Category Archives: Plants

Planting the North South Arrow

June 25th, 2020 | 4 Comments »
Last week I wrote about the genesis of the North South Arrow, the new area we are planting at Glen Villa, describing how the concept for the area changed over time. Today I'm writing about the plants I chose and how I decided to arrange them. Jacques had warned me that the soil on site was a mix of sand and gravel that would need to be modified substantially if I wanted anything planted there to thrive. His advice was to dig up the top six inches and replace the

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The North South Arrow

June 15th, 2020 | 10 Comments »
Months ago, when we were rebuilding the foundation wall of Glen Villa Inn, the huge resort hotel that once stood on our property, I began thinking of a new planting area to complement the new wall. A photo taken shortly after the hotel burned down in 1909 showed plants arranged around the low stone wall in front of the hotel, where horse-drawn carriages circled to pick up and drop off hotel guests. The planting around that circular wall prompted me to consider a similar arrangement. [caption id="attachment_8368" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The

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Flowers, Fields and Food

June 8th, 2020 | 1 Comment »
An assortment of photos shows the variety of what is happening now at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec's Eastern Townships. Flowers are blooming everywhere. One that I am particularly fond of is columbine. The native variety, Aquilegia canadensis, grows freely in many spots in the garden. In the photo below, it complements the colour palette of new growth on a spirea, Spirea 'Magic Carpet,' a shrub that the deer ignore. (Hooray!)     Years ago, I started various columbines from seed, including some seed I brought back from Australia. I

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More Befores and Afters

May 30th, 2020 | 8 Comments »
A sudden burst of hot weather brought out shorts, t-shirts and leaves on the trees. It was only two weeks ago, on May 10, that the Cascade at Glen Villa was looking bare and boring.   [caption id="attachment_8771" align="alignleft" width="5184"] Will these bare branches ever bloom?[/caption]   Less than two weeks later, boring had become a bouquet of blooms. [caption id="attachment_8770" align="alignleft" width="3088"] Early evening light gives this scene a slight blue tint.[/caption]   Yet three days after that, the blossoms were beginning to fade, all thanks to extremely high temperatures.

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Songs for Funny-Faced Ferns

May 10th, 2020 | 8 Comments »
The ferns are poking their heads up above ground, and I photographed several groups of them when I went out this morning for a walk.     Much to my surprise, when I looked closely at the photos, it seemed that conversations were going on.  Some ferns were lecturing, or at least giving instructions to others that were still growing up.     Some of those youngsters were looking puzzled, as if they didn't quite get the message.   [caption id="attachment_8713" align="alignleft" width="1968"] Huh? I don't get it.[/caption]   Still others were simply having

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Daffodils and more

May 6th, 2020 | 12 Comments »
On the weekend, my heart was dancing with Wordsworthian glee. There weren't ten thousand daffodils in bloom but there were far more than I wanted to count.   [caption id="attachment_8687" align="alignleft" width="4587"] Daffodils make the berm above the Skating Pond a true delight in spring.[/caption]   For the last umpteen years, we've been planting daffodils on the berm above the Skating Pond. I've never ordered single varieties, always choosing instead to use the less expensive mixed varieties that are packaged in the hundreds. So I can't identify any of the particular varieties

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It’s Beginning!

April 27th, 2020 | 7 Comments »
This is a strange year. Like most of you, I've been spending far more time than usual at home, inside, seeing almost no one apart from my husband. I've wasted time and saved my sanity by reading, baking brownies and doing jigsaw puzzles. [caption id="attachment_8665" align="alignleft" width="5184"] This 1000 piece jigsaw of a pointillist painting by Georges Seurat was particularly difficult to do.[/caption]   The weather has been strange too. Spring came about two weeks earlier than usual but overall the  month has been cooler than normal. This means that snowdrops

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A touch of spring

March 26th, 2020 | 14 Comments »
Envy is not an admirable trait but I have to confess that at this time of year, when gardeners even a short distance to the south of me are picking daffodils and beginning to smell the roses, I am envious. Here, in Quebec's Eastern Townships, patches of snow are still much in evidence and where the snow has melted, the ground is soggy, squelching underfoot. Yesterday, though, my heart brightened when I saw the first crocus in bloom. [caption id="attachment_8563" align="alignleft" width="2357"] Nothing says spring more than yellow crocus![/caption]  

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Advice I’m Giving Myself

February 24th, 2020 | 7 Comments »
After a month-long break from blogging, I'm back writing and thinking about my garden goals for 2020. And I'm giving myself some stern advice. Don't try to do too much! Was I crazy to set myself six big goals for 2020? Clearly the answer is yes. Already I can see that completing two of those goals is next to impossible. I know I won't be fencing in the Lower Garden and I doubt I will do much to extend Timelines, the trail that explores questions about memory, identity and our relationship to the

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The Job is Done!

December 2nd, 2019 | 8 Comments »
The foundation wall of the old Glen Villa Inn is once again standing tall. Rebuilding the wall has been quite a process. In its prime the wall was the base of a grand structure.   [caption id="attachment_1503" align="alignleft" width="1000"] An old hand-coloured postcard shows Glen Villa Inn in all its magnificence.[/caption]   Unfortunately, like so many summer resort hotels built of wood, it didn't last.   [caption id="attachment_8331" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The fire that destroyed the hotel left an impressively long wall and two chimneys. The planting beds in the foreground hint at a

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