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QUEBEC'S REFORD GARDENS (LES JARDINS DE METIS) is well known for its traditional gardens created by Elsie Reford. An enthusiastic amateur horticulturist, Reford spent 33 years (1926 to 1959) cultivating her passion on 40 acres of heavily wooded land, in Grand-Metis overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Boasting abundant borders, rich colours and thousands of Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis) heads, Reford Gardens also hosts the first truly contemporary garden festival in North America: the International Garden Festival.
The brainchild of Alexander Reford (great-grandson of Elsie Reford) and landscape expert Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec, the festival's aim is to challenge both designers and gardening enthusiasts in their ideas about their landscape; sites of varying sizes have been cleared (with a woodland backdrop) to make room for living exhibits. In 2000, its inaugural year, the festival boasted nine fascinating exhibits created by designers from Canada, the U.S. and England. All were instructed to take their inspiration from the landscape itself. The overall result was shocking and provocative, and some people "didn't get it at all," Reford says. To create further discussion and understanding, guides were on site to interpret and help make sense of the messages the gardens contained.
This year, the site boasts nine new gardens that highlight the work of landscape designers, artists and architects from France; one of the gardens from last year, entitled Not in My Backyard, makes a return appearance. The 2001 International Garden Festival runs from June 23 to September 30.
For more information about visiting Reford Gardens, contact (418) 775-2222; or Tourism Quebec at 1-800-363-7777, operator 819; or visit www.bonjour-quebec.com/gardens.
coast to coast
MAY 31 TO JUNE 3, VANCOUVER
Take your loved one to the VanDusen Botanical Garden, where you'll find Passion!--a celebration of the romance and passion of gardens. Theme display gardens, lectures, more than 250 exhibitors and some of Vancouver's top chefs. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., VanDusen Botanical Garden. (604) 878-9274.
JUNE 7, CALGARY
Malcolm McGregor, Editor of the Scottish Rock Garden Quarterly, will be speaking on Alpine Gardening, Lessons From The Wild, at the Lakeview Community Centre. Call (403) 249-3532. He will also be hosting a workshop, The Design and Construction of a Rock Garden Using Tufa, June 9. For the workshop, call Bob at (403) 932-2999.
JUNE 9 AND 10, VICTORIA
The Victoria Conservatory of Music's 19th Annual Garden …