Gardens - Featured Gardens

Beds and boarders

A Quebec motel owner's garden is in keeping with her welcoming nature

The property boasts a broad selection of trees-spruces, maples and oaks-many of which Madeleine has planted throughout the years with the help of her children, Roxane, 29, Michaël, 27, Evelyne, 23, and Marie-Eve, 21. And each time a grandchild is born, she plants a tree in the child's honour. The arrival of 10-month-old Maéva was celebrated with a sugar maple (Acer saccharum), while a maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba) was planted for Jayson, 2. There's a horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) for Vincent, 2, and a black walnut (Juglans nigra) for Antoine, 4.

Various trees on the property were severely damaged or lost during the ice storm that ravaged Quebec in 1998. “There were branches everywhere,” Madeleine says. But many remain, creating dense or dappled shade, so she's underplanted them with shade-tolerant perennials.

On the southwest side, a long border that's home to obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), Jupiter's beard (Centranthus ruber), various bee balms (Monarda spp.) in red, pink, lavender and white, bladder campion (Silene vulgaris), yellow loosestrife (Lysimachia) and scabious (Scabiosa caucasica) hugs the wooden fence dividing the two properties. There's also a collection of hibiscus that spends the winter in the house. Because most of them were gifts, Madeleine has not been able to identify the cultivars. She says her next project will be to determine the names of all the plants she owns and tag them. “I really don't know what cultivars I have unless they still have the tags they came with,” she says.

Past the border and into the backyard, a pond immediately grabs your attention. The couple built the centrally located water feature to attract wildlife from the Delorme River after Madeleine became concerned that the river was getting polluted.

In addition to such aquatic perennials as papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) and water lilies, the pond-side border plays host to black snakeroot (Cimicifuga racemosa), white fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium forma alba), Siberian irises, Canadian burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis), Jacob's ladder and lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis). A swath of daylilies includes such varieties as ‘Hyperion', ‘Thumbelina' and ‘Catherine Woodbury'.

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