Category Archives: Miscellaneous

A Year in the Garden: Part 3

December 31st, 2018 | 6 Comments »

This final post of 2018, written on the last day of the year, brings the garden at Glen Villa to a close — for now, at least.

August is high summer in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

The trail through the Joe Pye weed is luscious in August.
The trail through the Joe Pye weed is luscious in August, for bees and for pedestrians.

 

Insects make their presence known.

I'm not sure what flying creature this is, but I love the translucency of the wings.
I’m not sure what flying creature this is, but I love the translucency of the wings.

NOTE: Thanks to Mark A. for identifying this as a damselfly.

 

 

Roses bloom.
Roses re-bloom.

 

Chanterelles gleam in the woodland darkness.
Chanterelles gleam in the woodland darkness.

 

Near the house, a path leads up the hill and into the woods.

Petasites japnonica variegatus thrives in the shady woods.
Petasites japonicus variegatus thrives in the shady woods.

 

Canadian thistle blooms in sunny spots.
Canadian thistle blooms in sunny spots. Even though it is a pest of a plant, I like its form.

 

Autumn announces itself late in August.

Leaves in the Lower Garden are just beginning to change colour.
Leaves in the Lower Garden are just beginning to change colour.

 

It becomes more and more prominent as September progresses.

This tree is one of the first to change colour every year.
This little horse chestnut tree is one of the first to change colour every year.

 

Trees begin to change colour along the driveway.
Trees begin to change colour along the driveway.

 

Autumn colours is spectacular1
Autumn colours is spectacular.

 

I spent most of September in England, leading my final garden tour. But home again, October made its own strong statement.

Hydrangea's colour isn't spectacular but the dying form has its own appeal.
Hydrangea’s colour isn’t spectacular but the dying form has a delicate appeal.

 

The young buck is becoming a stag.
The young buck is becoming a stag.

 

Wild turkeys graze along the crabapple allée.

 

November is normally a boring month. This year, though, snow came early, giving the month an unexpected charm.

Snow caps the hawthorn trees by the road.
Snow caps the hawthorn trees by the road.

 

We spent lots of time constructing the temple façade, part of Timelines.

We started builing the façade in late October; work ended in early November with the first snowfall.
We started building the façade in late October; work ended in early November with the first snowfall.

 

A frosty morning coated all the trees with a gleam of ice.
A frosty morning coated all the trees with a gleam of ice.

 

Turkeys crossed the road -- who knows why!
Turkeys crossed the road — who knows why!

 

A wet heavy snow weighed down all the tree branches along the driveway.
A wet heavy snow weighed down all the tree branches along the driveway.

 

Finally, a look at what 2019 may bring -- sunbeams and glorious light.
Finally, a look at what 2019 may bring — sunbeams and glorious light.

 

May 2019 bring you happiness at home and in the garden.

A Year in the Garden, Part 2

December 28th, 2018 | 6 Comments »
My son and grandson spotted this fawn very shortly after the baby was born.
The meadows and fields at Glen Villa are white with snow in December, but in June and July, they are alive with colour. [caption id="attachment_7079" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Lupins brighten meadows and fields in late June and early July.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7092" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Buttercups and dandelions colour a field yellow.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7088" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Ragged robin turns this field rosy pink.[/caption]   Closer to the house, colours appear in smaller doses. [caption id="attachment_7090" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Hawthorn trees are a froth of white.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7096" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] Old-fashioned day lilies

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Topiary for the Holidays

December 14th, 2018 | 8 Comments »
Each bird is slightly different, and each has its own personality.
Do Christmas trees qualify as topiary? We never think of them as such but they fit the definition -- the Oxford dictionary calls topiary the "art or practice of clipping shrubs or trees into ornamental shapes." And surely Christmas trees don't grow naturally into the perfect cones commonly seen but have been pruned and clipped to shape them.   [caption id="attachment_5888" align="aligncenter" width="2099"] This cone-shaped spruce tree is attached to the chimney stack at Glen Villa. It hangs right outside our front door.[/caption]   As a young gardener, I disliked topiary, thinking that it was a distortion

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Monuments and Memorials

November 20th, 2018 | 6 Comments »
This statue on Richmond's Monument Avenue shows Robert E. Lee astride his horse Traveller.
Paintings on rock made by indigenous people many years ago give us insights into their daily life and the events and objects they valued. (I wrote about rock paintings here.) Monuments and memorials serve a similar purpose. So what do they show about what we value today? Traditionally monuments were erected to great men and generals who led us in war, and to those who fought and died. I grew up surrounded by this type of memorial. The statues of Confederate leaders that lined Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia left no doubt about

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Rock Art

November 12th, 2018 | 19 Comments »
Australia Kimberley 2011-82
Cave paintings on the island of Borneo showing animals and human hands have recently been dated back some 40,000 years, making them the oldest known example of figurative rock art in the world. (Details of the story can be found in various articles, including one here from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.) Think for a moment about how long ago that is. Forty thousand years. It takes my breath away. I've been fascinated by rock art for many years and have been fortunate to see examples in South Africa, Namibia, Australia, Chile and Peru. While the particulars

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Strange Times

October 30th, 2018 | 11 Comments »
stonehead (1 of 1)
We are living in strange times. Walking through the woods yesterday, I came across an odd scene. A creature made of stone was rising up from the leaves. First came a head, shoulders and arms....     then a leg. First one leg ...     then another.     The legs stretched out longer and longer.       I admit it, I ran. And as I left, I heard a crash.     I ran faster and faster, only to find myself in the place I'd been before. And there was

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Garden Centres and Garden Reviews

September 24th, 2018 | 10 Comments »
P1030799
Gardening in Canada can be frustrating. The range of plants available through nurseries or garden centres is minuscule compared with the number available in England. And seeing so many wonderful cultivars that won't survive in my Quebec garden makes me envious of England's more temperate climate. Still, for anyone who loves plants, a visit to a garden centre is always a treat. The group I was hosting on my final garden tour spent a few happy hours wandering around the Burford Garden Company, an Oxfordshire-based enterprise. At this time of year

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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

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Pining Away

May 4th, 2018 | 16 Comments »
I'm guessing that the big pine was about 150 years old.
A few weeks ago I posted the photo below on Facebook and asked for ideas about what to do with the trunk of an enormous pine tree that had pined away.   [caption id="attachment_6219" align="aligncenter" width="5184"] The pine tree was about 150 years old.[/caption]   Many people responded: make it into a table, or benches, a totem, planters, bird houses or toothpicks (hard to imagine how many of those there would be!), an art display: Twenty Ways to Commemorate a Fallen Pine. (Thanks, Janet. I loved that idea.) But that's

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It’s Maple Syrup Time!

April 9th, 2018 | 14 Comments »
Jacques ladles the syrup into the final boiling pan.
It's that super sweet time of the year, when sap is transformed into maple syrup. We've been making maple syrup at Glen Villa for many years now. My father-in-law tapped trees and the site of his old sugar camp is now an art installation in the woods.   [caption id="attachment_5000" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Orin's Sugarbush is a magical spot in winter, when snow outlines pieces of rusted tin, suspended from surrounding trees to suggest the roof that once was there.[/caption]   Making maple syrup takes time, particularly if you do it

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