The 16th International Garden Festival

Story By
Cita Arsita Farani

Visitors were invited to form, touch and smell the gardens and even get their feet wet in the International Garden Festival 2015. As a contemporary garden festival combining landscape and art, it has always attracted much attention from designers and visitors alike. Presented at Les Jardins de Métis, Canada, the festival was held on a site adjacent to the historic gardens created by Elsie Reford, establishing a bridge between history and modernity, and a dialogue between conservation, tradition and innovation.

This year, “Buzz” was the operative word guiding the 2015 Festival with new creations by designers from Canada, France and Israel. There were six new gardens chosen from the 309 proposals submitted from designers around the world. The installations selected by the jury possessed a special energy and connection to nature.

Among the new garden installations, “Around-About” reminded one of a Japanese Zen garden, except for the fact that visitors were invited in instead of watching from the outside. As visitors walked away from the roundabouts, their footsteps violated the orderly pattern of the gravel. Once they get back on the roundabouts and spin them, the garden returned to its ordered perfection.

 “Popple” was a distillation of the existing site through the use of colorful curtains that mimicked the magical sounds and imagery of the trembling aspen tree (Populus tremuloides). A vertical plane of multi-colored discs danced in the wind, creating a melody and visual buzz indicative of the trembling leaves of the aspen.

“I like to move it” was located in an interactive space where visitors faced a seemingly wild meadow. But the straight lines at ground level punctuated the space allowed the trees to move. Visitors can slide the trees along their tracks and create their own landscape arrangement.

Previous installations continued to catch the visitors’ attention. “Line Garden” introduced a strong graphic intervention into the cultivated natural environment of the Reford Gardens, with ever-changing views depending on your position and the change in the weather. Meanwhile “Sacré Potager” presented various wooden altars filled with candles and images of forgotten vegetables, a poetic fiction of the "sacred" side of garden and culinary heritage.

  • ” MACRO / MYCRO / MYCO” by Pete North and students (Jasper Flores, Jordan Duke, Nicholas Gosselin, Dayne Roy-Caldwell, Hanna Chung, Anna Rosen, Tamar Pister, Anita Manitius, Ameneh Kadivar, Siqi Li, Jaclyn Ryback, Yingyi Zhao)

  • “ AROUND-ABOUT” by Talmon Biran Architecture Studio (Roy Talmon, Noa Biran)

  • ” SACRÉ POTAGER” by Atelier Barda Architecture (Patrick Morand, Antonio Di Bacco, Cécile Combelle, Julien Pinard)

Photos by (Louise Tanguay, Sylvain Legris, Martin Bond)