The Reford Gardens, Chambres Vertes
by / April 10, 2005

Reford Gardens history and the 1st, 2nd editions of the International Garden Festival commemorative books. Art, architecture, design and gardens have been converging at Les Jardins de Métis in Northern Quebec for six summers now. The Festival takes place on the site of the Reford Gardens, located on the banks of the Metis River, where Elsie Reford first began gardening in the early 1900's. The festival is "a unique forum for innovation and experimentation". New gardens are created each year by Quebec, Canadian and international designers.

Chambres Vertes/ Garden Rooms 1 & 2, are bilingual french and english guides to the 1st and 2nd editions of the festival held in 2000 and 2001. More booklet than book, the 64 page first edition documents installations/ gardens such as the Living Room by Bernard Saint-Denis, an open air TV room with walls made of grass, Clearings by Jill Billington, which opens with a maze of tree trunks stripped of their bark that leads to a clearing surrounded by wildflowers, the Blue Stick Garden by Claude Cormier, with blue sticks in place of flowers as well as Jennifer Luce's Transfusion. The 2nd edition is only 6.5 inches high, but its 96 pages do justice to installations such as Sentier Battu by BGL, with its two levels of garden, with bits of green tape suspended from a wire above a desolate plant world below, and In Vitro by NIP Paysage with "metal structures filled with enigmatic forest containers". Both books feature color photos throughout.

No less commemorative, The Reford Gardens was written by Elsie's great- grandson Alexander Reford, who is now the President and Director of the gardens. The book traces the history of the traditional gardens starting with the "30 years, (Elsie) enthusiastically strove to develop and expand her intimate paradise in Grand-Metis.". It also includes several images from the International Garden Festival.

Unfortunately, none of these books are easy to obtain. You can get the The Reford Gardens at (but not .com), and the Chambres Vertes/ Garden Rooms are only available through, a Quebec-based booksite, and then only the 2nd edition. It may be worth a visit to Grand-Metis this summer.

+ Reinventing The Garden at enRoute magazine


La Source. From the 2004 edition of the International Garden Festival by BGL (Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère, Nicolas Laverdière).

Camouflage View. Proposal for the 2005 edition of the International Garden Festival by Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch.

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