Tag Archives: Reford Gardens

Garden Design features Tree Rings

March 11th, 2016 | 6 Comments »

Tree Rings, the sculpture I created to honour a maple tree at my garden Glen Villa, is featured in Garden Design Magazine’s on-line newsletter.

I’m really pleased. Why wouldn’t I be? The article is a wow!


See how laser-cut stainless steel rings pay tribute to an ancient maple destroyed by strong winds.


Regular readers may be familiar with this sculpture since I’ve written about it several times and about the process of creating it. Newer readers may be seeing it for the first time. Whichever, I hope you will celebrate along with me as this memorial to an old and honoured maple tree is presented to a larger audience.

I’m delighted that Garden Design is offering readers a chance to receive one free issue with a new subscription. This is the first time I’ve endorsed any commercial product and I thought carefully before doing this. But Garden Design Magazine is worth supporting. With high calibre articles about gardens and issues related to gardening, it’s even worth promoting.
Garden Design caught my attention with an article by Lindsay Taylor about the Reford Gardens in Métis, Québec. As someone who gardens in Quebec and who is a big fan of the Reford Gardens and its International Garden Festival, I was delighted to see this garden treasure presented to an international audience.


Each issue has pieces that capture my attention. Le Jardin Plume, one of my favourite French gardens, was featured in an issue last fall. Drought-proof gardens featured in another issue and while a shortage of water is not an issue for me at Glen Villa — we have plenty of rain in the summer months — as a responsible, ecologically-minded gardener I know that the careless use of water is a bad idea, wherever you live.

There’s more on this topic in the current on-line edition. In an excerpt from her new book The Water-Saving Garden Pam Penick writes about creating the illusion of water by using plants. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

So, thank you Garden Design, for great articles. And thank you for such a great piece about Tree Rings.

NOTE:  We’re making some changes at Site and Insight — new text, new photos and — coming soon — new talks. Check the up-dated website here.  And do get in touch for information about my sculpture and site-specific art installations, or about speaking to a group in your area. I welcome enquiries.   www.siteandinsight.com

Taizé: A Project for the International Garden Festival at Métis, Quebec

April 5th, 2015 | 4 Comments »
Last fall I submitted a proposal to the International Garden Festival at Métis, Quebec as part of a mulit-disciplinary team. The Festival is one of the leading annual garden festivals in the world --  a "forum for innovation and experimentation and an exceptional showcase and launching pad for participating designers from a host of disciplines," to quote the festival website, providing "a unique space for those involved in the renewal of this art form." The team I led proposed a garden installation that focused on transformation: from noise to silence, from movement to stillness, from


Smoke and Mirrors: More Reflections in the Garden

November 17th, 2014 | 6 Comments »
Two weeks ago I wrote about using water in a garden to reflect the things around it. Water has been used this way for a very long time, and often with a warning attached: think back to the Greek legend of Narcissus, the young boy who fell in love with his reflection in a pool and died. Reflections are tricky things, full of symbolism and possibility. Consider mirrors, for example. Viewed positively, they are a way of looking inward and gaining self-knowledge; viewed negatively they are signs of vanity and excessive self-regard. Which explains


The International Garden Festival at Métis, Québec

July 14th, 2014 | 5 Comments »
Edward Lutyens once said that a garden "should have a backbone -- a central idea beautifully phrased." The central and beautifully phrased idea of the International Garden Festival at the Reford Gardens in Métis, Québec is to offer garden installations that challenge conventional ideas of what a garden is -- or can be.For the past 15 years the festival has been a showcase for innovation and delight. Featuring designers from Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, France, the United States and Canada, this year's Festival presents 22 contemporary gardens that "invite visitors


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.


Is Mosaiculture topiary?

September 22nd, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Strictly speaking, the answer is -- no. Both are living sculptures, but they are made in different ways. Mosaiculture is also a contemporary form of plant display, while topiary has a long and distinguished history, dating back to  Roman times.So, what are the differences? The most obvious one is that topiary uses a single plant to create architectural and sculptural shapes while mosaiculture creates forms by combining a variety of plants with different colours and textures. Traditionally, creating a topiary took a long time; a plant, tree or shrub was clipped and shaped


Thinking Big

May 21st, 2013 | 2 Comments »
Recently I saw a photo of a giant yellow ducky floating in Hong Kong harbour. Called Spreading Joy Around the World, it's by the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. And it is BIG: 54 ft, or 16.5 metres, tall. The artist said it was intended to make people feel happy. It worked. It made me smile. It also set me thinking about the impact of size in a landscape. At Glen Villa, the Big Chair always brings a smile. From a distance, it’s hard to appreciate the scale. But once someone


A review of “What Are Gardens For: Experiencing, Making and Thinking About Gardens” by Rory Stuart

April 30th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
This book arrives at a good moment. In a few months, I'll be visiting gardens in England along with fifteen other women, and Rory Stuart's book offers some excellent pointers on what to pay attention to when visiting a garden and how to evaluate the experience. The subtitle, Experiencing, Making and Thinking Abut Gardens, explains what the book is about. It's not a 'how-to' book, and there isn't much in it about making gardens. Not to worry, the book offers much more. It's one of those books that helps to


Evaluating Canada Blooms 2013

March 27th, 2013 | 3 Comments »
Flowers do not a garden make. Nor a garden show. Nonetheless, for me flower arrangements were the highlight of this year’s Canada Blooms. And I am not a flower arranger. Not any good at it, and not interested in becoming any better. But I do like art, and to see amazingly artful compositions made with plant material was a nice treat. Can you imagine the time and effort it took to create this gold ribbon winner? Nancy Wilson's gold ribbon winning painting reflects an amaryllis tucked into the arch behind.


Is Canada Blooms a garden?

March 21st, 2013 | 2 Comments »
An extra post, from Toronto As I write, I’m on my way to Toronto to visit Canada Blooms, Canada’s largest garden show. I’m speaking tomorrow about using art in a garden and am pleased to be doing this. I set myself a goal when I first started giving talks about gardens and garden design, and that goal was to speak at Canada Blooms. So, as of tomorrow afternoon, I'll check off one item on my (increasingly long) list of things to do. I visited Canada Blooms last year and, quite