Category Archives: Glen Villa

Open Garden Day 2017

May 14th, 2017 | 3 Comments »

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.

 

Glen Villa Open House 2017 eng 1200x800

 

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 ecologically valuable land have been conserved; by the end of this year, the Trust hopes to add an additional 400 acres. Most of the conserved land is undisturbed forest on the hillside above Lake Massawippi, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. The Foundation is now building trails on this land to make the natural beauty accessible to the general public in an ecologically sensitive way.

 

Wild garlic carpets a section of the forest floor at Glen Villa.
Wild garlic carpets a section of the forest floor at Glen Villa.

 

This is a cause our family enthusiastically supports. I’m on the Board of Directors of the Foundation and my husband is a Trustee of the Conservation Trust. In addition, we have put a servitude, or easement, on a portion of our land, preventing development of any kind in perpetuity. We decided to do this because the land itself deserves protection. It contains sections of old growth forest and is filled with native flora and fauna that could easily be destroyed. Opening our garden to be public gives us a chance to support the work of the Foundation and Trust. And it gives me the pleasure of sharing the garden we’ve created.

In order for visitors to experience the garden at its best, we’ve decided to limit numbers. Unlike last year when visitors simply showed up at the gate, this years we are asking people to reserve for either a morning or afternoon visit. Last year the morning was busier than the afternoon, so if you want to come in the morning, I suggest reserving soon. You can do that here (English) or here (French).

 

A volunteer sets up the registration table at last year's Open Garden Day.
A volunteer sets up the registration table at last year’s Open Garden Day.

 

As long as space is available, we will welcome visitors at the door. Payment is also at the door. Up to the Open Day itself you will be able to confirm if space is available by checking the website of the Massawippi Foundation.

***  Please note: reservations can be made only with the Massawippi Foundation and not with me.

Maps of the property in French and English will be available at the door and bilingual volunteers will be stationed throughout the garden to give directions and answer questions. I will be in and about all day, to chat or discuss issues related to gardens, art for gardens and garden design.

Last year, with very little publicity, we attracted hundreds of people. This year we are publicizing the event more widely, particularly through garden clubs and horticultural societies.  So I do urge you to reserve your spot as soon as you can.

And please, spread the word!

 

 

The flowers that bloom in the spring, Tra-la

May 9th, 2017 | 8 Comments »
untitled (5 of 20)
Gilbert and Sullivan got it right when they wrote about spring flowers. The flowers that bloom in the spring, Tra la, Breathe promise of merry sunshine — As we merrily dance and we sing, Tra la, We welcome the hope that they bring, Tra la, Of a summer of roses and wine. Right now, I'm dancing and singing. Because everywhere at Glen Villa, spring flowers are blooming. Daffodils galore brighten the path to the China Terrace ....   [caption id="attachment_5129" align="aligncenter" width="1319"] We planted these daffodils about fifteen years ago. The

Read More...

The Upper Room

April 26th, 2017 | 24 Comments »
The hardscaping for The Upper Room was completed last summer.
After months of anticipation, yesterday we installed the glass panels at The Upper Room. The wait was long but it was worth it -- I am thrilled with the results. The Upper Room is a memorial designed to honour my mother and her beliefs. It's a tribute to family and to the traditions I grew up with in Richmond, Virginia, when classically symmetrical architecture, brick, and boxwood shaped our streetscapes and our view of the world. From inception, brick and boxwood were essential elements of the design. So was a sense of embrace. I wanted the

Read More...

The Spirit of Stone: A Book Review

April 10th, 2017 | 10 Comments »
The book is a useful primer on how to use stone in the garden.
I share something with Jan Johnsen, author of The Spirit of Stone -- a respect for stones and the qualities they bring to a landscape. At Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec, I've used stones in paths, steps and walls. I've used them more unusually in the gabion walls of The Aqueduct and in the parking area in front of the house. [caption id="attachment_5034" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Gabion walls can be practical and aesthetically pleasing. A low pool can be attractive to a tiny granddaughter.[/caption]   Two stunning moss-covered rocks in the woods

Read More...

