Tag Archives: Timelines

Continuum, Part Three

June 27th, 2021 | 6 Comments »

In 2005, I started to cut a trail at Glen Villa; that trail became Timelines, the walk through fields and forests where art installations explore ideas about history, memory and our relationship to the land. I’ve written about this trail in many blog posts; I wrote about Continuum, one part of the trail, in two posts last fall. (You can find those posts here and here.)

This large rock outcropping is what prompted me to first begin thinking about how to give voice to the land and the ideas and emotions it evoked. When I noticed it many years ago, I thought it was worth emphasizing in some way. But the trees in front screened it from full view.


untitled (1 of 22)


We cut and chipped the trees, but even the clearer space didn’t inspire an idea. Last summer, we dug down to expose more of the rock face and the small hole we dug began to fill with water.


mud pool (1 of 1)


We enlarged and shaped a pool, creating a spot that was peaceful and quite beautiful.


untitled (6 of 6)


Above the pool we placed rocks that outlined maple keys, one step in the process of establishing Continuum’s theme of beginnings, ends and re-beginnings.


untitled (19 of 22)


Over the winter I drilled the same maple key pattern into large boulders. One went into place along the trail that leads to the pool, a hint at what was to come.


drilled rock on path (1 of 1)


Two weeks ago, the other drilled rocks went into place on the bank beside the pool.


drilled rocks (1 of 1)


With all the digging and the moving of dirt, the natural vegetation that once surrounded the pool had died back. Earlier this month, only bare soil was visible.

Not any longer.

Jacques and Ken, the two wonderful men I work with, brought in some good soil from the large piles we accumulated when our big pond was dredged a few years ago. They added a wood chip path that leads around the pool and into the woods and positioned more rocks near the pool to provide places to sit.


sign (5 of 8)


With the rocks and path in place, it was time to seed the ground. To my delight, rain came just on time and the area is greening up very quickly. We transplanted some ferns which I expect will spread, grouping some around the drilled rocks to make them look more natural.


drilled rocks with fern (1 of 1)


Continuum is almost finished. The sign announcing this section of Timelines is in place in the field where it begins.


sign (3 of 8)


A walking path leads from the pool to the rocky road that was already there. All that remains is the finale of the section, to be called The Group of Seven. We started on that section in the spring, digging and planting some maple saplings.


sign (7 of 8)


Finishing up entails work that only I can do — and there is a lot of it. I hope to find time to do the painting and the collage over the summer but the work will probably extend into the fall. And will Timelines then be complete? I doubt it — the land always has more to say.



Many people have asked whether we will be opening Glen Villa to the public this summer. The situation remains fluid but the Eastern Townships and all of Quebec are entering a green zone for Covid, which increases the likelihood that the garden will open.

We’re looking at one or possibly two days near the end of July/beginning of August and/or near the end of August and the beginning of September. I wish I could be more precise and as soon as we make a decision, I will post the dates in a blog, on Facebook and Instagram.

If you aren’t already, do subscribe to my

Instagram account at glen_villa_garden

or to

Facebook at www.facebook.com/GlenVillaGardens








The Value of Criticism

February 22nd, 2021 | 6 Comments »
Recently an article titled "Gardens Need Criticism" was posted on the garden website Veddw. Written by Veddw's garden maker Anne Wareham and originally published in Garden Design Journal in 2002, the article prompted me to think about the art of critiquing gardens and the art of receiving critiques. Last year a well-informed group of landscape architects and designers visited Glen Villa. I invited comments, and at the end of the visit one person quietly made a suggestion about a section of Timelines, the trail I've been working on for the last few years. His comment concerned


Goals and Resolutions

January 7th, 2021 | 10 Comments »
In January last year, I laid out six garden goals for the year ahead, never believing I'd be able to achieve them all. I put them on paper nonetheless to give myself something to aim for and, to my surprise, I find that over the last twelve months I completed five of the six. This may be due to Covid-related restrictions that kept me closer to home, or it may be because I was intent on using the time well, but regardless of why, I'm pleased with what I managed to do. So, what


