks to (really, no thanks to) the snow that fell this week.   [caption id="attachment_8274" align="alignleft" width="1600"] All the rocks on the right came from the foundation wall which now has been taken down entirely.[/caption]   The snow is attractive, no doubt, but it has come much too early.   [caption id="attachment_8273" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The Cascade looks pretty with its dusting of snow. I just hope the snow won't last too long.[/caption]

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We Are (Re)Building a Wall

November 4th, 2019 | 18 Comments »
An old hand-coloured postcard shows Glen Villa Inn.
Don't worry, it's not a border wall we are building, only the foundation wall of the old Glen Villa Inn.   [caption id="attachment_1503" align="alignleft" width="1000"] A hand-coloured postcard shows Glen Villa Inn, North Hatley, Quebec.[/caption]   The grand old resort hotel was built in 1902 and burned down in 1909. In the summer it attracted guests from around North America, particularly southerners who came north to escape the heat and humidity of their home towns.  Getting to North Hatley, Quebec was an easy journey then -- patrons could board a train at

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Pining Away

October 27th, 2019 | 8 Comments »
Jacques says he loves to be this high off the ground. Not me!
I'm not pining away, but the pine tree is. Or was. This week we tackled a big job that I've been wanting to do for a few years, which was to remove an enormous old pine tree near the bank of Lake Massawippi. The photo below from 2014 shows the beginning of the end of this tree... needles on the upper branches are much thinner than they should be. It also shows how the tree towered above the ones around it.   [caption id="attachment_8228" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The boathouse may have been

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Kiftsgate Court: A Garden Review

October 21st, 2019 | 17 Comments »
Oh, my. Luscious.
Kiftsgate Court is one of those English gardens included on many garden tours, in part because it is so conveniently located, just down the road from Hidcote, the iconic garden created by the Anglo-American Lawrence Johnston. The gardens at Kiftsgate were created over the last hundred years by three generations of women -- grandmother, mother and daughter -- each of whom made her own contribution to the garden as it is today. Renowned for the Kiftsgate rose, the garden contains some wonderful areas and some fine plantings, with sumptuous flowers like this one that

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Autumn Splendour

October 13th, 2019 | 8 Comments »
untitled (1 of 10)
This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and today I'm giving thanks for the splendours of autumn.  All week the colours have been spectacular!     This  view along the driveway at Glen Villa gives some idea of how brilliant the colour is.   [caption id="attachment_8143" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The red leaves are a sugar maple on fire. The white posts in the distance mark the entry to the China Terrace.[/caption]   On the stone wall of the house, Engelman ivy is a symphony of scarlet, red and maroon.   [caption id="attachment_8145" align="alignleft" width="1600"]

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