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Spring fever | Press

Regardless of the size of their land, the arrival of spring brings back the same excitement among gardening enthusiasts. The appearance of the first buds arouses the same renewed pleasure, all over Quebec. Here is a glimpse of the excitement behind the scenes of three oases that will welcome visitors during the summer.



Danielle Bonneau
Danielle Bonneau
Press

Harmonia Garden

  • The Harmonia garden has flourished over the past 40 years thanks to the constant care given to it by Huguette Larocque and Clément Bessette.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    The Harmonia garden has flourished over the past 40 years thanks to the constant care given to it by Huguette Larocque and Clément Bessette.

  • The exotic plants, kept warm in the garage during the cold season, will be installed in the shade from the end of May to mid-June, time to acclimatize.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    The exotic plants, kept warm in the garage during the cold season, will be installed in the shade from the end of May to mid-June, time to acclimatize.

  • All winter, Huguette Larocque ensured the well-being of the exotic plants sheltered in the garage.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, LAPRESSE

    All winter, Huguette Larocque ensured the well-being of the exotic plants sheltered in the garage.

  • In the English-influenced garden, the bronze sculpture The Bather draws attention.  During the summer, the dome held at arm's length will be beautifully flowered.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    In the garden of English influence, the bronze sculpture The bather draws attention. During the summer, the dome held at arm’s length will be beautifully flowered.

  • Huguette Larocque and Clément Bessette are in the English-inspired garden, the very first they have created at the back of their house.  Greek anemones have already started to bloom around a pond, which will be filled with water lilies this summer.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    Huguette Larocque and Clément Bessette are in the English-inspired garden, the very first they have created at the back of their house. Greek anemones have already started to bloom around a pond, which will be filled with water lilies this summer.

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It is with pleasure that Huguette Larocque and Clément Bessette witness the awakening of nature in their property of nearly 100,000 sq. Ft.2, located at the foot of Mont Saint-Bruno. Their first gesture, in April, was to remove the huge black canvases that covered the 25 sculptures and furniture scattered throughout. The positive effect on their morale was immediate. They then turned their attention to the flower beds, made up mostly of perennials, to clean them up and see the damage.

“In the spring, we also take three steps back to assess what we are going to do,” says Bessette. We always have plans to make the garden more interesting. We develop a plan of attack and we go step by step. ”

The fruit of their shared passion, the Harmonia garden has evolved over the past 40 years. It now encompasses six, of English, Balinese, Japanese and French inspirations, romantic in style and Land Art style. The Lost City was added in 2016. In this extraordinary environment, where Western and Eastern cultures meet, Huguette Larocque gives free rein to her imagination. She also sculpts shrubs and gives them an unusual transparency. Her husband takes care of the general maintenance, which keeps him particularly busy these days.

During the summer, they will open their garden for five weekends, collecting donations for three causes close to their hearts: the volunteer auxiliaries of Charles-Le Moyne Hospital, Maison Répit Vacances and L’Arche Montérégie. Workshops and outdoor concerts will also be offered. “The testimonials from visitors stimulate us a lot,” says Bessette. Our garden has a very particular style. We see that it does good. This encourages owners to continually seek to improve it.

> Visit the Harmonia garden website

Francois’ Garden

  • François Marcil works tirelessly in his vast garden.  It is found in one of his creations, the bridge of love, of which he is particularly proud.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    François Marcil works tirelessly in his vast garden. It is found in one of his creations, the bridge of love, of which he is particularly proud.

  • François Marcil has created enchanting corners all over his property.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    François Marcil has created enchanting corners all over his property.

  • François Marcil has a thousand and one ideas for enhancing the natural beauty of his property in Saint-Sauveur.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    François Marcil has a thousand and one ideas for enhancing the natural beauty of his property in Saint-Sauveur.

  • This section of the Jardin de François will be unrecognizable when the perennials start to grow again.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    This section of the Jardin de François will be unrecognizable when the perennials start to grow again.

  • François Marcil skillfully works with wood.  He made the tree house for his grandchildren.  This captures the interest of visitors, young and old.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    François Marcil skillfully works with wood. He made the tree house for his grandchildren. This captures the interest of visitors, young and old.

  • Two miniature horses joined the hens and rabbits.  They are now part of the attractions of the Jardin de François.

    PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

    Two miniature horses joined the hens and rabbits. They are now part of the attractions of the Jardin de François.

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Falling under the spell of tea rose bushes some twenty years ago, François Marcil has given them a growing place in his vast property in Saint-Sauveur. He took the opportunity to bring out the natural beauty of the place, which he continues to enhance.

