Tag Archives: Orin’s Sugarbush

Art in Winter

December 11th, 2017 | 18 Comments »

I woke yesterday to a fine dusting of snow, and during the day more snow fell. Today it outlines the branches of the big oak tree by our boathouse and the old crabapple trees by the drive, emphasizing the contrast between rough bark and soft fluffy white.

 

The shape of the crabapple tree becomes dramatic when outlined with snow.
The shape of the crabapple trees becomes dramatic when outlined with snow.

 

The forecast calls for more snow to come, and as confirmation, the sky is grey. But once the snow stops and the barometer rises, the sky will be a clear, bright blue that cheers the spirits.

 

A typical winter scene: bright blue skies and a coating of frost.
This scene from a few years ago isn’t particularly unusual. But it is particularly gorgeous to my eyes.

 

For those who live in warmer climes, the thought of snow and ice and temperatures that routinely drop to -30C must be daunting. But for those of us accustomed to winter, it is full of glories, just waiting to be seen. Some are ephemeral …

 

A simple clump of grass becomes a work of beauty when outlined by snow and sunlight.
A simple clump of grass becomes a work of beauty when outlined by snow and sunlight.

 

… others longer lasting.

 

Old farm equipment acquires allure in the snow.
Old farm equipment acquires new allure in the snow.

 

At Glen Villa, my garden in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, sculptures and installations that I’ve created reflect the history of the land. These art works have a special appeal in winter. When the sun shines, the steel bands of Trees Rings cast shadows on the snow, mirroring the tree’s internal rings on the ground as they do in the air.

 

Tree Rings is a sculpture I made to commemorate the life of a venerable maple tree.
Tree Rings is a sculpture I made to commemorate the life of a venerable maple tree.

 

On frosty mornings, the barbed wire encircling these inverted branches acquires a beauty that denies its  hurtful reality.

 

The barbed wire that traps
The inverted tree branches form one part of an installation called Abenaki Walking. It honours the original inhabitants of this area of Quebec.

 

Webster’s Column, the sculpture I made to celebrate my husband’s 50-year career as a journalist, appears black and white in the distance, missing only the touch of red that would turn it into the newspaper riddle popular when I was a child.

 

Webster's Column celebrates my husband's career as a journalist.
Glass panels protect the newspapers that fill Webster’s Column. Do you remember the riddle?

 

Colours make a stronger statement in winter than they do in other seasons, when so many other colours compete.  A yellow tree trunk advises caution, think about your choice.

 

Frost has a double meaning here.
Frost has a double meaning here, where paths split.

 

A gleaming red apple warns you to resist temptation.

 

Snow outlines the Grass Snake in winter.
Snow outlines the Grass Snake in winter. And believe it or not, Eden — or something close to it — does exist in wintery worlds.

 

Even blacks and whites gain strength.

 

Winter's black and white accentuates the starkness of Ghost Walk, the final section of Abenaki Walking.
Winter’s black and white accentuates the starkness of Ghost Walk, the final section of Abenaki Walking.

 

At Orin’s Sugarbush, silver leaves chime gently, announcing the holiday season.

 

leaves (1 of 1)

 

And by the front door, a tree awaiting its silver star provides the seasonal touch of green. Iced, of course.

 

This little spruce tree is attached to the chimney stack. Some years I put up this tree, other years a wreath. The tree takes less work.
This little spruce tree is attached to the chimney stack. Some years I put up this tree, other years a wreath. The tree takes less work.

 

Here’s hoping that your holiday season is filled with colour and joy, and your garden with winter’s art.

 

A wreathe for the holidays.
A wreath for the holidays.

 

A Mid-Summer Check Up

August 14th, 2017 | 6 Comments »
I can't identify the plant exactly -- I gathered seeds from plants that were growing along a nearby road.
In the middle of August, the garden feels different. It's not as fresh or vibrant, not as satisfying. This makes it tempting to move into planning mode. But first, I need to review the goals I set for the year, to assess what still needs to be done. One goal was to hold a second Open Garden Day. I checked that off in July. Another was to let the garden express itself. This is a goal that will never be finished. But I'm doing my best, letting nature take its course in the fields and

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Garden Plans: I’m Dreaming Again

March 27th, 2017 | 27 Comments »
You can see a bit of the trail on the left side of this photo, taken in 2009. We cleared brush from this area last fall. Some of the wildflowers have disappeared but the site still feels the same. Is this an example of unity persisting despite change?
Now that winter has dumped several feet of snow on a garden that was almost snow-free, I'm back by the fire, metaphorically at least, dreaming of the seasons ahead.   [caption id="attachment_5009" align="aligncenter" width="600"] I took this photo about ten days ago after a fresh snowfall. Today is grey. And maybe more snow will fall. I hope not.[/caption]   I'm dreaming about a trail that will lead around the property. I'm considering the route it will follow and what I will call it. I know the purpose of the trail -- it will connect art

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