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You are Invited!

July 23rd, 2017 | 6 Comments »

It’s less than a week until our second annual Open Garden Day. I’m ready for it, bilingual volunteers are prepped, and the garden is looking fine.

So I hope I’ll see you here, next Saturday between 10 and 4. There’s no need to reserve a spot, and all are welcome, with admission payable on site. (No dogs or picnics, please.)

Here are the details.

 

Glen-Villa-Open-House-2017-eng-1200x800

 

And here’s a preview of what you’ll see.

The Cascade by the house …

 

The ligularia add a nice vertical element to the horizontal planting at the Cascade.
The yellow Ligularia add a nice vertical element to the horizontal planting at the Cascade.

 

The astilbe and hostas by the front door …

The sculpture is by Quebec artists Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito.
The sculpture is by Quebec artists Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito.

 

And a swing to pretend you are still a child. (It works for real children, too.)

A swing makes for an idyllic summer day.
A swing makes for an idyllic summer day.

 

In the Lower Garden, you’ll see flowers and shrubs, and a sculpture by Doucet-Saito.

 

Late afternoon sunlight makes the Aralia 'Sun King' gleam.
Late afternoon sunlight makes the Aralia ‘Sun King’ gleam.

 

You’ll see more flowers twining up tree trunks …

 

Clematis Violacea Venosa matches well with Achemilla mollis, or Lady's Mantle.
Clematis Violacea Venosa matches well with Achemilla mollis, or Lady’s Mantle.

 

… shouting out sunshine …

 

The yellow flower is Inula. I started it from seed over a dozen years ago.
The yellow flower is Inula magnifica ‘Goliath’. I started it from seed over a dozen years ago.

 

… and offering the perfect landing spot for bees.

 

Echinacea now comes in a variety of colours and shapes. I still like the old coneflower the best.
Echinacea now comes in a variety of colours and shapes. I still like the old coneflower the best.

 

You may see deer — including two baby fawns who still have their spots — a fat lazy groundhog, turtles and frogs.

 

A frog in the hand is worth two in the pond.
A frog in the hand is worth two in the pond.

 

You can explore, woodland trails, ponds and meadows.

 

Snapping turtles like to laze on the rocks at the Skating Pond.
Snapping turtles like to laze on the rocks at the Skating Pond.

 

Or take a look back in time, at the China Terrace …

 

The dining room table is made of cement tinted red to suggest a velvet tablecloth.
The dining room table is made of cement tinted red to suggest a velvet tablecloth.

 

or the Sundial Clearing.

 

This is the Sundial Clearing. The shadow of a dead pine tree marks the hours of the day.
A trail through the woods leads to the Sundial Clearing. The shadow of a dead pine tree marks the hours of the day.

 

For a fun-filled day, rain or shine, Glen Villa offers a lot. Bilingual volunteers will be stationed around the garden and bilingual brochures make a self-guided tour easy. And remember, your admission fee of $25 helps to conserve pristine lands around Lake Massawippi — and to build ecologically sensitive trails that make that land accessible to all.

I’ll be around all day, happy to answer questions or just to sit and chat.

See you on the 29th!

What a Difference a Month Makes

July 17th, 2017 | 24 Comments »
Looking beyond the nepeta you can see how the Big Meadow is coming along.
Yesterday was Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. The 15th of the month is when garden bloggers from around the world post photos of what is blooming in their garden. (Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting this meme.) I haven't been doing this, and I'm not sure I will in the future. But I can't resist showing off one particular bloom at Glen Villa, my garden in rural Quebec. The flower I'm showcasing is Nepeta recemosa 'Walker's Low.' It's a cliché to say that a plant is blooming its heart out,

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Vancouver Gardens

July 10th, 2017 | 14 Comments »
this Japanese maple is in my brother-in-law's garden, a beautifully cool and shady spot.
I'm on my way back to Quebec now, after five days in Vancouver. It's been a terrific trip. The weather has been spectacular and the opening of my exhibition, Clichés to Live By, was a huge success -- lots of people of all ages and lots of positive feedback. Along with visits to the Winsor Gallery to see the show, I've been walking around Kitsilano, the area of Vancouver where I stayed. 'Kits' was named after a Squamish chief, August Jack Khatsahlano. Once it was a dense wildlife-filled forest; now Craftsman-style houses

