Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quebec's Secret Garden

Poster from VertigeThe Musee de Civilisation in the lower town of Quebec City is an almost-brand-new building. When it was built, its designers included a space for an inclined garden in the center of the building's roof.

It's a beautiful example of urban architecture, integrating with nature.

Entry sign of the Vertige garden
This summer's installation is called Growing High on the Rooftops of the Museum (Vertiges sur les Toits du Musee), and it brings together architecture, design, poetry, sculpture, sound, and almost 150 varieties of multicolored plants (about a third of which are edibles).

The plants are greatly varied, and themed by colors in gardens with names like Wild (reds), Eternal (yellows), Secret (greens), Frost (whites and silvers), Nourishing (mostly edibles), and Inner (pink).

Yellow and green flowers and leaves in planters with curving pipes above
The central stairway is flanked by raised beds and sculptural piping (the Eternal Garden). As you walk up, you hear voices (all in French, so I can't say much about that).

The word Secret in metal attached to the wall of the museum
Large words on the walls connect with the differently themed sections.

A green sculptural figure covered with plants
A mysterious figure swathed in nasturtiums within the Secret Garden.

A colorful male statue with the multicolored word Nourrir on the wall behind him
Much of the garden is made up of edibles, and a local nonprofit is picking the fruits, vegetables and herbs to cook and serve to people who are food insecure. I love this statue. He's joyously distributing frogs to the garden.

State of three human figures
This statue in the Nourishing Garden has both a front...

Their backs covered in a cloak, looking like cultivated fields
...and a quilt of fields as a cloak in back.

Large graffiti-like painting of a serpent in orange, over a small concrete planter with brown grasses visible
This is the Deserted Garden, beyond all the other gardens, alone at the bottom of its own stairway. It's filled with sand, and grows brown sedges -- grasses that look like they're possibly dead, but aren't.

Pink and white hibiscus blooms
This beautiful hibiscus is part of the Inner garden.

Corrugated green cabbage head
A savoy cabbage in the Morning garden.

Blue-purple petunias with a silver and green leafed plant growing through them
I wish I knew what this variegated silver-green leaf is. The combination with the blue/purple petunias if very striking.

It's a lot of beauty -- and it's free. Quite a find!

1 comment:

elena said...

Absolutely wonderful tour, DN3. I'm so thrilled to be following you and your sisters through Quebec...thanks!