Is it Spring yet?

May 26th, 2019 | 12 Comments »

Spring is here, finally, with the promise that summer is a-comin’ in. Or so it feels today. And maybe it will feel the same tomorrow, but who knows?

Oscar Wilde said that conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative. Not so for gardeners in the Eastern Townships of Quebec where I garden. Weather means more for us. This year at least it means ground so soggy that farmers still can’t seed their fields. It means trees still struggling to leaf out.

 

The hawthorn trees higher up the hill aren't dead, just very slow to leaf out.
The hawthorn trees on the left aren’t dead, just even slower than the ones on the right to turn green.

 

On the positive side it means that spring is lasting longer than usual.  Daffodils began to bloom more than a month ago and are only now reaching their peak.

 

Daffodils scribble their way across the grass at the Dragon's Tail.
Daffodils scribble their way across the grass at the Dragon’s Tail, Glen Villa’s signature planting.

 

Because we planted different varieties of daffodils at the Skating Pond, we may enjoy them for several more weeks. That’s if the weather cooperates and doesn’t heat up too much, too quickly.

 

Daffodils bloom for weeks by the Skating Pond.
Over the years we’ve planted thousands of daffodils. Can there ever be too many?

 

Overall, the Skating Pond itself is looking very good, particularly on a moody-sky day.

 

The willow tree
The willow tree will droop closer to the water as the summer progresses. We gave it a good haircut last year.

 

I’m happy with the Cascade, too.

 

The spirea at the top and bottom of the Cascade are just coming into bloom.
The spirea at the top and bottom of the Cascade are just coming into bloom.

 

I particularly like the little marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) that found a foothold near the water. At this time of year, any muddy spot offers them a place to grow. And what a bright light they are!

 

The bright yellow blossoms stand out nicely against the dark rock behind.
The bright yellow blossoms stand out nicely against the wet rock behind.

 

In the Lower Garden, the magnolias are particularly beautiful this year, thanks to abundant rainfall.

 

Magnolia stellata has been blooming for two weeks now.
Magnolia stellata ‘Susan’ has been blooming for two weeks now. The dark blooms of Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ are still to come.

 

Bergenia is blooming near the front door ….

 

Bergenia or pig squeak? Which do you call it? And how can such an attractive plant have such an unattractive common name?
Bergenia or pig squeak? Which do you call it? And how can such an attractive plant have such an unattractive common name?

 

…. with twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla) lighting up the world nearby.  This plant is one of my favourites. I like that it was named after Thomas Jefferson, I like that it changes dramatically throughout the season, but I like most of all that it comes and goes so quickly.

 

This year's blooms came and went in three days.
This year’s blooms came and went in three days.

 

Andy Warhol taught us that we all have our 15 minutes of fame. Jeffersonia diphylla illustrates this perfectly. What could show us more clearly how ephemeral spring ephemerals can be? And, by extension, suggest how fragile are our gardens’ beauty and well-being.


Don’t forget to buy your tickets for the Open Garden Day! One click will take you directly to the Massawippi Foundation’s website  where you can purchase tickets for a morning or afternoon visit.

open-house-banner

 

Open Garden Day Tickets on Sale!

May 20th, 2019 | No Comments »
Saturday, July 20 is the day and you are invited!   Come and explore the wonders of the garden and landscape when Glen Villa opens to the public as a fundraiser for the Massawippi Foundation and Conservation Trust. All proceeds from your admission fee go to support land conservation, community projects and a network of trails that lead through pristine woodlands, preserved in perpetuity by the Conservation Trust. Buy your tickets now for a morning or afternoon visit!      

Buy Now is Coming…

May 9th, 2019 | No Comments »
You may have received a blog post earlier today with a BUY NOW button. This post should not have gone out... there are a number of bugs in the purchase option that I haven't worked out. SO: my apologies.  I hope to have the tickets sales up and running within a week.

Speaking of gardens…

May 7th, 2019 | 3 Comments »
frogs (1 of 1)
I'm speaking twice this month to groups in and around Montreal. Both events are open to the general public, so do come if you can. Learning to Look: the Art of Garden Observation On Saturday, May 11 at 2:30, I'm speaking in Georgeville, Quebec at the Murray Community Hall.  This talk about how to get the most of visiting gardens has proved very popular with audiences in the U.S. and Canada, and I'm delighted to be presenting in Georgeville. While the talk does not feature frogs,  this photo I took on the

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