Last month I was visiting the beautiful Gaspésie region of Quebec and we made a stop at the breathtaking Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens. The Reford Garden is the largest garden north of the 48 parallel. The history of the garden dates back to the turn of the 21 century when this was a fishing lodge for the wealthy. It is in located in Grand-Métis (Québec) (418) 775-2222. Along with over 100 flower gardens, the Jardis de Metis host a few events each year. Last weekend the hosted the inaugural La Grande Table – Culinary Festival. It was a friendly competitions between chef highlighting Quebecois food.
The other important event that takes place is the International Garden Festival. From St. Jean Baptiste weekend (June 23rd) to October 3rd, 2016. The Festival is part of the art that is found throughout the gardens. I have never seen large scale art installations in a garden before. I have seen them in other museums but never outdoors. Everything about the installations is a marriage between the natural surroundings and the art itself.
The International Garden Festival is recognized as one of the most important events of its kind in North America and one of the leading annual garden festivals in the world. Since 2000, more than one million visitors have discovered over 165 contemporary and ephemeral gardens created by designers from 15 countries. This artistic and tourism event also gives visitors a chance to discover inspiring spaces bringing together the visual arts, architecture, design, landscape and the environment. The Festival is an annual rendez-vous for admirers of contemporary gardens and design as well as offering a unique creative space for those involved in the renewal of this art form.
~ Jardins de Metis / Reford Gardens
I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful landscape installations that are part of the 17th International Garden Festival. Below is Cyclops a very large wooden structure that you can walk under. When you look up it is a dizzying effect. As you approach it you are amazed at the size of it then as you enter the center you realize that you are but a small part of the piece. I love this picture because you can see how the man in the picture looks like he is being swallowed up by the structure. If you go to the website, you can see a stunning aerial view (look at picture 20 in the slideshow).
One of my favourite installations of the festival is a very colourful, tactile and interactive piece. With pairs of books suspended on poles, you can pick up a pair of boots, put them on and then wear them throughout the piece. There is a natural ‘puddle’ to play in and then a small maze to walk through for fun. If you have young children, they will love this piece.
Se mouiller (la belle échappée)
Groupe A / Annexe U
This is a detail of La Maison de Jacques. I loved all of these clay pebbles that are the base of this installation. You can see what the bigger installation looks like here. It is a maze of poles with beanstalks growing and winding their way up the poles to create a secret house. It is a riff of Jack and the Beanstalk. When we were there, the plants had already started to grow and cover the strings. Very different from the pictures that were taken at the beginning of the season. What captivated my attention were the thousands of clay beads that provided ground cover amongst the stepping stones.
La maison de Jacques
Romy Brosseau, Rosemarie Faille-Faubert, Émilie Gagné-Loranger
The optical illusion provided by this piece was wonderful. Made from simple plywood that has been painted in black and white stripes. It is mesmerizing to peer through the circles to then see the view of the trees and the St. Lawrence seaway.
Making Circles in the Water
Another interactive piece was Around and About. It was a large rake attached to a metal wheel that can be pushed to create perfect circles in the shale. What I enjoyed most about this piece is the use of the indigenous shale shards. I was enamoured of all the shale that we saw throughout our drive in the Gaspesie.It was in the mountains that we passed, the beaches that we walked the ravines that we traversed. It is in part a defining element of the Canadian Shield. The other element that spoke to me is the ability to create order from disorder. Creating different patterns in the shale was also very soothing. When you tour the gardens make sure to take the time to pick up a rake and make it your own.
Talmon Biran architecture studio
The fan favourite was a moveable maple. It was a set of young trees that were set in pots that are sitting on rails. It is harder to explain than to see so I’ll draw your attention to my video.