The planification of the Reception Garden at the Jardin botanique

Brother Marie-Victorin said that the Reception Gardens were the showcase of the Jardin botanique. Our goal is to dazzle visitors, to surprise them… and to catch their eye.
My name is Lynda Ayotte and I’m in charge of the Reception Gardens at The Jardin botanique. My job is to choose all the annual plants that will be used in the flowerbeds that extend in front and on each side of the administration building.
Annuals are plants that complete their life cycle in one year. These plants are grown and cultivated right here.
Being a horticulturist requires a lot of creativity. Every year, we come up with new layouts and add new plants. We change things up quite a bit. Some years, I get my inspiration from pictures I find in books or from places I would like to visit or from plant arrangements I like and I want to recreate.
The garden’s first layout was designed in 1936. It was the first garden to be completed at The Jardin botanique.

Once the planning is done, I calculate the number of plants I will need. Then, when the seeds arrive, I organize them according to seedling week, as not all seeds need to be sowed in January.
Depending on their growth, I will have to follow a specific calendar.

We grow roughly 65,000 annual plants. In the fall, I start planning my layout and I start ordering the plants I will need. I include plants I will use in our other gardens as well. Other horticulturists here work with annuals too. Obviously, I don’t work alone. Mireille Dubuc, who is in charge of the Garden of Innovations, spends the whole winter with me.
Together, we oversee the entire growing process. Mireille uses a lot of annuals in her garden.

And in late May, we start planting. And we really hope Mother Nature will cooperate. One year in particular stands out for me.
This is a favourite picture of mine.
When I realized these were annual plants, I thought, “That’s my theme, I’ll start from there.” I wanted to create something that would resemble a really bright and colourful bouquet. I used a lot of annuals. And here you can see the result. Sometimes you have something in mind, but the outcome is not what you expect.
But that year, I was really proud of my work.

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