Hilary Brown Garden



oil on panel. Framed.


Dimensions 24 × 30 in

1 in stock




The Inspiration

Many communities on Vancouver Island have garden tours. These take place mainly during the months of May and June, when West Coast gardens are at their peak.

Rhododendrons are particularly spectacular in their many varieties and colors at this time of the year.

Gardeners are also Artists when you think of the emotion they generate by the variety of colors and forms. No two gardens are alike, although like artists, gardeners inspire each other and love to talk with great passion about their projects.

Each garden is unique and the personality of the gardener comes through in the work. The overall design is important in making a coherent statement in a formal garden.

Similarly, in visual art you have the Formal Artist as well as the more Expressionist—in West Coast gardening lingo, the “English Garden”. In my experience, formal gardens tend to be more rigid,
with open controlled space and hard edges, whereas the expressionist garden is more closed-in, with a myriad of paths and arbors and a profusion of colors and textures.

Most successful gardens take years to develop and one of my favorites is Hilary Brown’s garden on Hornby Island at Heron Rocks. Hilary’s husband, Harrison, was working as a journalist in Berlin during the 1930’s and was also a fervent socialist. He was not popular in right wing Nazi Germany.

Sensing a coming world war, the couple toured North America warning people about the impending world catastrophe. Largely ignored by listeners, they retreated to Hornby Island. When you think of where to escape a world war, the Gulf Islands would be an ideal sanctuary.

Their garden remains a joy, a Hornby Island treasure.