A garden festivus for the rest of us

You’d be forgiven if you read “International Garden Festival” and thought “Hoity Toity Ho Hum”. But the annual showcase of out-of-this-world garden designs at Reford Gardens in Grand Metis, Quebec, is simply amazingly crazy fun for kids, adults, gardeners and non-gardeners. I recently posted about seven reasons for going to this extraordinary place but didn’t mention that it’s got to be one of the best kept secrets in this part of the world. I can’t wait to go again next year. Here are some of my faves of this year’s winning entries.

Every visitor gets to vote for the grand winner. It was hard to choose just one but I finally landed on “Tiny Taxonomy”. The idea was to showcase humble plants of the forest floor. I think there was magic involved.

When I walked up to “Secret Orange”, I thought it was such a simple idea: eye-searing orange flowers wrapped in walls of wood and fabric. But I kept being drawn to it like a moth to a lightbulb.

Some of the entries looked like real honest-to-goodness sculptures but references towards gardens and the environment were always there.

Who needs flowers when you can add colour to a garden using everything from painted wood to bright red rubber hoses. The use of coloured glass included a painted glass sculpture, sparkling glass mulch and huge green panels that added a subtle note of geometry to an otherwise untouched forest vista.

Shocking, challenging and enigmatic–I was prepared for all that. Hilarious came as a welcome surprise. The stone carved to resemble a perfectly square log should’ve tipped me off. By the time I had seen the pile of inverted traffic cones used as plant containers and the chain-link corrals of pink flamingoes, clear neon sheep and fuchsia tiki torches, I was smiling ear to ear.

One of the most impressive installations wasn’t even in the International Garden Festival area. Sequinned “salmon”, shimmering in the sunlight, leap over roiling green waves–actually rows of mugo pine pruned into rounds.

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