Last week, I spoke at Bishop’s University to a large group os students, faculty, staff and members of the local community. My talk was one in a series of lectures held over the past 13 years called the Donald Lectures, sponsored by Bishop’s alumni John Donald. Previous speakers include some real superstars, people like Jane Goodall, Steven Pinker, Jesse Jackson, Edward Burtynski, and Naomi Klein, so I feel honoured to join the list.
Bishop’s 550 seat Centennial Theatre was almost at Covid capacity, with about 200 or more people in the auditorium, and with over 80 more on the live stream. It was the first time in a VERY long time that I’ve spoken in person to an audience, and an even longer time since I’ve spoken to that large an audience.
It was amazing!
The questions from students after the talk were challenging. How do you integrate yourself into the landscape, and vice versa; and how do art and gardens fit into the picture? (Wow, that was a tough one.) What was your biggest disaster in the garden? (The first thing that came to mind was trying to get the Aqueduct to work properly. I could have named many others.) What is your most beautiful garden memory? (Impossible to choose only one. So I chose several: three family weddings in the garden at Glen Villa and one mental image from a garden in England where photos were not permitted.)
The talk was on a Wednesday. The following Saturday, students and faculty and community members toured the garden. It was a sunny day that ended in a downpour, well-timed at the end of the morning, after most people had walked the 4 km Timelines trail and had visited most of the garden proper. I had the chance to meet and talk to many students, which for me is always a high point. I saw some old friends and met some new ones. And as always, the day went smoothly thanks to two very special men.
A big thank you goes to all those who attended the lecture in person and to the large number who listened to the live stream. It was a real pleasure for me to share my passion and enthusiasm for Glen Villa Art Garden with you all.
The talk is available on Youtube, starting at about 40 minutes into this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0D7riTGkKg
If anyone watching the link has questions, do get in touch. I’m happy to present this talk or one of several others listed on my website to groups far and wide, either in person or via zoom.