April 6, 2009

For immediate distribution


The International Garden Festival Launches its 10th Anniversary Program

For immediate release

April 7, 2009 – Grand-Métis (Québec) Canada. The International Garden Festival at Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens is celebrating its first 10 years with an ambitious program of colourful gardens by leading international designers and a series of festive events presented from March through October in Toronto, Montréal and Grand-Métis.

Ranked among the leading garden festivals in the world, the International Garden Festival at Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens presents temporary gardens at the cutting edge of garden design, landscape, architecture, design and environmental art. Launched in 2000, the International Garden Festival has presented over 80 gardens by more than 200 designers from fifteen countries and has attracted more than 800,000 visitors. It is an exceptional showcase and launching pad for the participating designers from a host of disciplines. This artistic and tourism event also gives visitors a chance to discover inspiring gardens by some of the best designers working in the landscape.

A 10th Edition with More Gardens and More Festivities

Suspended gardens, a pyramid made of hay, subterranean gardens in a kaleidoscope of colours, a semi-transparent green cube and thousands of blue sticks are part of the festive gardens chosen for the 10th edition of the International Garden Festival. Last December, an international jury selected new teams to create 6 of the 18 gardens presented for this year’s 10th anniversary edition. More than 125 proposals were received from artists, architects, designers and landscape architects from 17 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Poland, United States, United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland.

Six New Poetic and Festive Gardens Selected for this Year’s Line-up

The six teams of landscape architects, architects, designers and artists chosen by the jury to create gardens in 2009 are:

Jane Hutton & Adrian Blackwell (Toronto, Canada)
Dymaxion Sleepis a topographic structure of nets that suspends visitors above a garden of aromatic mints. The intimate and solitary experience of sleeping in the garden is brought to carnival-like proportions as a festival of naps. Plants are distributed in regions defined by pungency; orientation is gained by smell rather than sight. The garden reconfigures the relations between visitors, creating a common horizontal surface on which to relax and interact: curled up, stretched out, uncomfortably close, wrapped up as lovers or piled upon friends. The jury thought this topographic structure that suspended visitors above a garden of aromatic plants was a very nice combination of planting and structure.

Deborah Nagan (London, United Kingdom)
Every garden needs a shed and a lawn! is a new way of looking at the traditional backyard garden. Composed of 10 sheds embedded in surrounding lawns, their number celebrating the 10 editions of the Festival, each shed proposes the 10 elements every garden needs. Showing a very British sense of humour, this garden will awake the senses that linger deep inside us, and ask the question: “What makes a garden? ”The jury recognized the fact that this garden evokes simply and effectively how gardens are a reflection of a nation’s culture, and liked the exploration aspect that will bring a diversity of experiences to the visitors.

Suresh Perera (Montréal, Canada)
forest.SQUARE.sky. Suspended within a clearing in the forest, a large cube of green scaffolding mesh defines the garden. Passing under its walls, one is enveloped by the screen that contains muted memories of the forest beyond. The semi-transparency of the green walls dissolves their definition and reaches into our imagination. The cube frames the sky reflected in the pond, allowing us to experience a stillness that offers opportunities for contemplation. In everyday life, we are narrowly focused on the particularity of things, here we lose the focus and relax to enter a broader, more contemplative sphere of thought.The jury found this garden very poetic and very pure - it works and speaks for itself.

spmb [Eduardo Aquino and Karen Shanski], Ralf Glor, Matt Baker (Winnipeg, Canada) & Martin Gagnon (Montréal, Canada)
HAHA!The “haha” appeared in the English landscape in the 18th century and designated a sunken fence or type of boundary in a garden that did not interrupt a view and was invisible until closely approached – hence haha – the response generated when people happened upon this hidden barrier. In Métis, the HAHA! garden will be an expressive geometric and coloured underground garden, designed for people to celebrate in an unlimited way! More than just the promotion of iconic image of the celebration, HAHA! emphasizes the direct experience of the Festival and becomes a wonderful meeting place, a space of exchange and enrichment. It all begins with the sloping section of the garden, which invites the visitor to celebrate, rather than contemplate. This summer, HAHA! will be synonymous of picnic, relaxing, kissing, smiling: a colourful place for community or intimate encounters. The jury loved the colour, geometry and positive energy that emerge from this garden.

Mateo Pinto, Carolina Cisneros & Victoria Marshall (New York, United States)
Seedling creates two dynamic spaces in the Boreal Forest. The first is the space created by wandering in an evergreen forest over its spongy carpet of needles. The second is the space of the seedling as it emerges through the needle carpet, shedding its seed case while reaching for the sun. Removing their shoes upon entering, the visitor steps onto a mat of upturned brooms that tickle the toes. They will then explore the field of lime green plastic cones that come to life through their fresh hose sprouts. Some sprouts are still somewhat closed and others have opened fully. When combined, they create a canopy under which the visitor is reduced to the scale of an ant. The jury found this garden very interesting in the way it aims to cultivate the garden experience. It is a design which asks the visitor to feel before they think and through its design and language also evokes the garden that is the surrounding forest.

