Are you familiar with the red currant tomato, the Montreal melon or the Bonne Sainte-Anne plum? Well, from May 24 to 26, as part of the Great Gardening Weekend at the Jardin botanique, Espace pour la vie will be inviting gardening enthusiasts to come and discover some unusual varieties of what are known as heirloom or heritage plants. There’ll be presentations by horticultural professionals, and environmental workshops for children, as well as the renewed enjoyment of talking to the 65 or so exhibitors and producers on site. And that’s not all! On Friday, May 24, admission to the Great Gardening Weekend and the Jardin botanique will be free. Last year, close to 30,000 people took advantage of the free admission. An absolute record!
Heirloom plants come to the rescue of biodiversity
The focus of this 22nd Great Gardening Weekend has a lot in common with Espace pour la vie’s 2019 theme: “Trace the History of Evolution.” These heirloom plants, now threatened with extinction by our planet’s major food crops, are the outcome of long, patient selection. The revival of interest in growing them is to be welcomed, as they are essential to the preservation of biodiversity and the genetic diversity of our food sources. What’s more, they have already adapted to Quebec’s climate, their seeds are reproducible and their production is environmentally friendly. What more could we ask for!
An outing for the whole family
All kinds of family activities are planned for the weekend. For example, to mark the beginning of sheep season at the Jardin botanique, a flock will beherded on the site (Friday, May 24, from 10:15 a.m.). An apothecary and a horticulturist from the Village québécois d’antan historical site will be on hand to explain the various methods used long ago to grow heirloom plants. The Dixieband will make its way through the crowd playing traditional New Orleans jazz, and discussion workshops on the environment will be held for children ages 7 to 12 (May 25).
To encourage visitors to experiment with growing heirloom trees like oak, hickory, pine and maple, the Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion will be handing out limited quantities of seedlings of native trees from the Quebec Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs.
Seven talks you won’t want to miss!
You can benefit from the expertise of horticultural specialists by attending any or all of seven fascinating talks. The topics are given below.
FRIDAY, MAY 24
11 a.m. – Intolérant au gluten? : Le futur de la consommation du pain réside dans le passé / Daniel Des Rosiers
A former financial advisor, Daniel Des Rosiers started his own bakery, the Boulangerie Des Rosiers, in 2017. It sells bread made from locally grown ancient grains.
1:30 p.m. – La production domestique de semences / Lyne Bellemare
Lyne Bellemare has been coordinator of the French-speaking section of Seeds of Diversity Canada since 2009 and is the founder of the company Terre Promise.
3 p.m. – Le nouveau potager, le jardin comestible pour tous les espaces / Albert Mondor
Horticulturalist and biologist Albert Mondor has authored a number of books on urban farming. A columnist with the Journal de Montréal, he makes regular appearances on various radio and TV shows.
SATURDAY, MAY 25
11 a.m. – Les coups de cœur d’Yves Gagnon au jardin! / Yves Gagnon
Keen gardener and author Yves Gagnon has over 30 years’ experience in research and experimentation in ecological gardening.
1:30 p.m. - Les associations de légumes : mensonges ou vérités? / Bertrand Dumont
Horticulturalist, author and public speaker Bertrand Dumont has spent over 40 years sharing what he has learned about companion planting in his garden on Montréal’s South Shore. He has written 38 books.
3 p.m. – Des poules chez soi? Pourquoi pas! / Martin Boisvert
Martin Boisvert is the founder of Néo-Terra, a company that helps people in all situations put into practice the design principles of permaculture, especially using chickens.
SUNDAY, MAY 26
1:30 p.m. - Faire un potager autrement / Patrice Fortier
A gardener and seed specialist by trade, Patrice Fortier is the cofounder of La Société des plantes, a company that produces and sells rare, heirloom and little-known seeds.
PARKING INFOVisitors are urged to take public transit (Pie IX metro station is just a five-minute walk from the site) or to carpool to get to the Great Gardening Weekend.
If you come by car, you can use Jardin botanique parking lot P1 (4101 Sherbrooke Street East) or Stade olympique parking lot P4 (4200 Sherbrooke Street East).
A plant pickup area will be organized for people who need their car to collect their purchases.
Environmentally responsible gardening
The Great Gardening Weekend is an ideal opportunity to take another step toward environmentally responsible gardening. Find out more on site about the My Garden program and learn how to promote biodiversity in your garden.
Great Gardening Weekend Info
Tickets and times : espacepourlavie.ca/en
List of exhibitors: espacepourlavie.ca/en/programming/great-gardening-weekend
If you plan on buying anything, please bring your own reusable bags with you!
IMPORTANT – On Sunday, May 26, the Jardin botanique will NOT be taking part in Montréal Museums Day.
TRACE THE HISTORY OF EVOLUTION
In 2019, Espace pour la vie will be exploring nature and biodiversity through the lens of evolution. How have phenomena taking place over thousands of years resulted in the fascinating history of life on our planet? A complex, exciting story to investigate and discover!
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Espace pour la vie is made up of four attractions on the same site: the Biodôme, Insectarium, Jardin botanique and Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. These four prestigious municipal institutions form Canada’s largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement, encouraging all of us to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.