Shaping the Earth

Over the last week, as part of a tour I’ve been leading through gardens in Scotland and the north of England, I’ve been fortunate enough to see four earth works created by Charles Jencks. Jencks is an American architectural theorist, writer and landscape architect who has lived in Scotland for many years and now divides his…

Trees at Glen Villa

Trees play a major role at Glen Villa, my garden in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. They provide shade in summer, colourful foliage in autumn and the promise that comes with spring green buds. In winter bare branches of deciduous trees offer a stark colour contrast outlined against the snow, and evergreens provide structure and a touch of colour…

The Dragon’s Tail

One of the first flower beds I added at Glen Villa was The Dragon’s Tail, a line of grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) that sweeps across a flat grassy area like a child’s scribble.     I laid out the shape with a lawn mower, cutting a gentle curve, then altering it slightly to add a bit more…

The Gravel Garden

  Beside our house, next to a wooden deck that is rarely used, is a juniper planted when the house was built in 1969. Or to put it more accurately, beside the house and next to the deck are the remains of one. For the last few years, the juniper has been slowly dying. The photo below shows how…

What’s With the Weather?

  Despite the bright sun that was shining half an hour ago, there’s a cloud bursting now, right outside my window. This cloudburst follows another one last night that knocked out our electricity and blew down three birch trees and a maple.     Cloudbursts happen. Rain comes. But these storms are faster and fiercer than…