Category Archives: Glen Villa

Autumn Colour

October 16th, 2018 | 6 Comments »

Autumn is spectacular in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Unfortunately I’ve had little time to enjoy it this year, because earlier this month we sold our condominium in Montreal where we’ve lived for the last 22 years. Cleaning and sorting and disposing of the contents has taken a lot of time and effort. In fact, it’s been a real slog but thankfully I’ve had lots of help from family members. (Thank you, each and all!)

Understandably, blogging has taken a back seat to household work. But this past weekend, I took a break to enjoy some of the best that autumn offers. Here are a few scenes from Glen Villa, where, as of next week, I’ll be spending all my time. (Hooray!)  (And yes, if you do the math, you’ll see that the gap between sale and occupancy was less than three weeks. Whew!)

First is this scene along our driveway.

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White birch trees stand out against colourful leaves. The white wooden doorway in the distance marks the entrance of the China Terrace, the re-imagining of the old resort hotel that once stood on the property.


Nearby is this group of trees, resplendent in their brilliance.

Maple trees gleam in the sunlight.
Maple leaves gleam in the sunlight, offering a sharp contrast to the slender tree that has lost its leaves.


There’s a froth of colour at the Aqueduct.

Prairie dropseed, or Sporobolus heterlepis, drips and droops beside the Aqueduct.
Prairie dropseed, or Sporobolus heterolepis, drips and droops beside the Aqueduct. The red shrub behind it is Barberry ‘Ruby Glow.’


Beside it, this work horse spirea offers an unexpected touch of colour.


The reds, yellows and greens of Spirea japonica 'Magic Carpet' take us for an autumn ride.
The reds, yellows and greens of Spirea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’ take us for an autumn ride.


By the front door, our native witch hazel, with its twisted trunk, has an Asian look.


Soft tones of yellow and green adorn the witch hazel (Hammamaelis virginiana), while the twisting trunk adds an Asian touch.
Soft tones of yellow and green adorn the witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).


At its feet are bergenia.


Bergenia leaves present themselves as Christmas colours, red and green.
Bergenia leaves present themselves as Christmas colours, red and green.


Change in the garden occured gradually. A few weeks ago, the trees had only begun to turn.


A few weeks ago, the trees had only begun to change colour. The Glen Villa flag flies proudly above the Lower Garden.
The Glen Villa flag flies proudly above the Lower Garden.


Some things, though, never change — a turkey is always a turkey.


Wild turkeys enjoy walking along the Crabapple Allée.
Wild turkeys enjoy strolling along the Crabapple Allée, munching as they go.


A late Happy Thanksgiving to Canadian readers, and an early one to Americans. And to those who celebrate neither, Happy Fall.

Ends and Beginnings

September 3rd, 2018 | 6 Comments »
Spirea japonica 'Crispa'
I head to England today, where I'll be hosting my final garden tour. I'm sad about this ending, but at the same time, I'm happy to remember the people and places that have formed such a rewarding part of my life. And as I keep reminding myself, ends are also beginning. Before leaving for England, I took a walk around  the garden at Glen Villa to see what's in bloom and to assess what needs to be done when I return. Generally, things are looking pretty good.   [caption id="attachment_6668" align="aligncenter" width="4272"] The deer



September 2nd, 2018 | 9 Comments »
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This is a bumper year for mushrooms. On a short stretch of path in the woods, I spotted six different types. I didn't pick any or examine them carefully, and without noting the specifics of their gills and stalks, I can't identify them with certainty. Mushroom identification is tricky in the best of cases, and without being sure what each is, I definitely won't eat them. But the differences in colour and shape are interesting.   [caption id="attachment_6660" align="aligncenter" width="1543"] Is this one of the edible puffballs?  Maybe, maybe not.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_6661" align="aligncenter" width="1444"]


Nine Bridges, to Where?

August 30th, 2018 | 13 Comments »
The cedar will turn grey over the winter.
Last week we added two new bridges on the Timelines trail. They aren't large constructions but both allow us to keep our feet dry. The first bridge, near the end of the avenue of crabapple trees, avoids the ditch at the end of a culvert that goes underneath a road that connects our village of North Hatley to the neighbouring village of Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley -- formerly known as Katevale.   [caption id="attachment_6611" align="aligncenter" width="4272"] Over time we've made this ditch deeper and wider by driving through it in a small all-wheel vehicle.[/caption]   The


The Skating Pond, August 2018

August 19th, 2018 | 16 Comments »
A side view of the new bench shows how simple it is -- two rocks and two planks.
Sometimes small changes make a huge difference, or as I wrote last fall, Little Things Mean a Lot.  I was writing then about some small changes I'd made at the Skating Pond at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec. Later in the fall, after I wrote about the changes, I made one more. I added a bench.   [caption id="attachment_6599" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] The slate under the bench was left over from a previous project.[/caption]   My sister immediately said the bench looked wrong -- and she was right.   [caption id="attachment_6600" align="aligncenter"


The Middle of August

August 13th, 2018 | 13 Comments »
The Big Meadow
In the middle of August the garden at Glen Villa is just beginning to emerge from an unusually long dry spell. A few days ago we had rain -- buckets of it that washed out our driveway and threw a section of bank into Lake Massawippi. (We repaired the driveway; the lake itself may take care of the landslide.) Before the rain, plants were wilting badly. The leaves on a catalpa tree we planted years ago first drooped, then began to curl up and turn brown; thankfully they are now starting to recover.


The Clearing of the Land

August 6th, 2018 | 15 Comments »
This is how the water meadow looked in 2009 after we first cut a path through it.
For several years now I've been working on a trail that leads through the fields and forests at Glen Villa. Sited along the trail are art installations I'm creating that relate to history, the passage of time and the relationship between art and architecture. I wrote about this for the first time in March 2017. My focus then was to figure out what to call the trail. Thanks to my granddaughter Elinor, there now is a name. Timelines. I like the name. It is short and direct yet suggestive of something


Midsummer Medley

July 23rd, 2018 | 14 Comments »
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Mid-July is truly the middle of summer in North Hatley, Quebec, when both the flowers in the garden at Glen Villa and the wildflowers in the fields strut their stuff. The Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low' at The Aqueduct is still blooming, a month after it began. The Eremurus 'Cleopatra' that provided such a wonderful vertical accent has faded now, but its candles remained lit for several weeks. Only in the last few days  have they been extinguished.     Nearby, a clematis (Clematis 'Inspiration') with the same colour tonality as the


Open Garden Day and Garden Talks

June 29th, 2018 | 5 Comments »
If we open the garden next summer in mid-June, we might see this field of buttercups.
Many people have asked when we will be opening the garden to the public this year. The sad news is, we won't.  This summer we are working on various garden projects that need time to settle in. But I hope that in 2019 we will have one -- or maybe two -- open garden days.   [caption id="attachment_6418" align="aligncenter" width="3586"] If you visit the garden next summer in mid-June, you may see this field of buttercups.[/caption]   Many people have also asked about where and when I'll be speaking. Coming up on July


Five Good Things and a Bad

June 25th, 2018 | 12 Comments »
Seeing the trees from a distance was like seeing a beacon of light, pulling you into a magic place.
As June shines its way towards July, I'm outside soaking it in and enjoying the garden at Glen Villa. There are too many happy-making things to show in a single post, so today I'm focusing on only four. First come the hawthorn trees. We planted them more than 15 years ago and they have proved a mixed blessing, blooming well in some years, not so well in others. This year they were spectacular.     [caption id="attachment_6453" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Seeing the trees from a distance was like seeing a cloud of light,