Gardens - Featured Gardens

Beds and boarders

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

Between the pond and river is another bed that reminds the Lussiers of a trip they took to Thailand and Bali four years ago. It encircles a topless black willow. (The couple beheaded it; a hole in the trunk about 2.5 metres off the ground indicated that the tree was not healthy.) Madeleine placed a 60-centimetre-tall statue of Buddha in the hole and a pagoda, which she found in Bali, on the ground. The tree is surrounded by ligularia, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola', a blue Tradescantia and a rose of Sharon. “I usually cover the rose of Sharon for the winter but I forgot last year and it survived anyway,” she says.

Madeleine planted a single fuki (Petasites japonicus) seven years ago under two trees between the Bali garden and the house. It ramped into the surrounding lawn and now forms a border of its own, measuring four by 12 metres. Occasionally, Noël whacks its edges with the lawn mower to bring it under control. Another plant known for its aggressively wandering ways, gooseneck loosestrife (L. clethroides), is kept in check because it's planted in the shade of a Japanese lilac.

Toward the house is a border that looks as if it would be more at home in the American Southwest than Quebec. Here, Madeleine grows a collection of tender cacti that overwinters indoors, along with several opuntias and crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii). A bull's skull in the centre of the bed completes the southwestern motif.

Around the side of the house, toward the driveway, is a multi-level water garden that welcomes visitors with a little waterfall. Colours in this garden include the deep burgundy of a 'Diabolo' ninebark, yellow tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora) and 'Husker Red' penstemon (Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red').

If the garden appears to beckon to passersby, inviting them to slow down for a while, it's hardly surprising. Madeleine's open nature as an innkeeper has clearly been transplanted to her garden.

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