Craig Verzone, Cristina Woods & Dragos Ivanet (Rougemont, Switzerland)
Hayground is a garden made of rectangular hay bales placed one on top of another like children’s building blocks of Lincoln Logs. At the start of the Festival, the garden will look like a Mesopo­tamian Temple. The volume of the “bale building” will then mutate day after day into hills, val­leys and plains, allowing people to gravitate towards the edges, climb the steps, look out from above, jump into the garden or rest in the shade below. Hayground frames inter­action as a morphing lounge and incites new notions and formal languages of rural urbanity. On the very last day the space stands both free of tied bales and full of accumulated straw and biomass, completing the movement from monument back to the earth. The jury was charmed by this garden and found it simple, playful and very deeply anchored in the surrounding culture (agriculture and horticulture) and inviting visitors to rekindle the joys of childhood play.

An International Jury Impressed by the Quality and the Range of Designs

The jury for the 2009 edition was headed by Monika Gora, landscape architect and artist based in Sweden and composed by Scott Burnham, creative strategist, lecturer and curator specializing in design innovation and based in London, England; Claude Cormier, landscape architect and urban designer based in Montréal; Rachel Gotlieb, design historian, author and journalist based in Toronto; Alexander Reford, director of Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens & founder of the Festival; and Emmanuelle Vieira, artistic director of the International Garden Festival and design author based in Montréal. All jury members recognized the excellent quality of the proposals and their appreciation to all those who submitted proposals for the 2009 Festival; their participation confirms the special role played by the International Garden Festival and its unique contribution to the renewal of the art of the Garden.

The Garden as a Place for Active Exploration

Monika Gora, president of the jury said: “It was an exciting task to select among that many interesting and challenging ideas. The chosen proposals forward the position of garden as expression of art; garden as the place for interaction of history and future, culture and nature, active exploration, visual perception and contemplation”.

Claude Cormier, another jury member followed by saying: “It was inspiring to see such a vast array of talent and fresh perspectives on garden design. There was no shortage of innovative approaches to the art form, from designs that radically re-thought the definition of a public garden to those that held to beauty and simplicity in new forms”.

Scott Burnham, also jury member, added: “What emerged from the entries was a core group of designers that showed great appreciation for not only the potential of the aesthetics of gardens, but also paid great attention to creating unique moments in the lives of those who will experience the gardens in person. For me, those were the ones that rose above the rest, and I feel are well represented by the winners”.

And Rachel Gotlieb, ended with: "Though there were a lot of strong applications the proposals that balanced innovation, simplicity and celebration (this year's theme) won out".

Revisited Eleven Gardens from Past Editions 

Eleven Gardens presented in 2008 will be revisited and reinvigorated for the 10th anniversary edition. The design teams are: Angela Iarocci, Claire Ironside and David Ross (Montréal and Toronto); Atelier le balto (France & Germany); Stoss Landscape Urbanism (United States); Hal Ingberg (Montréal); Cédule 40 (Julien Boily, Sonia Boudreau, Étienne Boulanger and Noémie Payant-Hébert) from Chicoutimi; Doug Moffat and Steve Bates (Montréal); NIPpaysage (Mathieu Casavant, France Cormier, Josée Labelle, Michel Langevin and Mélanie Mignault) from Montréal; Andrea Legge, Deborah Lewis and Murray Legge (New York City and Austin, Texas, United States); Rita (Karine Corbeil and Stéphane Halmaï-Voisard) from Montréal; A4 (Claudia Delisle, Karine Dieujuste, Philippe Nolet and Sami Tannoury) from Montréal and Italian designers, Francesca Moretti, Federico Brancalion, Rodolfo Roncella and Mirando Di Prinzio.

The Iconic Blue Stick Garden by Claude Cormier to Become a Permanent Installation

Ten years after its first presentation as part of the inaugural edition of the Festival in 2000, the iconic Blue Stick Garden by Montréal designers Claude Cormier Architectes Paysagistes returns as a permanent installation. Widely published around the world after its initial presentation, the Blue Stick Garden was also presented at Canada Blooms in Toronto (2002), Hestercombe Gardens in England (2004) and Flora International Montréal (2006). Its return demonstrates how the Festival and its gardens can both evolve and travel – and be replanted for another edition – a fitting symbol of the success of the first decade of the Festival and an invitation to continue the creative process for the next ten years.

Our partners

The International Garden Festival is presented with the financial assistance of many public and private partners. The partners for the 2009 edition of the Festival are: Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, Economic Development Canada, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Emploi-Québec, Tourisme Québec and the Landscape Architecture Canada Foundation. Hydro-Québec is a major partner of Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens and its environmental initiatives since 1999 and is presenting the garden, Le bon arbre au bon endroit. Sponsors include SITQ, Métro INC. and Premier Horticulture. The International Garden Festival is a registered charity and benefits from the support of many donors.

The International Garden Festival will open on June 27th and will run until October 4th 2009.

To obtain additional information on past editions of the Festival, consult our new web site, http://www.refordgardens.com/ or Hybrids Reshaping the Contemporary Garden in Métis, edited Lesley Johnstone, hailed by theNew York Times as a book to have “if you have a passion for the idea of the garden” (New York Times, December 7, 2008).

                                                                                   - 30 -

High-resolution photographs are available on request


Events, Communication & PR
T: +1 (514) 845-4884 


Emmanuelle Vieira
Artistic Director, International Garden Festival
T: +1 (514) 274-2421

Alexander Reford, Director
Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens
International Garden Festival
T: +1 (418) 775-2222, ext. 222 



[ To unsubscribe click here ]