On the weekend just past, we enjoyed a mini-vacation, a trip out to the Sherbrooke region of the Eastern Townships in the province of Quebec. Our itinerary was planned around visits to several gardens I have been wanting to explore. Our first garden stop was at the Daniel A. Séguin garden in Saint-Hyacinthe. The garden was initially the vision of two professors of horticulture, Daniel Séguin and Wilfrid Meloche, who recognised a need for a teaching garden for students. Work on the garden began in 1977 and plans were expanded in subsequent years. The garden was opened to the public in 1995, and now inspires visitors and gardeners, as well as students.
Covering 4.5 hectares or about 10 acres, the grounds display about 20 thematic gardens. We began our visit with the Demonstration Garden, where an assortment of new hybrids are being tested in plant trials. Visitors are invited to participate in choosing plants that will be included in next year’s displays by marking their favorites. Each visitor can take four bright flags and place them in front of the plants they like best. It’s fun for visitors and sure makes the favorites easy to spot.
Our route took us through the Medieval garden and past a beautiful naturalized pond.
Water plays an important role in many of the gardens. Here, a central channel forms the main axis of the formal garden that highlights ornamental grasses.
In the Japanese garden, the view from the tea house is beautifully framed by the circular doorway.
This doorway with a mirror surface surprises you as you approach the door and find yourself looking back through the door.
This planting of an old car adds a touch of whimsy. Now I know what to do when our next car dies.
One of our favorite areas was the Potager garden. A potager or kitchen garden combines decorative plants, herbs and vegetables in creative ways to make an attractive and useful garden. Carefully designed, the garden was very appealing to the eye, with bright flowers combining with the dark leaves of herbs, rambling vines of squash and many other plants. It was also a treat for the nose, with the scent of mints and other herbs perfuming the air.
Garden tourism is a growing industry. Visiting public gardens is a very relaxing and restorative experience. For the gardener, there are always new plants to discover and new ideas to explore. If you happen to be travelling in the Saint-Hyacinthe area, Le Jardin Daniel A. Séguin is well worth a visit. For more information, you can visit their website here.