Tag Archives: garden tours

The Donald Lecture

September 21st, 2021 | 12 Comments »

Last week, I spoke at Bishop’s University to a large group os students, faculty, staff and members of the local community.  My talk was one in a series of lectures held over the past 13 years called the Donald Lectures, sponsored by Bishop’s alumni John Donald. Previous speakers include some real superstars, people like Jane Goodall, Steven Pinker, Jesse Jackson, Edward Burtynski, and Naomi Klein, so I feel honoured to join the list.

Bishop’s 550 seat Centennial Theatre was almost at Covid capacity, with about 200 or more people in the auditorium, and with over 80 more on the live stream. It was the first time in a VERY long time that I’ve spoken in person to an audience, and an even longer time since I’ve spoken to that large an audience.

It was amazing!

 

Photo courtesy of Michael Goldbloom, Principal of Bishop's University.
Photo courtesy of Michael Goldbloom, Principal of Bishop’s University.

 

The questions from students after the talk were challenging. How do you integrate yourself into the landscape, and vice versa; and how do art and gardens fit into the picture? (Wow, that was a tough one.) What was your biggest disaster in the garden? (The first thing that came to mind was trying to get the Aqueduct to work properly. I could have named many others.) What is your most beautiful garden memory? (Impossible to choose only one. So I chose several: three family weddings in the garden at Glen Villa and one mental image from a garden in England where photos were not permitted.)

The talk was on a Wednesday. The following Saturday, students and faculty and community members toured the garden. It was a sunny day that ended in a downpour, well-timed at the end of the morning, after most people had walked the 4 km Timelines trail and had visited most of the garden proper. I had the chance to meet and talk to many students, which for me is always a high point. I saw some old friends and met some new ones. And as always, the day went smoothly thanks to two very special men.

 

Ken Kelso and Jacques Gosselin, the two men whose work makes my job in the garden and wider landscape possible. Photo by Michael Goldbloom.
Ken Kelso and Jacques Gosselin, the two men whose work makes my job in the garden and wider landscape possible. Photo by Michael Goldbloom.

 

A big thank you goes to all those who attended the lecture in person and to the large number who listened to the live stream. It was a real pleasure for me to share my passion and enthusiasm for Glen Villa Art Garden with you all.

The talk is available on Youtube, starting at about 40 minutes into this link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0D7riTGkKg

If anyone watching the link has questions, do get in touch. I’m happy to present this talk or one of several others listed on my website to groups far and wide, either in person or via zoom.

 

The Second Time Around

September 4th, 2016 | 11 Comments »
  Yesterday I arrived in Edinburgh and tomorrow I begin a tour of gardens in southern Scotland and northern England. This tour is similar to one I hosted last September, which means I'll be taking this year's group to many of the same places I visited then. On the 2015 tour I was seeing some gardens for the first time; others I had been to before. So this year I'll be visiting some gardens for the second time, some for the third, some for the fourth or fifth. Like the song says, will I find

Read More...

Open Garden Days, New Talks and Garden Tours

May 17th, 2016 | 4 Comments »
  For a year or more I've been thinking about opening the garden to the public. Last week I bit the bullet and announced  that on August 4, I'll be holding an Open Garden Day. The Open Garden Day is a fundraiser for Fondation Massawippi Foundation, a community organization that supports land conservation and special projects in the communities that border Lake Massawippi. Visitors will be asked either to join the Foundation or to make a voluntary contribution. Will there be hundreds of people or only a handful? I have no idea. But I hope there will be

Read More...

Visiting Gardens: Nine Do’s and a Don’t

April 20th, 2016 | 10 Comments »
Visiting gardens is one the joys of my life. For the last four years, I've been hosting small group tours to gardens in Britain and Italy, working alongside an outstanding professional travel agent based in Vancouver. Julia Guest at Travel Concepts does the detailed planning that is essential to ensure a good garden tour. Without her work, the tours couldn't happen. Without the cooperation of individual garden owners, the tours wouldn't be as inspirational. And without the companionship of the men and women who have been part of the tours, they

Read More...

The Walled Garden at Scampston Hall: Variations on a Theme

November 2nd, 2015 | 13 Comments »
What
England's Scampston Hall is known for its Walled Garden designed by the Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf. Within the confines of an 18th century kitchen garden in North Yorkshire, Oudolf created a series of garden 'rooms,' using hedges as walls. Using hedges to divide a garden into discrete spaces is not a new idea, in England or elsewhere. Far from it. At Scampston Hall Oudolf decided to play with this idea, to state it in his own distinctive voice. Treating the 4.5 walled acres/1.8 hectares in a traditional English way, he divided the single giant room

Read More...