He started modestly with a small border in front of the house. "That was a learning year," he says. "The following year, I changed everything. For the first three or four years, I was learning what worked and what didn't. I started with perennials that were easy to grow from seed: shasta daisies, blanket flowers [Gaillardia spp.], pinks [Dianthus spp.] and bellflowers [Campanula carpatica]. Each year, I added more to the garden."
Size: 50 x 100 metres
Conditions: amended swampy and rocky areas, sunny
Growing season: mid-May to mid-October
Garden focus: part traditional English, part country
Learning from mistakes
Réjean admits he's made mistakes. "When I started the garden, I paired plants that were the wrong colours and the wrong heights or that had a short flowering period. For instance, the daisies and blanket flowers were too tall for the front of the border. But everyone does that at first."
The property now boasts 10 borders, a vegetable garden, an orchard, 60 varieties of shrubs and 20 varieties of trees, many of which are borderline hardy. Hardscaping, which unifies the various garden areas, includes a gazebo, a pergola and old cedar fencing.
Frustrated by a paucity of variety in local garden centres, Réjean spends the winter choosing plants for the following season. He seeds about 70 per cent of his plant material, including many of his shrubs and trees. "I order seeds from Ontario, the U.S. and England," he says. Some trees were shipped as saplings from mail-order services.