Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hunting for Treasures

April 10th, 2020 | 10 Comments »

A few days ago, I started out to take a walk in the woods. First I passed snowdrops and crocus blooming along the drive.
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Most of the crocus were yellow but there were a few pale violets, whites and deep dark purples.


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Then I spotted daffodils threatening to bloom.

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I passed alongside an open farm field and saw some unwelcome visitors.


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Then I crossed the road, intending to go to one of my favourite spots. But just as I was about to enter the woods, I noticed that someone had been there before me.

Who had left this sign? And where did it direct me?

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I crossed the stream …


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… and followed the path, as directed. In the distance I spotted another sign.


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The hint told me where to go — exactly where I was planning to go, to Orin’s Sugarcamp!


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What would I find when I got there? Would I see more than the over-sized tin maple leaves that we’ve hung from the trees, as a reminder of what used to be?


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Would I find a can of maple syrup? or a nice, sweet drink?

No, what I saw was this old green drink bottle.


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But then I turned a spotted something else that was green.


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I moved in for a close-up and this is what I found!


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Who put it there and where was the treasure? I walked on along the path, spotting trees attacked  by woodpeckers.


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Was there a treasure hidden in one of those holes? Before I had a chance to look, I noticed a flash of colour in the distance. Was it another sign? I continued along the path, avoiding muddy spots, until I could make out what it was and what it said.


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I followed the hint and kept to the right, climbing a steep hill. Near the top I spotted another rock, painted purple like an Easter Egg.


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Nearby, the sign pointing me to Mythos tempted me to detour but I kept on the main path, straight ahead.

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The sign nearby reassured me that I was still on the correct path.


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By now I’d walked a long way and this hint gave me a choice. Should I resign and ‘follow the Greek signs.’ Since I had installed those signs, I knew where that would take me.  But I didn’t want to give in, so I kept straight ahead.

The trail became muddier and muddier and for a long way I saw no rocks or hints. Had I made the wrong choice?

No, another painted rock confirmed that I was on the right path.


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Again I saw a sign in the distance. This one directed me to follow the stream, and I did.

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The path took me through the meadow where Joe Pye weed blooms abundantly in late summer. Now, the ground was muddy, with nothing special to see. Still, I kept to the path and as I exited into the field, I had an inkling of where this treasure hunt was taking me. When I saw the next painted stone, I knew I was right.


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Still keeping to the path, I saw the destination in front of me, at the top of the hill.


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Scraps of paper under the Big Chair told me I’d come to the right place. I searched and searched but the treasure was gone. Whoever had come before me had found it. (Congratulations, Hazel, Alistair and Kieren! and thank you for the fun, Bella, James and Melissa!)

I found a treasure of my own, though — the pleasure of walking the woods, alone on a sunny day. A precious treasure indeed, in these days.

What is giving you pleasure in these tough times?

A Fence with a Story

August 15th, 2019 | No Comments »
After reading my most recent post about fences, a friend sent me a photo of the fence around the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri.   [caption id="attachment_7877" align="alignleft" width="5152"] You don't often see turtles on fences. Or at least not in my part of the world.[/caption]   I wondered if Missouri was the turtle state, and if not, what was the story behind the design? This information from a brochure about the Old Courthouse tells the tale: ‘A turtle design on the reproduction courtyard gates commemorates a turtle that once


Buy Now is Coming…

May 9th, 2019 | No Comments »
You may have received a blog post earlier today with a BUY NOW button. This post should not have gone out... there are a number of bugs in the purchase option that I haven't worked out. SO: my apologies.  I hope to have the tickets sales up and running within a week.

Speaking of gardens…

May 7th, 2019 | 3 Comments »
I'm speaking twice this month to groups in and around Montreal. Both events are open to the general public, so do come if you can. Learning to Look: the Art of Garden Observation On Saturday, May 11 at 2:30, I'm speaking in Georgeville, Quebec at the Murray Community Hall.  This talk about how to get the most of visiting gardens has proved very popular with audiences in the U.S. and Canada, and I'm delighted to be presenting in Georgeville. While the talk does not feature frogs,  this photo I took on the


(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

March 2nd, 2016 | 4 Comments »
  I don't normally post more than once a week but the wildlife here on Kiawah Island keeps giving me pictures to share. Yesterday I spotted this Great Blue Heron fishing... and enjoying the catch.   [caption id="attachment_3651" align="aligncenter" width="828"] Yum yum![/caption]  

Following My Tree: July

July 10th, 2015 | 9 Comments »
A fully-grown tree doesn't change that much in a short time, or so you may think. But compare two photos of the linden, or basswood, tree (Tilia americana) that stands in my Quebec garden, Glen Villa. I took the first photo on June 13. [caption id="attachment_2454" align="aligncenter" width="1224"] The linden tree at the end of the Big Lawn looked quite perky on June 13, 2015.[/caption]   I took the second one two days ago, on July 8. [caption id="attachment_2455" align="aligncenter" width="1127"] The linden tree on July 8, 2015 has a sadder air.[/caption]  


The China Terrace: A Conceptual Garden

December 24th, 2014 | 7 Comments »
A few weeks ago I told the story of how Glen Villa got its name, from the old resort hotel that once was here. The hotel did more than provide a name, however. It -- or rather, the traces it left behind -- transformed my way of thinking about gardens and landscape. From an approach based on traditional horticultural aesthetics, I moved to one based on concepts and ideas. The shift took place gradually, but without question it began with my discovery of the marks that Glen Villa Inn left on