A path of exploration
Unveiling the beauty and meaning behind art and gardens


Autumn Splendour

October 13th, 2019 | 6 Comments »

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and today I’m giving thanks for the splendours of autumn.  All week the colours have been spectacular!


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This  view along the driveway at Glen Villa gives some idea of how brilliant the colour is.


The white posts in the distance mark the entry to the China Terrace.
The red leaves are a sugar maple on fire. The white posts in the distance mark the entry to the China Terrace.


On the stone wall of the house, Engelman ivy is a symphony of scarlet, red and maroon.


The ferns are dying back but still offer a sharp contrast in colour.
The ferns are dying back but still offer a sharp contrast in colour to the ivy on the wall.


The colours on the hillside above the Big Meadow are a mix of apricot and spun gold.


The remaining greens make the colours appear even more vibrant.
The remaining greens make the colours appear even more vibrant.


The fields above the house are equally splendid.


The figures of Abenaki Walking III are in the foreground.
The figures of Abenaki Walking III are in the foreground.


Everywhere along the Timelines trail, the colours are singing — not sotto voce but con brio...


This scene is par of The Clearing of the Land.
This scene is part of The Clearing of the Land.


…not piano but fortissimo.


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At the Skating Pond the ornamental grasses are at their best.


The plumes of Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light' shine by the Skating Pond.
The plumes of Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ shine by the Skating Pond.


In an old farm field, the Big Chair is almost shockingly white against the autumnal colours.


The Big Chair and column are part of The Past Looms Large, one section of Timelines.
The Big Chair and column are part of The Past Looms Large, one section of Timelines.


Up close, the different colours on oak leaves separate into greens, browns and touches of red, making the veins stand out prominently.


Oak leaves have a texture that begs to be stroked.
Oak leaves have a texture that begs to be stroked.


Even when colours begin to fade, beauty remains.


Ferns in the woods offer a quieter note.
Ferns in the woods sing a quieter song.


We know that these glorious colours won’t remain much longer. We know that their brilliance means that colder and whiter times will soon be here. But even with the dying of this year, there’s humour to be found.


Who put the apples on the Seigneurie sign? Thank you, whoever it was!
Who put the apples on the Seigneurie sign? Thanks for the laugh, whoever it was!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The China Terrace in Autumn

October 6th, 2019 | 9 Comments »
china terrace (5 of 5)
The China Terrace is my interpretation of history ... a room in the garden at Glen Villa where I have recreated parts of Glen Villa Inn, the old resort hotel that once stood on our property. Towards the end of summer I wrote about the new 'walls' that we installed to mark the division between the different rooms in the hotel: a reception area, bedroom and dining room.  (You can read that post here.) The 'walls' are now covered with autumn leaves, and the grass we seeded over a month


A Bench with a View

September 29th, 2019 | 10 Comments »
A simple and very stylish bench made from ordinary 2x4s.
Last week's blog prompted so many responses that I'm writing about benches again. Kathy Purdy, a friend, regular reader and blogger extraordinaire (you can read her blog here) made the excellent comment that the view from a bench is as important as -- more important than? -- the design itself. I also have photos of many interesting bench designs that I didn't include last week. So location as well as design is the focus for this post. I've positioned benches at Glen Villa with the view very much in mind.  A Victorian-style


The Right Bench in the Right Place

September 22nd, 2019 | 11 Comments »
The colour of this bench makes it memorable, even without the names and dates of previous owners painted on the back.
Garden benches come in all sizes and shapes. Some are strictly utilitarian, some decorative, and some add meaning to the garden through their design. The simple utilitarian version of a bench is a familiar sight, whether with a back ... [caption id="attachment_8053" align="alignleft" width="3696"] This bench from a garden in Newfoundland invites you to sit down and admire the pond and the plants around it.[/caption]   ... or without.   [caption id="attachment_8056" align="alignleft" width="3888"] This bench is stylish even though simple in the extreme, thanks to the chunky legs and squared


Wildflowers Rule!

September 9th, 2019 | 6 Comments »
1. Queen Anne's lace (1 of 1)
Labour Day has come and gone, which must mean that summer is over. But the wildflowers blooming so exuberantly in the fields around Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec's Eastern Townships, say that isn't so.   [caption id="attachment_7991" align="alignleft" width="5184"] Joe Pye weed has taken over an unused field... and every year I thank it for doing moving in.[/caption]   Ok, perhaps that's wishful thinking. The Joe Pye weed that was so gorgeous a few weeks ago is faded now, and while that has its own style of beautiful, it


Containers That Match Your Mood

September 2nd, 2019 | 8 Comments »
This combo worked well from late May to late September.
Recently a friend asked if I'd written about container gardening. Her question started me thinking about how the plants on the decks around our house have changed over the years. I pulled out old photos to see if my memory was accurate. Yes, the choices I made had changed. And while that wasn't really surprising, what I noticed most was that the differences year to year reflected changes not only in my experience but also in my emotions and moods. Decks surround Glen Villa, our house and garden in Quebec, offering lots of space


The China Terrace Gets a Face Lift

August 25th, 2019 | 10 Comments »
I used Lamium 'Fancy Nancy' for the bedspread and Alternathera 'Purple Prince' for the pillow.
The title of this post might well be The China Terrace gets a Floor Lift... but that would be confusing and not entirely accurate. So what has happened? The China Terrace, a re-imagining of the grand resort hotel that once stood on the property, was one of the first projects I undertook at Glen Villa. [caption id="attachment_1567" align="alignleft" width="1024"] The entry to the China Terrace uses old pillars I found in a local antique store. The posts that curve up beyond suggest a staircase to an imaginary second story.[/caption]   My


Try and Try Again

August 18th, 2019 | 15 Comments »
The wrought-iron will rust eventually but we can scrape and oil it when it does.
The old saying is a good one: if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. There's a meme in the gardening world started by Bonney Lassie at call Tell the Truth Tuesday. Despite my fair share of failures, I've never joined in. But La Seigneurie, one of the newest parts of my Quebec garden, fits the meme all too well. So even if it isn't Tuesday, here's the truth. In early June this year, we seeded a farm field as part of Timelines, the 3 km trail I've developed that explores questions


A Fence with a Story

August 15th, 2019 | No Comments »
After reading my most recent post about fences, a friend sent me a photo of the fence around the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri.   [caption id="attachment_7877" align="alignleft" width="5152"] You don't often see turtles on fences. Or at least not in my part of the world.[/caption]   I wondered if Missouri was the turtle state, and if not, what was the story behind the design? This information from a brochure about the Old Courthouse tells the tale: ‘A turtle design on the reproduction courtyard gates commemorates a turtle that once



August 11th, 2019 | 14 Comments »
I designed this fence made of steel posts and wire cable to be as invisible as possible from a distance and attractive up close.
Fences come in all shapes and sizes, yet in one way or another they all serve the same purpose: to separate one area from another. At Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec, the oldest fence separates a former farm field from a driveway.   [caption id="attachment_7852" align="alignleft" width="1024"] It's obvious from the way the tree has grown around it that this barbed wire fence was put up a long time ago.[/caption]   An equally practical but more decorative fence is the one I designed to protect shrubs from the deer that