Category Archives: Art

Autumn Colour Brings Joy

October 6th, 2020 | 4 Comments »
The autumn colours seem particularly intense this year at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec's Eastern Townships. Leaves started to turn earlier than usual and the height of the season has almost come and gone. But what a season it has been! It started early, when a small horse chestnut tree (Aesculus pavia) began to turn.   [caption id="attachment_9230" align="aligncenter" width="2541"] This photo was taken in mid-September[/caption]   It continued as the sourgum trees (Nyssa sylvatica) nearby began to change colour. First one tree caught fire ...   [caption id="attachment_9228" align="aligncenter"

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The Medicine Wheel and the Four Directions

September 20th, 2020 | 4 Comments »
Earlier this week I was fortunate to visit a new installation on the Tomifobia Nature Trail in the company of its creator, Paul-Conrad Carignan, and Paul's partner, Sylvia Bertolini. Paul is a Metis Algonquin-Anishnabe Elder and the site he designed is dedicated to spiritual and healing teachings of the Indigenous Medicine Wheel and its four directions. At a clearing beside the trail, located in Quebec's Eastern Townships close to the border with the United States, large granite slabs, or stelae, rise up at the four directions. Each stone is engraved with an

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The Dining Room Table on the China Terrace

September 4th, 2020 | 10 Comments »
The China Terrace is my way of representing the past in the present, of giving a new life to memories of the years when Glen Villa Inn welcomed summer guests from near and far. According to a local newspaper of the time, Canadians and American visitors "from every state in the Union" came to spend their holidays here in North Hatley, Quebec. The hotel's life was brief, though. Built in 1902, it burned to the ground in 1909, shortly before opening for its eighth season. Not long after moving into Glen Villa in 1996, I discovered an

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The Yin Yang is Remade

August 10th, 2020 | 10 Comments »
You know how one thing leads to another? That's what is happening this year at Glen Villa. Last November we began to rebuild the foundation wall of the old Glen Villa Inn.  Once the job was complete and I saw the impressive wall, I knew it needed a garden to complement it. The result is the newly planted area, the North South Arrow, now beginning to grow in. Between the hotel wall and the Arrow is a low circular stone wall. Its original purpose was to provide a turn-around for horse-drawn carriages bringing

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Bosco della Ragnaia: A Garden for the Mind

July 13th, 2020 | 6 Comments »
Gardens and the peace they can bring are much on my mind today, as the number of people infected with COVID-19 continues to grow.  It is a fact that gardens can heal the body as well as the mind. Research from around the world tells us that even brief contacts with nature are beneficial, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress as effectively as antidepressants for mild to moderate depression. Almost any reconnection with nature has a powerful physical and mental healing effect, even something as simple as weeding a flower bed.

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2020 Goals + One Resolution

January 6th, 2020 | 10 Comments »
If I'm to have any chance of doing all I hope to do in the garden in 2020, I need to do more than set goals. I need to plan and schedule, something I'm not terribly good at. Plus it's likely that other projects will come up unexpectedly. So I won't know for sure until this time next year whether I'm successful.  But for now, these are my plans for the year ahead. 1. Finish renovating the China Terrace. We started work at the China Terrace in late summer last year when we replaced

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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. [caption id="attachment_7759" align="alignleft" width="2048"] Catherine Walker and Gary Ross volunteered to help on the Open Day and their music added a special touch to the day.[/caption]   Getting ready

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Another One Bites the Dust

November 11th, 2019 | 10 Comments »
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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Kiftsgate Court: A Garden Review

October 21st, 2019 | 17 Comments »
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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Paths with Pizazz

August 4th, 2019 | 4 Comments »
Many garden paths are ordinary, designed simply to get you from one place in the garden to another. Grass paths, the simplest and least costly type of path to make, appear in gardens so routinely that they almost disappear. Occasionally, though, you'll see a path that stands out. The grass path below is an example. It is well maintained and nicely curved but what lifts it out of the ordinary is the white line that edges it. That line draws your eye along the curve and makes the path itself impossible to ignore.

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