Category Archives: Reviews

Ann Norton Sculpture Garden: a garden review

February 17th, 2014 | 8 Comments »
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Combining sculpture and a collection of rare palms, the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden offers a quiet retreat from the up-scale social whirl of Palm Beach, Florida. Palm Beach, after all, was (and in some cases still is) home or vacation playground for many of the world's rich and famous, from the Kennedy and Pulitzer families, to Donald Trump, Bernie Madoff and Conrad Black. Ann Norton was a sculptor who married one of these wealthy men, Ralph Norton, an industrialist and an art collector whose collection became the foundation of Palm

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2013: Glen Villa reviewed

January 20th, 2014 | 4 Comments »
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The end of January isn't the obvious time to do a year-end review, but since 2013 is well and truly over,  it's now or never. And since next week marks the one year anniversary of this blog, and I plan to review some of the top posts and your comments about them, writing a month by month review of what happened this past year at Glen Villa seems a reasonable idea. So let's go! January: The tiny evergreen seedlings we planted four or five years ago in an area I

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Petworth: A ‘Capability’ Brown landscape

June 10th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
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I'm in England for the next few weeks, visiting a friend before setting out on a tour of English gardens. On the weekend I spent a glorious afternoon walking through a landscape designed and constructed in the 18th century by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Brown created an estimated 170 landscapes in England, many of which remain. Petworth in Sussex, is one of these, and it shows all of Brown's characteristic trademarks. First of these is the broad lawn that sweeps from the house down to an artificially created lake. This simple

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Praise for Glen Villa: Site and Insight

May 12th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
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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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A review of “What Are Gardens For: Experiencing, Making and Thinking About Gardens” by Rory Stuart

April 30th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
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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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Evaluating Canada Blooms 2013

March 27th, 2013 | 3 Comments »
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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 »
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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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A Garden Review: Sunnylands

March 5th, 2013 | No Comments »
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I visited one well-designed public garden in and around Palm Springs, the garden that surrounds the visitor's centre at Sunnylands, the modernist house built for Walter and Leonora Annenberg. Entering the estate, you get a preview of what's to come: lots of barrel cactus arranged in rows that reminded me of dots on an old-style dot matrix printer. Barrel cactus at the entrance to Sunnylands In front of the visitor's centre -- itself a model of contemporary, modernist-influenced design -- is an area where dry land plants dominate. My photo

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