Contemporary Gardens Bloom in Quebec

This year, the International Garden Festival at the Jardin de Metis in Quebec features 21 commissioned gardens, including the unique Tiny Taxonomy (see earlier post).

A few interesting projects include: 

Dymaxion Sleep
(Jane Hutton & Adrian Blackwell): This project includes a network of nets structured over a field of aromatic plants. “Rather than walking through the garden, visitors lie on top of it, translating the typically solitary experience of a garden into a public event. The structure that holds the nets is an unfolded icosahedron, formed of twenty steel triangles. Each triangle is large enough to support a single outstretched body, an intertwined pair, or a pileup of people. Mints, lemon geranium, lavender and fennel are planted below, mimicking the structure’s topography and defining scented territories in which to relax.”

Réflexions colorées (Hal Ingberg): This garden includes a “semi-reflective equilateral triangle,” which offers an “intimate, courtyard-like enclosure that both frames and intensifies the perception of the forest.” (Suresh Perera): “Enclosed by semi-transparent green walls, one retains a dream-like memory of the forest. We circle a pool of water, rising up towards the sky and down towards the sky reflected, moving close to and then away from the encompassing walls. The garden embodies the realm of the in-between. We are invited to gaze upon the sky reflected and to experience a contemplative stillness.” (This one also includes a few videos.) 

Le jardin de bâtons bleus (Claude Cormier, architecture de paysage + Design urbain): Claude Cormier, winner of an ASLA Professional Honor Award for his work on HtO park in Toronto, created this “Blue Stick Garden.” The garden has a few inspirations: “the Himalayan blue poppy painstakingly adapted to the region’s microclimate, and the mixed flowering borders of the original heritage garden from the 1920s.” 

Bascule: les ondées aratoires (Cédule 40 Julien Boily, Étienne Boulanger, Sonia Boudreau, Noémie Payant-Hébert): “Rather than a highly designed and controlled environment, CÉDULE 40 developed a planting system based on chance and random distribution. By revisiting traditional modes of agricultural production and integrating visitor participation in the planting of the garden itself, they subvert one of the primary principles of the garden, which is the strategic organization of a place. Visitors are invited to swing on an oversized swing set, this action triggering the rotation of cylinders perched eighteen feet above, which randomly disperse corn seeds. Chance becomes the guiding principle of the plantation scheme, the participation of the visitor its mode of production. By embarking on the swing, visitors become active participants.”

The 40-acre Jardin de Metis, which includes some 3,000 species of trees and plants, was created in the early 20th century by Elsie Reford. The gardens receive around 100,000 visitors each year.

Learn more about all 21 contemporary gardens, or visit until October 2010.

Image credits: Les Jardin de Metis

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