The International Garden Festival Unveils the Designers Selected for its 24th Edition on the Theme ROOTS


Grand-Métis, Quebec, Canada, January 11, 2023 – The International Garden Festival is pleased to announce the projects selected for its 24th edition, titled ROOTS, which will run from June 24th to October 1st, 2023. This year, Ève De Garie-Lamanque, the event’s Artistic Director, invited designers to imagine a present and a future that is ecologically, economically and culturally responsible by drawing on the teachings of past generations. Close to 60,000 people visited the Reford Gardens in 2022.

A total of 134 projects by designers from 32 countries were submitted. The five gardens selected for the 2023 edition are:


Le jardin des quatre colonnes

Vincent Dumay and Baptiste Wullschleger, Sweden / France

With a project that is both poetic and a manifesto, we hope that the public will discover solutions for a more desirable and virtuous future. Our intent is to raise awareness of the question of the finite character of our resources. Le jardin des quatre colonnes is an experience that unfolds through time, where elements built with raw earth within a living environment will evolve freely over the years.

Adobe construction is a technique that consists in compacting soil mixed with moisture in successive layers inside a casing – it makes visible what normally lies hidden beneath our feet. The fluted boles are built using a tubular casing which gives them their specific shape evoking Doric columns.



Frédérique Allard, Jean-Jacques Yervant and Aliénor de Montalivet, Canada (Quebec)

The use of plants is at the heart of the development of our civilizations. Whether for nourishment, protection, healing or clothing, their multiple applications have allowed populations to survive and prosper.

The dyeing properties of plants are known since Antiquity, and their use as a colouring agent for plant and animal fibres represents a millennium-old know-how, exploiting the different parts of a plant (leaves, roots, flowers, fruits…). Maillage explores on a metaphorical level the relation between two worlds, that of the textile, and that of the vegetal.



Studio Haricot (Marie-Pier Caron-Desrochers + Tristan Morissette), Rose-Marie Guévin and Vincent Ouellet, Canada (Quebec)

matière-matière is the intrinsic experience of a tone-on-tone relation (texture upon texture, colour upon colour): volumes emerge like fruits from the site, as extensions of the vegetation. Three walls bend, converge and project themselves, dilating and contracting. The project is an invitation to tactilely feel one’s way through a materiality stripped bare, inside moments of uncanny encounters. This structure of hemp concrete, deposited in the context of a patch of wheat and a carpet of mulch, offers a parallel between the possible transformations of vegetal fibres up to the materialization of the proposed spaces.


Racines de mer

Cassandra Ducharme-Martin and Gabriel Demeule, Canada (Quebec)

In a climate similar to ours, on the island of Læsø in Denmark, women built, with the help of eelgrass, a marine plant, the roofs of their houses. Due to the waterproof and fireproof properties of these marine plants harvested on beaches, these roofs have resisted the ravages of time for more than three hundred years.

Racines de mer proposes a reflection on the built environment of the future. It offers the visitor the possibility of discovering Quebec’s territory and traditional skills. On the one hand the light wooden frame, left uncovered, celebrates the elegance of this method of construction, a system omnipresent in North America. On the other hand, its roof made of algae inspired by those of the island of Læsø exploits the riches of the St. Lawrence River and reveals its dormant potential.



Jinny Yu, Ki Jun Kim and Frédéric Pitre, Germany / Canada (Ontario + Quebec)

Visitors are invited to enter a submerged maze: a puzzle with various possible routes and dead ends meant to confuse and challenge those who explore. At the same time, the top of the wall of the trenches, which is at ground level, allows for the possibility of deciphering the pathway with an overall view of the route before entering. Upon entering the subterranean world, visitors reach the first level of the substratum of the root system, and walk around a network composed of earth and white clover representing the pattern of the roots of two trees linked by fungal mycelium.

The white clover, just as many settlers in Canada, came from Europe and took roots spreading across the North American continent interacting with the ecology of the native soil. S’y retrouver invites visitors to slow down and reflect both on the root system and issues of colonialism.


Special Mentions

Two projects received a special mention from the jury: Divine nature, by Bernard-Félix Chénier, Hugo Duguay, Nathaniel Proulx Joanisse, Karl Robert and Justine Valois ; and Edwidge, by Ariane Ouellet-Pelletier and Thomas O. St-Pierre.


Selection Committee

This year’s selection committee was composed of David Bonnard, Architect HMONP (ENSAL) and founder of HYTT Architecture, Lyon, France; Stéphanie Henry, Landscape Architect AAPQ-CSLA and co-founder of Castor et Pollux – Agence de paysage et design urbain, Montréal; François Côté, Senior Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada and member of the Festival’s Board of Directors; Alexander Reford, Director of the Reford Gardens / International Garden Festival; Ève De Garie-Lamanque, Artistic Director of the International Garden Festival; and François Leblanc, the Festival’s Technical Coordinator.


About the International Garden Festival

The International Garden Festival is the leading contemporary garden festival in North America. Since its inception in 2000, more than 250 gardens have been exhibited at Grand-Métis and as extra-mural projects in Canada and around the world. Presented at the Reford Gardens, at the gateway to the Gaspé Peninsula, the Festival is held on a site adjacent to the historic gardens created by Elsie Reford, thereby establishing a bridge between history and modernity, and a dialogue between conservation, tradition and innovation. Each year the Festival exhibits conceptual gardens created by more than seventy architects, landscape architects and designers from various disciplines in a pristine environment on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.


About the Reford Gardens

A National Historic Site of Canada and a Quebec heritage site, the Reford Gardens is a must-see stop for anyone visiting the Gaspé and the Lower St. Lawrence. A cultural space and tourist destination for 60 years, the Reford Gardens are an iconic landscape that offers visitors soothing and innovative experiences of connection to nature. Located at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Mitis rivers, they were designed by the adventurous horticulturist Elsie Reford from 1926 to 1958 and are listed as one of North America's most famed gardens and one of the world's top 150 great gardens. Hydro-Québec has been the lead sponsor of the Reford Gardens since 1999.