The Gardener is a documentary directed by Sebastien Chabot about Frank Cabot’s Les Quatre Vents, aka Cabot Garden, a magnificent private garden in the Charlevoix region near Quebec City.
Davyd: It’s amazing to think that’s possible, but Jenny tells me that because of this northern location there is sun light…
Ginny:.. From four in the morning until ten at night…I visited and photographed other Canadian gardens…and really Canada is a wonderful place to garden because you do get to hibernate in the winter time and then it’s full-out for three months in the summer time…and things come on so quickly. And, as they said in the film things tend to bloom altogether in ways that they don’t here. Our springs if they’re really hot, tend to get rushed. Where as up there, you have these lovely lingering displays of bloom.
Davyd: And the wonderful delphiniums and ….things that, really, we can’t grow here.
Ginny: The himalayan blue poppy because of the elevation you need the cold harsh winter…. Also, they were a family of considerable means so he could decide to build the dovecotes… which is not the dovecotes that we know, the small dovecotes, it’s a residence almost, although it’s a folly… The Japanese tea house it took five years they had to cut the trees and then let them age. That’s an engineered or a landscape where he took things, that ravine was not there with those rocks, those rocks were put in. If any of you are interested there is a wonderful book that Frank (Francis) Cabot wrote called The Greater Perfection that tells the whole story and has the history of the land, his families involvement, and the stages of building that garden.
Ginny: You get the sense in the book also, that this combination of nature and contrivements, it was his experience at place because four generations of his family had been summering on or about that property since the late nineteenth century and they owned property there from 1902 all the way up to the present. His grandmother was a great gardener and also, his mother, and his mother’s brother… Eddie Matthews who was responsible for the swimming pool and other garden features…At one point he says that the garden making has been going on there for seventy-five years. If you’ve looked at the film, as we have, you’ll have a sense, that the garden goes back centuries because he has been able to assimilate and bring together garden traditions from all over the world from China, from Japan, from renaissance Italy, with a very strong emphasis of Evergreen Architecture in the landscape and then ….England and the very French insistence…
Ginny: A grand memory that I have of seeing the property with Frank Cabot, and so he said, “okay we’re going on horseback” we didn’t just walk, we galloped through the woods which was quite grand!
Blog Post and Photography by Kristen M. Bryant