Welcome to the GVAG Blog

A single blowsy pink rose at La Foce. I love the fuzzy yellow centre.

Roses, Up Close and Very Personal

Yesterday I returned from three weeks in Italy. While there I visited almost 20 gardens, some on my own and some in the company of the group of ten I was leading, along with my friend, travel consultant and organizer par excellence, Julia Guest. I write this blog once a week, and generally publish it on Sundays.…

Read more
This small book contains a world of ideas.

Go With Me: A Book Review and A Challenge

Last year, Michael Gordon, a gardener in New Hampshire, wrote about a book called  Go With Me: 50 Steps to Landscape Thinking. In his blog post he described how he used the book to enrich a tour he was leading through gardens in England. His description intrigued me and I immediately ordered the book on…

Read more
Black locust in bloom = heavy perfume.

Following Other Trees

Once again this month I am nowhere near my home in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, so I cannot report on my linden, the tree I am officially ‘following.’ But since I hate to miss a month of  Lucy Corrander’s tree following meme, I am cheating this month and following the trees that I see around me…

Read more
The façade of Ferrara

Stories in Stone

The cathedral in Ferrara, Italy was begun in 1135. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary and to the city’s patron saint, St George, it combines Romanesque and Gothic styles in a way I find extremely appealing. The façade is richly decorated — and with a purpose. In the days when most people were illiterate, stories were…

Read more
Behind this simple brick exterior is an interior that is equally simple, spacious and calm -- except for the explosion of colourful mosaics..

Flora and Fauna in Ravenna’s Mosaics

For the last few days I’ve been in Ravenna, Italy, looking at mosaics that date back to the 5th century. And glorious they are. Scattered through the old city, all but one within easy walking distance, these mosaics decorate the interiors of basilicas, mausoleums and baptistries. They tell stories from the life of Jesus and celebrate Christian…

Read more