• John Jantak

Horticultural surprises abound in Vaudreuil-Dorion


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

This bird standing sentry in the Champs de Rêves in Vaudreuil-Dorion is one of the many horticultural sculptures currently on display.

Off-island residents can delight in the horticultural wonders on display at the Champs de Rêves plant nursery and botanical garden in Vaudreuil-Dorion, immediately adjacent to neighbouring St. Lazare, and perhaps use some of the amazing plant sculptures as inspiration to stoke their own budding creativity when gardening.

For owner Mark Rassi, the addition of the botanical garden three years ago is not only to showcase his landscaping and horticultural skills but to inspire weekend gardeners to look beyond their ordinary flower beds when designing their gardens.

Rassi’s inspiration came from a visit to the Montreal Botanical Garden in 2015 and his encounter with their horticultural rendition of ‘Mother Earth.’ The stunning display jolted his creative instincts and Rassi began building and experimenting with his own artistic concepts that are in display in his Mosaic Culture section.

‘Whale of a tail’

The Mosaic Culture displays are mostly comprised of a metallic structural component covered with a geotextile membrane which allows plants to grow on the material. One outstanding display is a whale’s tail comprised of the perennial herb ‘Mother of Thyme’ that extends several feet above ground while dripping water.

Other motifs include a crocodile made from perennial succulents known as ‘Hens and Chicks,’ a cobra, bird, cedars that are pruned to resemble dolphins, Rassi’s own sculpture of Mother Earth and a tribute to ‘Buddy,’ his dog who passed away last year. Buddy is made from an ornamental grass that grows so quickly, it regularly requires a ‘haircut’ to keep his appearance neat.

Gardens to inspire

Rassi’s ever expanding ‘Field of Dreams’ also include gardens that feature day lilies and row upon row of lavender plots. “I want these gardens to inspire people to be creative with their own gardens at home,” he said.

“The plants are placed in a garden bed so people can enjoy them and see how they’re used as part of the landscape. The plants can be cultivated each successive year. We use perennials instead of annuals so we don’t have to replant each year,” said Rassi.

Intricate labyrinth

Another fascinating horticultural creation is the labyrinth. Instead of using mature corn plants to cut out an intricate maze, Rassi uses a variety of perennial grass that grows 10 to 12 feet tall. It’s just as challenging for anyone who enters to find their way back out again.

For more information, visit their website at champsdereves.com/mosaiculture-park.html.

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