Category Archives: Travel

Middleton Place: An American Landscape Garden

February 16th, 2015 | 8 Comments »
Middleton Place is described as America's oldest landscaped garden. Laid out in 1741 with romantic additions dating from the 19th and 20th century, it is a fascinating example of international style with a southern accent.   [caption id="attachment_1826" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Camellias are now a mark of southern gardens. They were introduced to America in 1786, at Middleton Place.[/caption]     A bit of history: First settled in the late 17th century, Middleton Place was acquired by Henry Middleton through marriage. It was the family seat of four successive generations of Middletons

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Througham Court: A Garden of Ideas

January 13th, 2015 | 7 Comments »
Are gardens intellectual endeavours or places to soothe the spirits? If a garden is intended to be a conceptual work of art, does it succeed if it has to be explained? And what responsibility rests on the person viewing the garden to understand the ideas that shaped it? Make the questions personal: should I have to work to understand what a garden is about or is it enough merely to enjoy what I see? If I don't understand the ideas, on what basis do I judge the garden? Visiting Througham Court in

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A Quiz for the New Year

December 30th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
I love quizzes, crossword puzzles and any kind of mind-testing game. For years, they have been a feature of our family's New Year celebrations. So as the final blog post of 2014, why not join in the fun? I wish I had thought of the quiz idea myself but I am borrowing it -- quite shamelessly -- from an English blog called Parks and Gardens UK.  Parks and Gardens UK bills itself as the "leading on-line resource for historic parks and gardens providing freely accessible, accurate and inspiring information on UK parks, gardens

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Launching Site and Insight: Reflecting on Art and Landscape

October 10th, 2014 | 9 Comments »
Et, voila! Welcome to the new Glen Villa Gardens website, Site and Insight: Reflecting on Art and Landscape. The new Site and Insight merges my old website and my weekly blog, and adds new features with more information about gardens, landscape and art. I'm delighted with the appearance and the ease with which readers can move through the various sections. At least, that's what I think. But when you are familiar with something, it seems straightforward, and that isn't always the case for a newcomer. So today's post is a short overview of what

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Italian lessons: planting The Big Rock

July 27th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
I have no desire to create an Italianate garden in rural Quebec. Yet many things in the Renaissance and Renaissance-revival gardens I visited this spring are inspiring me to re-examine aspects of the garden at Glen Villa. High on the list is ensuring I have the right balance. Balance between simplicity and decoration. Between open and closed spaces. Between light and shade.One of the simplest gardens we visited in Italy was the 'secret garden' at Villa Medici at Fiesole, just outside Florence. A small area beside the house was divided by gravel paths into

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The International Garden Festival at Métis, Québec

July 14th, 2014 | 5 Comments »
Edward Lutyens once said that a garden "should have a backbone -- a central idea beautifully phrased." The central and beautifully phrased idea of the International Garden Festival at the Reford Gardens in Métis, Québec is to offer garden installations that challenge conventional ideas of what a garden is -- or can be.For the past 15 years the festival has been a showcase for innovation and delight. Featuring designers from Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, France, the United States and Canada, this year's Festival presents 22 contemporary gardens that "invite visitors

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Visiting Gardens

June 22nd, 2014 | 4 Comments »
A group of serious gardeners will be visiting Glen Villa on July 2 and I've been busy getting the garden in shape. This takes time and effort, as every gardener knows, and the results never seem good enough. Particularly in large gardens, there is always too much to do and not enough time to do it. This year that is truer than usual: the late and very wet spring, not to mention extra clean-up from the January ice storm, have put me way behind schedule.Adding to the pressure to have the

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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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What I liked about Italian Renaissance Gardens

May 18th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
I returned recently from nine days in Italy where I visited gardens between Florence and Rome. Historically, they ranged from the 1st century (Villa Adriana, or Hadrian's Villa) to the 21st century (Bosco della Ragnaia). Weeks later, my head is still spinning with all I saw -- and with all I learned about history, art and garden design. There is far too much to include in a single post, so I plan to write several. This one is about the Renaissance gardens, a style inspired by classical ideals of order

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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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