Continuum, Continued

November 23rd, 2020 | 4 Comments »
Over the last few weeks, while the weather was remarkably kind, I've continued to work on an extension to Timelines, the trail that explores ideas about memory, history and our relationship to the land. I wrote about the initial work on Continuum in my last blog post, almost a month ago.  Since then, lots has happened. We added a wonderful tree trunk bench alongside the stream, right next to the old lid from a sap bucket that was used, who knows how many years ago, when maple syrup was being made at Orin's Sugarcamp.



October 27th, 2020 | 12 Comments »
"There is often a huge difference between an idea and its realization. Ideas must be put to the test. That's why we make things, otherwise they would be no more than ideas." Andy Goldsworthy's words ring true for me. I have more ideas than I can realize, certainly more than I can act on in my lifetime.  Folders splitting at the seams contain scribbled thoughts and doodles, pages torn from magazines, projects detailed but never executed. So when I begin to translate an idea into the reality that Goldsworthy speaks


Autumn Leaves

October 12th, 2020 | 11 Comments »
Walking through the woods recently, I passed this installation, called The Forms.   [caption id="attachment_9253" align="aligncenter" width="3728"] The Forms represent the basic building blocks of the constructed world. They are one part of Timelines, the trail at Glen Villa that explores ideas about history, memory and our relationship to the land.[/caption]   The colours of the plexiglass shapes stood out from the muted tones around them, attracting me like a magnet. Closer, I noticed leaves scattered on top of them, some haphazardly, some artfully arranged.     The contrast in colours atop


Autumn Colour Brings Joy

October 6th, 2020 | 4 Comments »
The autumn colours seem particularly intense this year at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec's Eastern Townships. Leaves started to turn earlier than usual and the height of the season has almost come and gone. But what a season it has been! It started early, when a small horse chestnut tree (Aesculus pavia) began to turn.   [caption id="attachment_9230" align="aligncenter" width="2541"] This photo was taken in mid-September[/caption]   It continued as the sourgum trees (Nyssa sylvatica) nearby began to change colour. First one tree caught fire ...   [caption id="attachment_9228" align="aligncenter"


In Transit/En Route in 2020

July 20th, 2020 | 8 Comments »
In Transit/En Route is part of Timelines, the trail at Glen Villa that explores ideas about time, memory and our relationship to the land. Dating back to 2009, it was one of the first sections of Timelines I built and was an inspiration for all that followed. Over the intervening years, In Transit/En Route has undergone many changes, including several iterations of the signs that lead from an old field into the woods. First the signs stood on wooden posts that held red glass squares with circular openings.     I based that design on the Chinese concept of the universe,


Before and After

May 18th, 2020 | 9 Comments »
Despite the lockdown, life at Glen Villa has been, and continues to be, very busy. There is always a lot to do in the garden in springtime but this year, there seems to be more than ever. In March we started seeds under grow lights in the basement...   [caption id="attachment_8743" align="alignleft" width="5184"] Before: seedlings sprouting.[/caption]   ... before moving them towards the beginning of April up to the greenhouse.   [caption id="attachment_8733" align="alignleft" width="5184"] After: tomato plants galore![/caption]   It's easy to show the 'Before' for these tomato plants but to show


Another One Bites the Dust

November 11th, 2019 | 10 Comments »
The job of rebuilding the hotel foundation wall is progressing but more slowly than we hoped. The slow-down was unavoidable, thanks to (really, no thanks to) the snow that fell this week.   [caption id="attachment_8274" align="alignleft" width="1600"] All the rocks on the right came from the foundation wall which now has been taken down entirely.[/caption]   The snow is attractive, no doubt, but it has come much too early.   [caption id="attachment_8273" align="alignleft" width="1600"] The Cascade looks pretty with its dusting of snow. I just hope the snow won't last too long.[/caption]