Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The dangerous beauty of ice

December 26th, 2013 | 8 Comments »
For the first time since I started writing this blog, a post is late, and by several days. Oh, well, it's the holidays, you may think. But no, for almost a year now, I've managed a timely entry despite holidays, vacations and intense pressures to come away from the computer and enjoy myself. So it's not Christmas that has delayed things, it's the weather. Until yesterday morning, December 25, we had no power. For 72 hours, Glen Villa was dark unless the sun was shining. We had no internet, so no


It’s Raining: David Francey at Glen Villa Gardens

November 11th, 2013 | 9 Comments »
This post comes with a link to Rain, a music video filmed at Glen Villa and in and around North Hatley, Quebec where I live. The video features Canadian folk singer-songwriter David Francey. As you will hear from his accent, David was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada as a boy. For some years he lived just down the road from us, and his wife Beth, a biologist, helped me learn to 'read' the woods that surround us. David won the John Lennon prize and has received multiple Juno Awards.


Fibonacci numbers in nature

October 20th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Ever since writing in a recent post about Througham Court and how Christine Facer Hoffman, the owner and designer, incorporated Fibonacci numbers into the garden, I've been noticing photos of plants that illustrate this natural sequencing. Deborah Lee Baldwin showed this one in a recent entry on Gardening Gone Wild.Apparently this plant is euphorbia gorgonis.Who would have known? Not me.And I saw this one in my own garden, in a gravel section I'm playing around with.sempervivum arachnoideum 'Cobweb' This sempervivum is named 'Cobweb.'  A close look at the central white portion tells


Is Mosaiculture topiary?

September 22nd, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Strictly speaking, the answer is -- no. Both are living sculptures, but they are made in different ways. Mosaiculture is also a contemporary form of plant display, while topiary has a long and distinguished history, dating back to  Roman times.So, what are the differences? The most obvious one is that topiary uses a single plant to create architectural and sculptural shapes while mosaiculture creates forms by combining a variety of plants with different colours and textures. Traditionally, creating a topiary took a long time; a plant, tree or shrub was clipped and shaped


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.


I am confused

September 9th, 2013 | No Comments »
Do I look confused? I am.Help straighten me out!Last week I included a survey in my blog post. Many of you responded. But even more of you did not.Will you take a few minutes now to respond? I'd really appreciate it. Your input will help me make the blog better! And that, I hope, will make it more enjoyable for you.Just click here.

The Joy of Weeding

September 2nd, 2013 | 2 Comments »
We all know that weeding is a chore, right? We also know that a weed for one person is a flower for someone else. Or, as often expressed, it's any plant growing where it isn't wanted.   Some people don't like ajuga in the lawn. I do. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it better, describing a weed as "a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." My favourite quotation about weeds, though, is Shakespeare's contribution: "Great weeds do grow apace." And indeed, they do. Or, at least, this summer they


Living with the Land

August 19th, 2013 | 3 Comments »
I like the idea of living with the land. Or rather, with the wildlife on it. Last week's post about defeating the deer made me think about how many animals I live with at Glen Villa, either occasionally or on a regular basis. I'm happy to share real estate with the ducks who nest annually at the skating pond. A few years ago, there were two separate families, and ducklings galore. I count ten ducklings but I think there were eleven. Occasionally a merganser drops in for a day or two. He


Garden gnomes and their ilk

June 4th, 2013 | 5 Comments »
This year, the Chelsea Flower Show celebrated its 100th birthday. To mark the event, the organizers broke a long-standing rule and allowed garden gnomes to appear. Celebrities like Elton John decorated and raffled gnomes to raise funds for the Royal Horticultural Society.  It was a publicity stunt that worked. This year's show attracted even more attention than normal, because gnomes were there. This on-line photo was not identified, but surely at least one of these spectators is a royal. It's ironic. The Chelsea Flower Show is an upper class affair, frequented by royalty and


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