Category Archives: Art

Do flowers make a garden?

February 9th, 2014 | 21 Comments »
Must a garden have flowers? Must it have trees and shrubs? Must it have plants at all? I think most people would say yes. But consider England’s great landscape gardens. Some of those designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the late 1700s had few if any flowers. And what about that masterpiece of garden art, the Ryoan-ji  garden in Kyoto? This garden from the late 1400s contains only sand, rock and small islands of moss. This image of the Ryoan-ji's Zen garden is from Wikipedia. So, is “garden” simply a word to be defined

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Extreme gardening

December 17th, 2013 | 7 Comments »
How hard can it be to go from this... On the beach in Perth, West Australia to this? A snowy day at Glen Villa Very hard! But it is even harder to go to this… Montreal on a cold win'ter's day: the view from my apartment window When I left Perth, West Australia, on Friday, December 13,  the temperature was 35C (or 95 fahrenheit) -- and climbing. When, after some 30 hours of travel, I arrived in Montreal it was still Friday, December 13. The temperature was -22C (or about

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Glen Villa in Autumn

October 14th, 2013 | 6 Comments »
Travelling is wonderful, but nothing beats being at Glen Villa on a perfect autumn day, when the air is clear, the sky is blue and nothing in particular has to be done.This morning I walked around the garden, my first walk-about in three weeks. A few flowers are still blooming, like the never-say-die sedum 'Autumn Joy.'Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is still going strong in mid-October.The bergenia I planted this spring to complement the aqueduct is showing its full fall colour.Which name do you prefer, bergenia or pigsqueak?The peegee hydrangea that was

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The Guggenheim Bilbao: more than a Puppy

October 6th, 2013 | 4 Comments »
Jeff Koons is not my favourite artist. In fact, I don't really like his work. But I do like his Puppy. And I loved the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, inside and out.Koons' Puppy is suitably festive outside Frank Gehry's trademark gay curves.In the plaza next to the museum, towering over pedestrians, Koons' highland terrier is a patchwork of colours so bright that it lifts the spirits on a cloudy day. And lifts the corners of the mouths of everyone passing by, as well.A slightly different angle confirms it: this Puppy is BIG.I saw

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Mosaiculture: a different kind of art

September 16th, 2013 | 4 Comments »
Mosaiculture is the name given to three dimensional sculptures made of plants. This summer, the Montreal Botanical Garden played host to dozens of creations from around the world, all illustrating the theme, Land of Hope. I postponed visiting the show until a few weeks ago, thinking I wouldn't like it. But I did. I was captured by the skill, the scale and the imagination. And by the humour. Who couldn't smile seeing these lemurs, parading along the walkway, tails held high? These ring-tailed lemurs are from Madagascar, an island rich in biodiversity.

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Thinking Big

May 21st, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Recently I saw a photo of a giant yellow ducky floating in Hong Kong harbour. Called Spreading Joy Around the World, it's by the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. And it is BIG: 54 ft, or 16.5 metres, tall. The artist said it was intended to make people feel happy. It worked. It made me smile. It also set me thinking about the impact of size in a landscape. At Glen Villa, the Big Chair always brings a smile. From a distance, it’s hard to appreciate the scale. But once someone

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Memorials, Memory Posts and Columns: Commemorating the Past at Glen Villa

May 7th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
What makes a good memorial? This question continues to occupy my mind, and not only because of the memorials I saw recently in Washington, D.C. and wrote about here.   For more than two years I’ve been thinking about a creating a memorial to my mother who died in 2010 at the age of 97, after a full and estimable life.   Already in the woods at Glen Villa now are memorials to other family members. I call these memorials memory posts, and for me they commemorate the lives of people who were

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Washington, the Monumental City

April 5th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
I spent Easter weekend visiting Washington D.C. with my husband and my sister. We were hoping to see cherry blossoms colouring the sky but it has been too cold and the buds are only now beginning to open. So no photos of pink blossoms, although the photo below shows how gloriously bent and mis-shapen the trees are, monuments to time and the up-keep provided by the National Park Service. Cherry trees beside Washington's Tidal Basin   Instead of admiring cherry blossoms, we visited museums and two of Washington’s newer memorials.

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In Transit / En Route: Part Three, the final installment

March 19th, 2013 | No Comments »
Several weeks ago I started a three-part series about an art installation at Glen Villa called In Transit / en Route. I posted the first two parts and intended to post the third in week three. But California and all I saw there captured my attention and my blogging time. So the third part of In Transit / en Route went to the bottom of the pile. Finally, though, it is back at the top. So here it is, the third and final installment. If you want to read (or re-read) the

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In Transit / En Route: part 2

February 20th, 2013 | No Comments »
The In Transit / En Route trail starts at the edge of a field. with a sign that asks a rather odd question. Where are you? Où êtes-vous? As I wrote in my previous post (In Transit / En Route: the beginning), the words aren't easy to read. The letters are small and the words run together with no breaks. Once someone figures out the question, though, it usually makes them laugh. They make a joke, another person responds, and they laugh as they come up with different answers to this question that

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