All winter, he hatched new plans, which he has been carrying out since his return from Florida. He left it to two gardeners to clean the flowerbeds and the land, while he toiled to set up two belvederes. These will be added to the two others which allow you to better admire the Simon River. He is also busy building a suspension bridge, made of cedar wood collected from the property. This is the second footbridge he likes to build, after the “love bridge”, which is in a neighboring section and spans a dry stream.

By adding two miniature horses to the chickens and rabbits who live quietly at home, he thought of his grandchildren, but also of the many visitors, young and old, that he and volunteers welcome on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, during the summer. “It’s an attraction, just like the tree house,” explains the businessman, more focused on perennials, which dictate the look of the garden over the weeks.

Witness to the emotions aroused throughout the journey, Mr. Marcil takes as much pride in knowing how many funds are raised for the benefit of the Société Alzheimer Laurentides. Reservations are made on the site of the community organization, which directly receives donations of $ 25 per person. “I have always liked to make people happy. I have been very lucky in my life. It’s my way of giving back. ”

> Visit the Jardin de François website

The Reford Gardens

  • Patricia Gallant, head horticulturalist at Les Jardins de Métis, notably oversees the production of 25,000 annual plants.

    PHOTO MARJELAINE SYLVESTRE, PROVIDED BY THE JARDINS DE MÉTIS

    Patricia Gallant, head horticulturalist at Les Jardins de Métis, notably oversees the production of 25,000 annual plants.

  • Everything is carefully planned in the production greenhouse where Alexander Reford, General Manager of Les Jardins de Métis, and Patricia Gallant, head horticulturist are located.

    PHOTO MARJELAINE SYLVESTRE, PROVIDED BY THE JARDINS DE MÉTIS

    Everything is carefully planned in the production greenhouse where Alexander Reford, General Manager of Les Jardins de Métis, and Patricia Gallant, head horticulturist are located.

  • Azaleas are unrecognizable in their winter outfit.

    PHOTO MARJELAINE SYLVESTRE, PROVIDED BY THE JARDINS DE MÉTIS

    Azaleas are unrecognizable in their winter outfit.

  • The snow is there longer in Grand-Métis, in the Gaspé, than in several other regions of Quebec.  Isabelle Couture, gardener, was pruning one of the decorative crabapples.  There are nearly a hundred in the gardens.

    PHOTO MARJELAINE SYLVESTRE, PROVIDED BY THE JARDINS DE MÉTIS

    The snow is there longer in Grand-Métis, in the Gaspé, than in several other regions of Quebec. Isabelle Couture, gardener, was pruning one of the decorative crabapples. There are nearly a hundred in the gardens.

  • On April 23, the gardens were covered with a white coat.

    PHOTO MARJELAINE SYLVESTRE, PROVIDED BY THE JARDINS DE MÉTIS

    On April 23, the gardens were covered with a white coat.

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Since mid-February, Patricia Gallant, head horticulturalist at Les Jardins de Métis, has been active in two greenhouses and in the field, in anticipation of the next season. The magnificent historic gardens created by Elsie Reford almost 100 years ago, which cover seven hectares, are under her responsibility. The scale of the task is mind-boggling.

“There are 3,500 varieties of perennials,” reveals Mme Gallant. Annuals represent 15-20% of cultivars. We plant 25,000 a year. It sounds like a lot, but there are 50 or 100 plants of one kind, 1000 of another, of 400 different varieties. »Annuals are grown inside two 3,200-square-foot greenhouses2 (297 m2) and 1800 ft2 (167 m2). “There isn’t that much space,” says M.me Gallant. It’s a big gymnastics. ”

April was an intense month. “We have to make sure we have what it takes to fill in the gaps,” she explains. I’m not like everyone else: I like a spring that stretches a little. We follow the temperature closely. The snow is there longer in Grand-Métis, in the Gaspé, than in many other regions of Quebec. This has an advantage, she points out. At the end of May and the beginning of June, thanks to the microclimate that prevails there, visitors have the chance to relive a second spring, with crabapples and lilacs in bloom. “Our season being very short, a lot of things bloom at the same time”, underlines the horticulturalist, who is in her 33e year in the Jardins de Métis and who never tires of walking there.

Writer Alexander Reford, great-grandson of Elsie Reford, director of the Reford Gardens and founder of the International Garden Festival, has his head full of projects. “We want to offer programming that meets expectations,” he says. Beauty will be here no matter the sanitary conditions. ”

> Visit the Jardins de Métis website