Category Archives: Reviews

North Hatley in Bloom

August 25th, 2014 | 5 Comments »
This week I was a judge in the North Hatley in Bloom contest. Organized by the town council, the contest is designed to encourage residents and commercial establishments to beautify the town and 'up' curbside appeal.Judging almost anything presents challenges. With clear rules and categories, the process can be easy. But sometimes judges have personal biases, or different interpretations of rules, or dominant personalities that overwhelm opposing ideas.Luckily, this was not the case for North Hatley in Bloom. We judges agreed rather easily, because we shared a similar sense of what is

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Bosco della Ragnaia

May 25th, 2014 | 6 Comments »
From Roman times, the contrast between sun and shade has played a major role in Italian garden design. Understandably so, in a country where people search for shade in the summer and for the warmth of sun in winter.This traditional feature is a major design element in a contemporary garden near Siena, Bosco della Ragnaia. Two parts form this garden: a shady woodland,This is the central area of the woodland garden.and a former field, now opened to sunlight and the distant view.An overview of the sunny garden shows how Bosco

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

May 4th, 2014 | 3 Comments »
A botanical garden is a special type of place. It's a garden but it exists for scientific purposes and not for beauty. Yet I think that most people visiting a botanical garden expect to see a beautiful place, a landscaped garden where plants are displayed with artistry.Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden achieves both of these goals -- and, because of this, is often named as one of the world's great botanic gardens. Located on the slopes of Cape Town's Table Mountain, its setting is hard to beat for grandeur, even on

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Ann Norton Sculpture Garden: a garden review

February 17th, 2014 | 8 Comments »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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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