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Clichés to Live By

July 3rd, 2017 | 15 Comments »
George Bush's statement was a promise not to raise taxes. Did he?
I'm thrilled to announce that an exhibition of neon art I've created will open on July 8 at The Winsor Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Winsor Gallery features cutting edge contemporary art, and I'm honoured to be exhibiting there, where artists of the calibre of Alexander Calder, Attila Richard Lukacs, Patrick Hughes, Angela Grossman and Fiona Ackerman have been shown. This exhibition gives me special pleasure: the invitation to exhibit came as the result of two garden visits. The first visit happened several years ago when I went to Broadwoodside, a garden near

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Garden Visitors

June 27th, 2017 | 12 Comments »
I want to add a tall spiky plant that pops up through the Nepeta at occasional spots and tones in with the barberry and rusty steel.  I'm trying several possibilities this year, including early summer blooming Eremurus 'Cleopatra.' I've ordered the bulbs for fall planting.
This week the first group of gardeners will be coming to tour Glen Villa. Forty plus members of the Ottawa Garden Club will spend the morning  here, on what I'm hoping will be a sunny day. They are coming at a good time -- the garden is looking fabulous. I rarely write a blog post that's only about flowers, but this week the blooms are so spectacular that it's worth showcasing their beauty. The Aqueduct, where last year I added Nepeta 'Walker's Low', Ruby Carousel barberry and Porteranthus (formerly Gillenia trifoliata) to existing boxwood balls,

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An Exchange of Views

June 23rd, 2017 | 9 Comments »
Topiary at Allt-y-bela was stunning.
What happens when two opinionated garden makers visit the garden of a Chelsea award-winning garden designer? Last month, Anne Wareham, Charles Hawes and I visited Allt-y-bela, the home of Arne Maynard, an author and prominent UK garden designer.  We spent several hours wandering around the impressive garden, located in Monmouthshire, Wales; Anne and I spent even more time several weeks later exchanging ideas and responses to what we had seen. Along with running her own garden, Veddw,  (in case you missed my review of Veddw, you can read it here), Anne edits the internationally

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Garden Envy

June 20th, 2017 | 19 Comments »
The Upper Field at Glen Villa is a what dieticians argue against, butter spread thick on the ground.
Coming home from a tour of English gardens I felt a short, sharp shock. Everything in my garden looked inadequate, not up to the standard I had come to expect. I moped. I complained. Why can't I grow the hundreds of plants I saw and admired?  Some of them must surely suit my climate. So why don't the garden centres around Glen Villa stock them? Then I faced the facts. My garden will never match the perfection of an English estate that employs six or seven full time gardeners.  The garden centres will

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Gardeners (and Gardens) to Remember

June 7th, 2017 | 14 Comments »
This garden by James Alexander Sinclair showed the relationship between sound and motion. Water gurgled and spouted in response to sound waves. Very ingenious.
I'm home again at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec, after touring gardens in England. In ten days, the small group I was hosting visited 17 gardens, each special in its own way. Add in the Chelsea Flower Show and pre-tour visits to three other gardens and you can imagine the result: more photos and memories than a dozen blog posts can handle. Let me mention a few highlights. (More blog posts will come once I catch my breath and begin to assimilate all I saw.) The Chelsea Flower Show

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Veddw House Garden

May 22nd, 2017 | 18 Comments »
These hedges were tiny when planted. Very tiny --
 about ankle high. Getting the proportions right must have been a nightmare.
  I'm in England now, about to start on a ten-day garden tour. With my co-host Julia Guest of Travel Concepts in Vancouver, I will take a small group of women to the southwest of England.  But before hitting the road, let me whet your appetite with a review of an extraordinary garden I visited pre-tour. Veddw is the garden of Anne Wareham and Charles Hawes. Located in Wales, just across the border from England in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Veddw pays homage to its surroundings in ways that show respect

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Open Garden Day 2017

May 14th, 2017 | 3 Comments »
Glen Villa Open House 2017 eng 1200x800
I'm happy to announce that once again this year, we are opening the garden at Glen Villa as a fundraiser for the Massawippi Foundation. Here are the details.     As you can see, the admission goes directly to our local community foundation, Fondation Massawippi Foundation. The Foundation supports community projects -- school playgrounds, a community health centre, meals to shut-ins and seniors and much more. It also supports land conservation through the Massawippi Conservation Trust. In the few short years since the Trust was established, almost 800 acres of

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