Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Annuals

Gardens of Quebec (page 2 of 3)

by Alain Charest


Another is its cool maritime microclimate. The long summer days keep perennials in bloom for weeks on end and provide the required conditions for some rarities that cannot survive hot, stifling summers. The garden is justifiably proud of its blue Himalayan poppies (Meconopsis betonicifolia), which grow to perfection in the dappled shade of old crabapple trees. In most cases, gardeners who can grow Himalayan poppies are very proud to show you one or two cosseted specimens. Here, they spring out by the dozens, some in flower beds but others in unexpected corners, behaving very much like the more common poppies that self-seed profusely in our warmer gardens. Other Meconopsis species grown by Elsie Reford are being reintroduced, including M. grandis.

The garden ends on a large terrace where the spruce belt opens just enough to frame a magnificent view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The rambling old summer home built here now contains a craft shop, and a restaurant in the old dining room. The dining room faces a lawn where we had a leisurely tea, admiring drifts of lupine, a plant very much of Elsie Reford's era, that looked about 1/2 mile wide and many feet deep.

Jardins de Metis: 200 Route 132, Grand-Metis G0J 1Z0; (418) 775-2221. Ticket booth is open 8:30am to 5pm daily in June and from September 1 through October 15; to 6:30pm in July and August. Gates close at 8pm. Admission: $8 adults, $7 seniors, $6 students, $3 ages 5 through 13, $20 per family. Admission to the International Garden Festival costs an extra $4; check ahead for timing.

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