Posts Tagged ‘Kingsey Falls Quebec’


What a rollercoaster ride this winter has been! We’ve had plenty of snow and strings of extremely cold days punctuated by record-breaking thaws. On Wednesday, January 30th, the previous Ottawa record of 5.6 degrees C was shattered when the temperature climbed to 11.6 C. Today, just over a week later, a major snowstorm has been sweeping through. The thaw had reduced our snow cover to a few inches. The photo above was taken in the morning as the storm was settling in for the day. By evening, we had a fresh mantle of snow nearly a foot deep.

It’s a taste of the winter weather extremes we can expect as climate change continues to take hold. There’s a good article on the role of climate change on winter weather linked here.


Fortunately, RailGuy and I didn’t have to travel anywhere today, and, except for periodic episodes of snowshovelling, spent a pleasant day indoors by the fire. It was an ideal day for a little winter gardening, browsing through all those delicious seed catalogues that arrived over the last month or so and imagining the return of the green world. It’s time to get seed orders placed.

One of the plants that has caught my eye when we have visited other gardens over the past few years is a flowering tobacco variety, Nicotiana sylvestris. It’s the white-flowered plant in the foreground of the border pictured below. This planting was featured at Parc Marie-Victorin in Kingsey Falls, Quebec, which I wrote about here.


Nicotianas (pronounced nih-koe-shee-AY-nah according to Fine Gardening magazine) are fragrant annuals suitable for full sun to partly shaded areas of the garden. Smaller varieties are usually available at most places that carry bedding plants in the spring, but I have never come across this larger member of the family, Nicotiana sylvestris. Consequently, I decided to try growing my own from seed this year, and have ordered a packet from Thompson & Morgan. After extensive perusal of the catalogue, I settled on Amaranthus caudatus ‘Fat Spike’ and a few other choice varieties to round out my order. I’ve dispatched my order and now I can sit back and dream of a perfect garden…without having to lift a finger. At least for now.


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My interest in mosaiculture was piqued during a trip out east last year, when I visited the New Brunswick Botanical Garden near Edmundston, NB. When I describe mosaiculture, I sometimes get the response “Oh, you mean topiary!’, but mosaiculture is a completely different art form. In mosaiculture, plants and forms are used to create three-dimensional sculptures. You can watch a little slide show featuring the mosaicultures on display at the New Brunswick garden here.


After I returned home, I did a little research about mosaiculture and found that Parc Marie-Victorin in Kingsey Falls, Quebec, features a number of sculptures. Accordingly, we planned a weekend trip to the Sherbrooke area to visit, amongst other spots, Parc Marie-Victorin. We were not disappointed! This beautiful garden was inaugurated in 1985 to commemorate the birth of Kingsey Falls’ most famous son, botanist Brother Marie-Victorin (born Joseph Louis Conrad Kirouac, April 3, 1885) who is perhaps best known for his contribution to the development of the Montreal Botanical Gardens. He also wrote Flore laurentienne,a botanical record of all southern Quebec indigenous species, the first such record to be compiled. You can learn more about Brother Marie-Victorin here. For more information about Parc Marie-Victorin, visit their website here.


One of the first mosaicultures you encounter as you enter the garden is this sizable representation of Brother Marie-Victorin himself, working in his garden. It even bears a pretty good resemblance to Brother Marie-Victorin. Many of the mosaicultures are of native fauna. Although there is plenty to see in the gardens, I’ll feature the sculptures in this post.


Situated close to Brother Marie-Victorin is this beautiful butterfly. Nearby, hanging in a tree, is a giant cocoon.


I loved these giant cactus, which form a backdrop to an attractive bedding planting.


Here are two magnificent puffins.


A frog can be seen behind this giant goose. When you approach the frog, there is an information board and you can listen to a recording of the frog’s song.


When you walk around to the rear of this snapping turtle, you see that she has just finished laying a clutch of ‘eggs’ in the sand.


This green darner dragonfly is particularly eye-catching.



Here’s a Common Snipe, a shorebird of the region.


This salamander is one of the largest sculptures.


Visitors have nothing to fear from this giant bee. A nest built with bark hangs nearby.



I’ll close with this caterpillar. Visitors can push a button to activate the caterpillar, whose mandibles move as he munches and crunches on his leaf.


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