The Québec maritime Blog
Without question, autumn ranks among my favourite seasons. The air is fresh and crisp, and the sweet sunlight warms us up without beating us down. It’s a great time for me to enjoy nice days outside. Autumn also means harvests and colourful foliage, with leaves turning ochre, crimson and orange. So you can imagine that, when I was given the opportunity to discover the Reford Gardens on these last days of September, I accepted the invitation without hesitation.
Contrary to what one would think, the Reford Gardens are still radiant in September. Even if the flowering time is over for some flowers, several others are nicer than ever. Moreover, a visit of the Gardens goes well beyond the simple observation of numerous plants; it’s a full experience appealing to all the senses.
Sight: Autumn light
Autumn light is particularly interesting, especially for photography. Diffuse, sweet and warm, when shining through branches, it gives the impression that the flowers are staged under the spotlights. This creates the perfect combination to play with light and shadows, adding depth to the pictures. A great time to take wonderful photos!
Hearing: Singing birds
Beautiful gardens...even in the fall
© Le Québec maritime
My visit coincided with the time of the year when migrating Canadian geese pass through the area. On many occasions, I could see hundreds of them flying over the gardens in V formations. At the bird garden, the singing of the black-capped chickadee catches my attention towards the feeding dish where several birds – and some squirrels – were competing for food. It was fascinating to watch this show of nature! Old and young alike will be filled with wonder by this section of the Gardens.
Smell: The perfumes of flowers and herbs
I have a confession to make: upon my arrival at the Reford Gardens, I branched off from the usual path to go directly to the vegetable garden of Elsie Reford, recreated for the 50th anniversary of the Gardens. Boasting flowers, vegetables and fines herbs, it’s an amazing display of perfumes and colours.
Jardins de Métis © Le Québec maritime
Everywhere in the Reford Gardens, the scents of flowers and shrubs fill the air. Have you ever heard about olfactory memory? When an odour reminds you of something, someone, or a specific occasion? I’ve experienced it in the primrose garden where a sweet perfume brought me deep into my memories (I’m still searching by the way). I think the culprit was the fragrance of the flowering tobacco, but I’m not 100% sure.
Taste: The unusual flavours of the Gardens’ horticultural products
If you visit the Reford Gardens, make sure to have lunch at the Estevan Lodge. Chef Pierre-Olivier Ferry offers a menu inspired by regional products and horticultural products from the Gardens. Some are actually up for sale at the gift shop so that you can share your culinary discoveries with your loved ones! We have collected for you some recipes based on these products; you can find them here.
Touch: The creations of the International Garden Festival
International Garden Festival © Le Québec maritime
Even if the temptation is great, I recommend you not to touch the flowers of the Gardens. They can be so fragile… On the other hand, I invite you to have a look at the International Garden Festival where you can handle, experience and marvel at the exhibits. Every year, artists are invited to reinvent the gardens with their impressive creations. It’s a unique opportunity to see the amazing integration of artistic works with horticulture.
The Reford Gardens are open to the public from early June to late September. Whether you come around in the spring, summer or autumn, the Reford Gardens will make you discover their own seasonal “secrets”. I have been charmed by my autumnal visit and I hope you will be too. Enjoy your visit!
For more details:
200, route 132
Grand-Métis (Québec) Canada
Téléphone : 418 775-2222