The Upper Room is as glorious in winter as it is in spring, summer and fall. The highlight in every season is the beautiful screen outlining the bare branches of a dogwood tree.
Drawn by the Montreal artist Mary Martha Guy, the tree branches become more starkly striking with the late afternoon sun shining through.
A close-up of four of the glass panels fabricated by the Montreal glass artists at Vitrerie VM Montreal make the bare thorn-like branches appear to stab the air.
What I love most about the screen in this season is the interplay of light and shadow. The space between the panels becomes a line on the snow. Sun shining through the clear glass that forms the branches twists them in a dance, shortening some and lengthening others.
The dogwood blossoms are less distinct under these conditions, but they are there, visible to anyone who looks with open eyes.
Bare branches on the screen are wonderful. Bare branches on the yews, planted to suggest columns supporting a ceiling for the Upper Room, are not. Hungry deer flattened themselves to pancakes and slid under the fence. Now every bit of green on the yews is gone.
Once the ground is workable, we’ll transplant the yews to our fenced-in vegetable garden, hoping that with time they will recover. I’ll search for something else to plant in their place. Or possibly I’ll replant yews — they are perfect for what I want in the space — and create some kind of cage to fence them in.
For now, though, I’ll ignore the damage and enjoy the Upper Room for what it is, a place of peace and quiet, where memories live on.
Finishing The Upper Room, the area that honours my mother and her beliefs, was one of my goals for 2017. I started work on the area last summer, hoping to finish then, but everything took longer than expected. This year, the sand-blasted panels that are the central feature were installed in the spring, the area was planted in early summer, and the final elements were added in July. The dogwood screen remains the crowning glory. It stands at the uppermost of three levels, defining the space without closing it in. I'm particularly happy with
After months of anticipation, yesterday we installed the glass panels at The Upper Room. The wait was long but it was worth it -- I am thrilled with the results. The Upper Room is a memorial designed to honour my mother and her beliefs. It's a tribute to family and to the traditions I grew up with in Richmond, Virginia, when classically symmetrical architecture, brick, and boxwood shaped our streetscapes and our view of the world. From inception, brick and boxwood were essential elements of the design. So was a sense of embrace. I wanted the