Category Archives: People

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

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An Artist’s Garden in Spring

May 19th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
An article about Glen Villa, entitled An Artist's Garden in Spring, appeared this week in the Montreal magazine Urban Expressions.  Written by Donna Nebenzahl, the article is lavishly illustrated with my photographs of spring flowers. I particularly liked the big spread that shows the linden tree, with muscari, or grape hycinth, blooming in the grass. Urban Expressions used a different photo. I like this one, too. The link takes you to the article but doesn't show the excellent layout. Too bad, because the balance between text and photos showed the photographs at

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Praise for Glen Villa: Site and Insight

May 12th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
A few weeks ago, rummaging around on the internet, I came across a blog written by Allan Becker, Garden Guru. Since he was a fellow Montrealer, I emailed him, suggesting that as neighbours of a sort, with common interests, we should get to know each other. Allan responded quickly, with some good advice. Thanks to him, I modified the layout of this blog to make my photos larger. A random photo, having nothing to do with the content of this post. Except that it's pretty. Can you identify the flower?

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Memorials, Memory Posts and Columns: Commemorating the Past at Glen Villa

May 7th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
What makes a good memorial? This question continues to occupy my mind, and not only because of the memorials I saw recently in Washington, D.C. and wrote about here.   For more than two years I’ve been thinking about a creating a memorial to my mother who died in 2010 at the age of 97, after a full and estimable life.   Already in the woods at Glen Villa now are memorials to other family members. I call these memorials memory posts, and for me they commemorate the lives of people who were

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A review of “What Are Gardens For: Experiencing, Making and Thinking About Gardens” by Rory Stuart

April 30th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
This book arrives at a good moment. In a few months, I'll be visiting gardens in England along with fifteen other women, and Rory Stuart's book offers some excellent pointers on what to pay attention to when visiting a garden and how to evaluate the experience. The subtitle, Experiencing, Making and Thinking Abut Gardens, explains what the book is about. It's not a 'how-to' book, and there isn't much in it about making gardens. Not to worry, the book offers much more. It's one of those books that helps to

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A river of snowdrops

April 26th, 2013 | 3 Comments »
Last year I dug up, divided and replanted about a dozen clumps of snowdrops. Amazing how a few bulbs will grow with time. According to my (less than perfect) planting records, originally I planted a few dozen snowdrops, ordinary ones that are readily available in most Canadian gardening catalogues.Thanks to an April 2012 blog post from Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening I decided to split the clumps. They were starting to look a bit overstuffed and I thought it would be worth the time and effort. Was I ever right!

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Evaluating Canada Blooms 2013

March 27th, 2013 | 3 Comments »
Flowers do not a garden make. Nor a garden show. Nonetheless, for me flower arrangements were the highlight of this year’s Canada Blooms. And I am not a flower arranger. Not any good at it, and not interested in becoming any better. But I do like art, and to see amazingly artful compositions made with plant material was a nice treat. Can you imagine the time and effort it took to create this gold ribbon winner? Nancy Wilson's gold ribbon winning painting reflects an amaryllis tucked into the arch behind.

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Is Canada Blooms a garden?

March 21st, 2013 | 2 Comments »
An extra post, from Toronto As I write, I’m on my way to Toronto to visit Canada Blooms, Canada’s largest garden show. I’m speaking tomorrow about using art in a garden and am pleased to be doing this. I set myself a goal when I first started giving talks about gardens and garden design, and that goal was to speak at Canada Blooms. So, as of tomorrow afternoon, I'll check off one item on my (increasingly long) list of things to do. I visited Canada Blooms last year and, quite

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