Find out why the Reford Gardens are one of the best botanical destinations in Canada

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With our long winters, there are few things Canadians appreciate more than a beautiful, green garden. The Reford Gardens (known as Jardins de Métis in French) are one of Canada’s most beloved green spaces and are also a National Historic Site. Designed by horticulturist Elsie Reford from 1926 to 1958, the property is one of North America’s most breathtaking botanical gems and a must-stop for anyone visiting the Gaspésie and Bas-Saint-Laurent region in Quebec.

Every year, the Reford Gardens host the International Garden Festival, the largest contemporary garden festival in North America. The festival presents around twenty creations by around seventy architects, landscape architects and designers from various disciplines. This year, the event will run from June 25 to October 2, 2022. The theme of the festival is ADAPTATION and visitors will have the opportunity to walk through new facilities that will help them reconnect with nature.

Five design teams were chosen by the jury from among the 87 projects submitted following an international call for projects. Here’s just a taste of what the five new garden facilities have in store for us.

Lichen

Lichen is a perceptive, malleable and mutable organism. It metamorphoses in contact with topography, humidity and ambient temperature. Like its namesake, it is sensitive to disturbances in its environment and is therefore a valuable indicator of environmental changes. Composed of small, delicate elements, it nevertheless remains a coherent and resistant structure which serves to prepare the ground for other plant species. Inspired by terracotta pots, this installation is made up of small handmade earthenware rings.

Fortresses

Our forests cannot defend themselves. Fortresses is an intervention within the forest, symbolizing an aggressive way of protecting our flora from its biggest predator: ourselves. These defensive systems will be assembled from wood from trees that have succumbed to their unsuitability. Fortresses is intended to make visitors question the impact they have on their environment and to remind them that forests are incapable of protecting themselves.

gravity field

Plants are extraordinarily adaptive. They have the ability to thrive in some of the harshest environments on earth by responding to a myriad of stimuli – sun, water, temperature, soil and gravity – to sustain life. Plants are also essential to human existence, providing livelihoods, ecosystem services and carbon sequestration. Although they play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change that threaten our existence as a species, they are also vulnerable and must adapt quickly to a rapidly changing climate. gravity field demonstrates the robust adaptation of plants even under extremely difficult conditions. A floating cloud of sunflowers will transform during installation. Sunflowers are first grown upside down, but will bend as they grow towards the sun, defying gravity. gravity field is an immersive and delightful experience and a real-time experience that highlights the powerful resilience of nature. While the future is uncertain, gravity field sees optimism in the ability of plants and all organisms to adapt and thrive.

The eight hills

Designed as evolving structures, these eight hills offer various experiences to humans and non-humans (birds in particular). Simultaneously a lounge area, a micro-garden, a contemplative space and an ecological reservoir, this project will reveal the richness of an entire environment. The eight hills depicts a landscape charged with meaning that continues to evolve both in its composition and in the cycles of life it shelters.

Finite forest, infinite space?

From a certain distance finite forest, infinite space? takes on the appearance of a pile of wood that a carpenter might have left in place. Rooted in the middle of a path crossing the boreal forest, the installation obstructs the passage. Surrounded by mirrors, the space with elusive limits offers a thousand reflections. Raising our eyes to the sky, a brief glance at the tall conifers suggests a final thought: if the space we are building emanates from a world of finite resources and therefore cannot be infinite, what is the future of this cleverly sculpted?

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