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Following my tree: June

Finally the corkscrew hazel (Corylus avellana ‘Red Majestic’) has leafed out. The colour and texture of these leaves caught my eye last year.Impulse buying: not a great idea. The rich deep burgundy leaves are the main reason I bought the small tree last year. The leaves and the wonderfully contorted branches. The twisted branches create a…

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Identifying spring wildflowers: why bother?

My last two posts have been about some of the Italian gardens I visited recently while leading a small group of women on a 9-day tour. I still have a lot to write about what I saw, and what I thought of it, but in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, where my garden Glen Villa…

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Bosco della Ragnaia

From Roman times, the contrast between sun and shade has played a major role in Italian garden design. Understandably so, in a country where people search for shade in the summer and for the warmth of sun in winter. This traditional feature is a major design element in a contemporary garden near Siena, Bosco della…

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What I liked about Italian Renaissance Gardens

I returned recently from nine days in Italy where I visited gardens between Florence and Rome. Historically, they ranged from the 1st century (Villa Adriana, or Hadrian’s Villa) to the 21st century (Bosco della Ragnaia). Weeks later, my head is still spinning with all I saw — and with all I learned about history, art…

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Following my Tree: May

After a month away, it feels good to be home again in North Hatley. I was travelling for four weeks, first in southern Africa and then in Italy where I co-led a group of women through gardens that ranged from the first century A.D. to a contemporary art installation garden that is still very much…

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