The International Garden Festival from Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens returns to Canada Blooms in Toronto from March 14 to March 23 with a feature garden, Sacré Potager by atelier Barda.
Sacré Potager (literally, the sacred vegetable garden) evokes the sacred nature of plants and their special place in our world. For millennia, humans have raised monuments to worship the sacred. Over time, the notion of what is sacred has evolved. So too has our environment.
This garden displays a series of elegant and simple wooden altars. Each of the 18 small chapel-like structures are dedicated to a single forgotten vegetable. They evoke the roadside crosses that once dotted the Québec countryside. They also illustrate how many of us have turned to worship the environment in our own way. Votive candles decorate each chapel, each one representing a forgotten vegetable. They are at once an invitation to the visitor to explore the garden and to make an offering to return these vegetables to our gardens and pantry. Each candle illuminates a hand-drawn illustration and a text that describes the history of each plant and allows the viewer to explore their rich heritage.
Genetic engineering, multinational seed companies and the search for vegetables that are easily transported and not easily bruised has led to hybrids that are strong in colour, but often weak in taste and nutrients. Within and beneath each altar you discover rare vegetables – made rare by modern agriculture. Each of the varieties was chosen in collaboration with Seeds of Diversity, an NGO that collects and distributes heritage seeds in order to protect our genetic heritage.
This garden gives us a chance to explore our horticultural heritage and worship the plants and the biodiversity they represent. By drawing on the vegetable garden and evoking the world’s declining biodiversity, the installation is at once a place of enchantment and an opportunity to awaken the conscience of the viewer. The garden seeks to raise awareness and promote biodiversity. It is also an invitation for gardeners to return these heritage varieties to our gardens and grocery shelves.
About the Designers – atelier Barda
Working between Montréal and Paris, atelier Barda is engaged in questions surrounding the contemporary transformation of landscapes and seeks responses that work at a human scale for different places and users. Founded by architects Cécile Combelle, Antonio Di Bacco, Patrick Morand and designer / graphic designer Julien Pinard, atelier Barda advocates a playful approach when developing solutions that are above all simple and poetic. atelier Barda has since its creation developed different projects and competition entries from installations to urban spaces, for which the group has been awarded several prizes both in Québec and internationally. Sacré Potager was exhibited at the 2013 edition of the International Garden Festival after being chosen following an international competition. It will be on view at the Festival again this summer.
About Canada Blooms
Canada Blooms is Canada’s largest flower and garden festival. It attracted more than 200,000 visitors last yeaer. It is being held in conjunction with the National Home Show at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place in Toronto from Friday, March 14 to Sunday, March 23. The International Garden Festival has been present at Canada Blooms for more than a decade. This year, a team from Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens will be on hand in the feature garden and in Canada’s Garden Route booth to meet visitors and answer questions.
About the International Garden Festival
The International Garden Festival is the leading venue for the exhibition of contemporary gardens in North America. Since 2000, the Festival has presented 140 gardens by more than 750 designers from Canada and 15 other countries. The 15th edition of the Festival will be held at Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens from June 28 to September 28, 2014.
About the Reford Gardens / Jardins de Métis
Reford Gardens / Jardins de Métis are located on the shores of the St. Lawrence and Mitis rivers at the gateway to the Gaspé Peninsula. A national historic site, the Reford Gardens are ranked as one of the great gardens of North America. Created by Elsie Reford over a period of 30 years, they are a living testimony to her passion for gardening and plants. The Gardens host a range of events and activities throughout the summer and are open every day from May 31 to September 28, 2014. Children 13 and under are admitted free of charge.
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