Gardens - Featured Gardens

The constant gardener

Stephanie Whittaker
Photography by
Angus Mcritchie

A Quebec plantswoman’s tireless efforts are rewarded with a spectacular fall garden


GARDENER Liliana Perodeau
OCCUPATION garden designer
LOCATION Pierrefonds, Que.
YEARS IN HOUSE 34 years, gardening 37
LOT SIZE 960 square metres
CONDITIONS rocky, clay soil
GROWING SEASON April to November
GARDEN FOCUS year-round interest, late bloomers, foliage, rockery

For many Canadian gardeners, the autumn brings a curious paradox: upon finally getting a welcome reprieve from their horticultural labours, they’re hit with the wistful realization that it’s the end of yet another gardening season.

But that doesn’t hold true for Liliana Perodeau, whose fall garden keeps her busy when others have put their plots to bed. For her, this is the time to tend and enjoy the late bloomers she’s incorporated into her landscape.

CG-1107-Perodeau-K.jpg“I didn’t purposely create an autumn garden. It happened that way because I like asters, chrysanthemums and monkshood, and changes throughout the year,” says Liliana, a garden designer and artist in Pierrefonds, Quebec.

Her garden, which covers most of the 960-square-metre lot in this suburban community in western Montreal, has evolved to offer interest in all four seasons. There is little of the ubiquitous lawn around Liliana’s 1960s vintage home; most of it has been replaced by a tapestry of trees, shrubs and perennial borders.

CG-1107-Perodeau-D.jpgWhen Liliana moved into the house in 1973, with her then husband and their two young sons, Philip and David, there was not much in the way of a garden, just “a few dogwoods and cedars and a peony,” she says.

There was also an aggressive hedge of Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) encircling the backyard. “We fought with it because it grew faster than we could cut it,” says Liliana. “We replaced it in 1985 with a cedar hedge.” That hedge is so dense and tall now that it provides a natural enclosure for the yard.

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