Category Archives: Design

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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A Three Part Garden

August 3rd, 2020 | 2 Comments »
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to visit a garden in the small village of North Hatley, Quebec, where I live, to see the work of garden makers Jane Meagher and Jean Vanaise. Here, over about ten years, they have transformed a one-acre town lot into a lushly varied garden. The transformation began when they decided to renovate and enlarge their house.  Before they began, the garden around the building was mostly grass plus a few bunches of flowers scattered more or less randomly. Not so today. Now their mini-paradise is set off from the street and

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In Transit/En Route in 2020

July 20th, 2020 | 8 Comments »
In Transit/En Route is part of Timelines, the trail at Glen Villa that explores ideas about time, memory and our relationship to the land. Dating back to 2009, it was one of the first sections of Timelines I built and was an inspiration for all that followed. Over the intervening years, In Transit/En Route has undergone many changes, including several iterations of the signs that lead from an old field into the woods. First the signs stood on wooden posts that held red glass squares with circular openings.     I based that design on the Chinese concept of the universe,

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The Upper Room in 2020

July 6th, 2020 | 19 Comments »
The Upper Room is the memorial I created to remember and honour my mother. Designed to reflect the things most important to her -- her family, her religious beliefs and her dedication to Virginia and its institutions --  the Upper Room is a small formal area set amidst a natural forest on a hillside above our house. I wrote about its creation in a post you can find here, gave an update on the project here and showed how it looked in winter in a post here. Although my mother died in 2010, it wasn't until

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Planting the North South Arrow

June 25th, 2020 | 4 Comments »
Last week I wrote about the genesis of the North South Arrow, the new area we are planting at Glen Villa, describing how the concept for the area changed over time. Today I'm writing about the plants I chose and how I decided to arrange them. Jacques had warned me that the soil on site was a mix of sand and gravel that would need to be modified substantially if I wanted anything planted there to thrive. His advice was to dig up the top six inches and replace the

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The North South Arrow

June 15th, 2020 | 10 Comments »
Months ago, when we were rebuilding the foundation wall of Glen Villa Inn, the huge resort hotel that once stood on our property, I began thinking of a new planting area to complement the new wall. A photo taken shortly after the hotel burned down in 1909 showed plants arranged around the low stone wall in front of the hotel, where horse-drawn carriages circled to pick up and drop off hotel guests. The planting around that circular wall prompted me to consider a similar arrangement. [caption id="attachment_8368" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The

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Daffodils and more

May 6th, 2020 | 12 Comments »
On the weekend, my heart was dancing with Wordsworthian glee. There weren't ten thousand daffodils in bloom but there were far more than I wanted to count.   [caption id="attachment_8687" align="alignleft" width="4587"] Daffodils make the berm above the Skating Pond a true delight in spring.[/caption]   For the last umpteen years, we've been planting daffodils on the berm above the Skating Pond. I've never ordered single varieties, always choosing instead to use the less expensive mixed varieties that are packaged in the hundreds. So I can't identify any of the particular varieties

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More Advice

March 2nd, 2020 | 10 Comments »
Last week I advised myself not to set overly ambitious garden goals for 2020. I must have been under the weather. This week, I'm back to normal, aiming to accomplish most of the goals I set myself even while acknowledging that doing that will mostly likely be impossible. Although I set six goals for the year, I made only one resolution, which was to photograph one part of the garden every month. Anne Wareham of ThinkinGardens, a site that posts interesting and provocative blogs from around the world, did this last year in her own garden,

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Advice I’m Giving Myself

February 24th, 2020 | 7 Comments »
After a month-long break from blogging, I'm back writing and thinking about my garden goals for 2020. And I'm giving myself some stern advice. Don't try to do too much! Was I crazy to set myself six big goals for 2020? Clearly the answer is yes. Already I can see that completing two of those goals is next to impossible. I know I won't be fencing in the Lower Garden and I doubt I will do much to extend Timelines, the trail that explores questions about memory, identity and our relationship to the

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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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