Tag Archives: music

A winter song for a winter garden

March 3rd, 2014 | 6 Comments »

I read a fair number of blogs related to gardens and landscape design. Recently, many of these have been full of glee about the approach of spring. They’ve showcased crocus peeping above ground and shown snowdrops in profusion.


Where I live, winter is still here and the only garden I see is snow.  (Cue Gilles Vigneault: “Mon pays, c’est ne pas un pays, c’est l’hiver. Mon jardin c’est ne pas un jardin, c’est la plaine….” If you don’t know the song, google it here. And wait till Gilles begins to sing before you stop.)

In a garden where winter endures, sculpture plays a significant role, offering something more than a featureless expanse of white.

Récolte, by Louise Doucet and Satoshi Saito,
an important part of the winter garden at Glen Villa
Stone walls near the house break up the flatness. Prominent is the collection of well-wrapped shrubs. We planted the now-undercover boxwoods last summer; by next winter they should be hardy enough to withstand the cold temperatures and frigid winds without protection.
Boxwoods disguised as undercover secret agents pose near the aqueduct.
Or are they upside down ice cream cones waiting to melt in the spring?
The cascade by the house is shapeless under the snow and ice. Some years dripping water forms interesting patterns, but not this year.
A small pond hides under the snow and ice.
It is there, I promise.
On the southern side of the house, I look down at the snow that covers the area where my river of snowdrops will appear. One day. Eventually.
In April the snowdrops should appear.
Change that: in April they will appear.

Those other blogs from warmer places mention iris in bloom and show photos of spring green buds. The pictures make me turn green — with envy. The only colour in my world comes from the turquoise and gold of the Chinese lions, or fu dogs, purchased many years ago in Hong Kong.

This dog is a female. You can tell because her paw is on top of (squashing?) the baby lion.
Facing her out across the log terrace is a male. His paw rests on an orb to show he rules the world.

My world is white, black and grey — except on good days, when the sky is brilliant blue. That’s when you want to sing in praise of winter, and of poudrerie and froidure.

Winter in the upper field at the Skating Pond.

I love winter. As Gilles sings so movingly, it is when snow and wind marry in a white ceremony, when we live between four walls of ice. But enough already!

It’s Raining: David Francey at Glen Villa Gardens

November 11th, 2013 | 9 Comments »
This post comes with a link to Rain, a music video filmed at Glen Villa and in and around North Hatley, Quebec where I live. The video features Canadian folk singer-songwriter David Francey. As you will hear from his accent, David was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada as a boy. For some years he lived just down the road from us, and his wife Beth, a biologist, helped me learn to 'read' the woods that surround us. David won the John Lennon prize and has received multiple Juno Awards.