Inspiration for Design
As the Designer of the Garden I was asked “what was the inspiration for the design of the Children’s Garden of the Senses?” Now that is a very good question. Of course, many things were considered in developing the design. But the guiding inspiration was the famous Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery and her novels. Montgomery, who was born in Prince Edward Island, lived for a period of time in Norval, Ontario. As a young woman, she wrote numerous short stories and poems and her first novel, Anne of Green Gables, was a huge success.
Montgomery was devoted to the beauty of Prince Edward Island with its vivid colour contrasts, like the rich red of the winding roads, the brilliant emerald of the meadows and the glowing sapphire of the surrounding sea. Montgomery’s writings contain vivid imagery and loving descriptions of the landscape and nature. She describes gardens and woodlands in a very sensory way – intense and passionate.
For example, Montgomery describes a “wilderness of roses” as
roses red as the heart of a sunset, roses pink as the early flush of dawn,
roses white as the snow on mountain peaks,
roses full blown, and roses in beds that were sweeter than anything
So to answer the question, the inspiration for the design of the Garden was simply to capture beauty and to convey it in a sensory way, as expressed so eloquently by this quote from Jenny Hendy.
“A garden of the senses is a distillation of the perfect pleasures of the natural world: harmonious colours and elegant shapes, birdsong and breezes, cool grass and heady scents. Creating such a garden begins with letting your senses take over.” (Jenny Hendy, Garden of the Senses, 2002 Anness Publishing Ltd.)
Eileen Foley, Landscape Architect
Designer of the Children’s Garden of the Senses
Lucy Maud Montgomery in Norval
Lucy Maud Montgomery moved to Norval in 1926 with her husband Reverend Ewan Macdonald who took charge of the Presbyterian Churches in Norval and Glen Williams. Montgomery was very active in the church community and the village of Norval, and she and her husband often entertained at their Manse home. Montgomery loved the natural wooded setting of Norval and she would walk the banks of the Credit River for solitude, comfort and inspiration for her writings. Montgomery continued to write while she lived in Norval, completing 6 of her 22 novels (The Blue Castle 1926, Emily Quest 1927, Magic for Marigold 1929, A Tangled Web 1931, Mistress Pat 1935, and Pat of Silver Bush 1933) as well as journals, essays, poems and short stories. Montgomery and her husband retired to Toronto, Ontario in 1935.