Tag Archives: paths

Garden Paths

December 28th, 2017 | 14 Comments »

As the end of the year approaches, I’m thinking about transitions. In  the context of gardens, transitions are often linked to paths. Paths lead you somewhere, either literally or metaphorically. They take you through different landscapes — meadows, forests, open fields — whose settings evoke different moods. They come in all shapes and sizes — grassy and gravel, broad and narrow, straight and curved. One path may lead to a specific place, another to nowhere in particular and yet a third to someplace unknown, a future waiting to be discovered.

Anyone visiting Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec, can walk for hours on the paths we’ve cut. One of the first I made led through the garden and into the woods and fields that surround us. One part of this path ran parallel to the drive, towards what would become the China Terrace.

 

Ragged robin, lupins and buttercups edge the path that leads to the China Terrace, the re-creation of Glen Villa Inn.
Ragged robin, lupins and buttercups edge the grassy path that leads to the China Terrace, the re-creation of the old resort hotel that gave Glen Villa its name.

 

Over the years we’ve cut more paths. One covered with wood chips leads through the fern woods, past memory posts I painted to honour my father and brother-in-law.

 

The memory posts were new when I took this photo. Now, the paint is peeling and the wood beginning to decay, completing a natural cycle.
The memory posts were new when I took this photo. Now, the paint is peeling and the wood beginning to decay, completing a natural cycle.

 

Another path strewn with leaves leads into the woods.

 

Our grandchildren know the paths well and often walk them on their own.
Our grandchildren know the paths well and often walk them on their own.

 

Some paths are lined with flowers.

 

Joe Pye weed grows abundantly in this wet area.
Joe Pye weed grows abundantly in this wet area.

 

Others are lined with trees.

 

This is one of many paths that lead through the woods.
This is one of many paths that lead through the woods.

 

Some are straight…

 

This path used to wiggle. I prefer it straight.
This gravel path used to wiggle. I straightened it to reflect the lines of our house.

 

… others gently curved.

 

This path leads through the Big Meadow beside the house.
This path leads through the Big Meadow beside the house.

 

Some paths are sunny and cheerful…

 

The bundled tree trunks were part of an installation called Ghost Walk.
When I first installed them, the bundled tree trunks made up an installation called Ghost Walk. They have now decayed so much that I will probably remove them this summer.

 

… others darkly mysterious.

 

Despite the appearance, I took this photo in July. I can't explain why, but photos of this area always make the pine needles look as if they are covered in snow.
Despite the appearance, I took this photo in July. I can’t explain why, but photos of this area always make the pine needles look as if they are covered in snow.

 

The newest path is The Avenue, a double line of crabapple trees we planted in November.  It leads straight through the field, to a springtime of bloom.

 

A blue sky day -- and a cold one, too. The temperature was -19C when I took this photo!
A blue sky day — and a cold one, too. The temperature was -19C when I took this photo!

 

Or so I hope.

But I can’t be sure. Because not all paths lead straight ahead. Some take us in circles, returning us to the place we started. Some take us to places we’d rather not see, others to sights that surprise and delight.

 

Where will this path take us, and what are those strange cones in the distance?
Where will this path take us, and what are those strange cones in the distance?

 

The journey is the thing. It can stretch our minds as well as our legs. And surely that is part of the pleasure.

Grassy Garden Paths

February 3rd, 2015 | 5 Comments »
A straight path at Stancombe Park in England edged with stone leads to the sculpture of a stag.
Today, when nothing for me but snow and ice is underfoot, I am thinking about garden paths and how they affect the way we move through our gardens. The material used for the path, its width, whether it is straight or curved, whether we can see where it is leading or not -- these aspects and more shape the style of our gardens and influence how we respond to them. Compare for a moment this grassy path ....   [caption id="attachment_1772" align="aligncenter" width="850"] A straight path at Stancombe Park in England leads to

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A Path to The Egg

February 3rd, 2013 | No Comments »
path
Glen Villa is about the land and the people who have lived on it, me and my family and the generations that preceded us. It’s about the emotions that plants and objects arranged artfully can evoke in those who take the time to really look at what is around them. It’s about the land beyond the garden itself: the woods and the paths we’ve created that have become as familiar as my face in the mirror. A path in the woods, near the big mossy rock I love sharing these

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