Garden Plans: I’m Dreaming Again

March 27th, 2017 | 27 Comments »
You can see a bit of the trail on the left side of this photo, taken in 2009. We cleared brush from this area last fall. Some of the wildflowers have disappeared but the site still feels the same. Is this an example of unity persisting despite change?
Now that winter has dumped several feet of snow on a garden that was almost snow-free, I'm back by the fire, metaphorically at least, dreaming of the seasons ahead.   [caption id="attachment_5009" align="aligncenter" width="600"] I took this photo about ten days ago after a fresh snowfall. Today is grey. And maybe more snow will fall. I hope not.[/caption]   I'm dreaming about a trail that will lead around the property. I'm considering the route it will follow and what I will call it. I know the purpose of the trail -- it will connect art

Read More...

Garden Goals for 2017

January 9th, 2017 | 10 Comments »
The tin maple leaves hung in November 2016 are now coated with snow, making the scene even more evocative.
Setting annual goals for the garden keeps me on track and helps me avoid jumping from one thing to another, something I'm all too prone to do. Last year I set 10 goals for myself and discovered, looking back in last week's post, that ten was too many. So in 2017 I'm cutting my ambitions in half and setting five goals for the year ahead. 1. Finish The Upper Room The bare bones of The Upper Room, the new area in the garden that honours my mother and her beliefs, have

Read More...

Looking Back and Forth

December 31st, 2016 | 10 Comments »
Since I didn't do anything about new pots, I shouldn't have a photo to illustrate this goal. But I did use Mandeville vines on the living room deck. I've had these same plants for ten years or so, and they continue to provide abundant blooms and colour.
Last December I took the risky step of setting goals for 2016. So as that year ends and 2017 begins, it's time to assess. How much of what I wanted to do did I actually accomplish? 1. The Cascade: As intended, I modified the plantings around The Cascade. I reduced the number of different types of plants, improved the drainage and the soil in the beds themselves. As a result, the plants flourished and I was content. But of course there are always reservations. The Weigela 'Wine and Roses' needs another year

Read More...

A Recklessly Record-less Year

December 19th, 2016 | 14 Comments »
This album will be arranged by project, not chronologically.
For the last sixteen years I've kept a record of what happens each year in the garden. I've conscientiously photographed each project I've undertaken, each border as it changed from season to season, each modification I made or was thinking about making. I've stuck these photographs into albums and written comments --  about my intentions for a project, or the weather, what I was wanting to do next -- in effect, about anything that seemed relevant at the time. These albums are immensely helpful. They are a record of how the garden has developed. They both show and tell

Read More...

A Doorstep for Orin’s Sugarcamp

December 12th, 2016 | 15 Comments »
Jacques and Ken are skilled workers who can operate almost any piece of equipment, even under difficult conditions.
On the weekend we installed the granite slab that marks the 'front door' of Orin's Sugarcamp, my latest art installation at Glen Villa. (You can read about the project here.) Doing this was tricky. It involved transporting an 800-pound slab of rock across a snowy field and a partially frozen stream on the back of an open wagon. That takes skill, particularly since the snow is very slippery right now. But Jacques Gosselin and Ken Kelso, the talented men who work for me at Glen Villa, managed the job with ease.   [caption id="attachment_4767" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]

Read More...

When Less is More

December 5th, 2016 | 25 Comments »
water meadow clean up
Is less more? I associate the familiar phrase with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the founders of modern architecture and a proponent of simplicity of style. But when I went to confirm this, I found to my surprise that the phrase was first used in print in Andrea del Sarto, a poem by Robert Browning. Who strive - you don't know how the others strive To paint a little thing like that you smeared Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,- Yet do much less, so much less, Someone

Read More...