Quebec’s International Garden Festival

Quebec’s International Garden Festival

August 27, 2012
Photo by: Louise Tanguay

Design duo Leire Asensio-Villoria and David Syn Chee Mah worked with students at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design to create this undulating take on a garden wall.

Though the old adage “look, but don’t touch” may hold true for more formal garden settings, you can throw it out the window during Quebec’s quirky International Garden Festival. This year marks the 13th edition of the event, held through Sept. 30 on the grounds of Jardins de Metis (aka Reford Gardens). This year’s 26 featured gardens (chosen from some 158 projects submitted) are intentionally interactive. Visitors can climb rope ladders; walk through a field of wind-whipped grasses (blown by high-powered fans); explore a sky-reaching, tubular fortress; or sit on a twisting wall of moss-filled honeycomb panels (pictured above). A few gardens will also return from last year. “The combination of new and old offers a dialogue between maturity and temporality,” explains director Alex Reford. “With the returning gardens of Ken Smith, Diana Balmori, and Michael Van Valkenburgh and those by designers from other parts of the world, the festival offers an extraordinary range of installations that illustrate the many approaches to landscape and garden design.”

Though the organizers regularly curate extra-mural exhibits throughout Canada, this year they also presented an installation in London at the new Chelsea Fringe festival. Floating Forest, created by Montreal designers NIPpaysage, featured a grid of 1,000 floating tree trunk slices in the Grand Union Canal. “The effect,” says Reford, “is one that illustrates the unique ability of landscape architects to reimagine public spaces and to make them come to life.”

This article was first published in Garden Design July/August 2012