Société des musées du Québec

Museums, spotlight on gardens… Succumb to the charm of romantic gardens!

Claude Benoit, muséologue

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CC BY-NC-SA : Maison Henry-Stuart, photo : Simon Laroche

A bench in the shadows of a large tree, the intoxicating perfume of plants, the rustling of petals, the love songs of birds… Gardens brimming with history open their hearts to you.

The private garden of the Stuart sisters in Québec City

In our capital city, discover an architectural gem on Grande-Allée: Maison Henry-Stuart. Surrounding this heritage abode, the women of the house created a rich English-style garden. The floral arrangements are close to nature, an idea that was inspired by the Romantic form of artistic expression known as the picturesque movement, and echo the authentic interior decor and refined ambiance of the residence. They evoke the private and social lives of sisters, Adèle Maud and Mary Lauretta Stuart, owners of this magnificent bourgeois residence from 1918 to 1987.

Warning to those who are faint of heart: the vibrant colours and delicate perfumes of the timelessly beautiful rose garden are intoxicating.

Henry Atkinson’s passion for gardens in Sillery

Villa Bagatelle 01
Villa Bagatelle 
CC BY-NC-SA : Ville de Québec

A few steps away from the parc du Bois-de-Coulonge, Villa Bagatelle’s English-style garden will surely seduce you with its intimate country charm. Impressed by Parc de Bagatelle in the suburbs of Paris, wood merchant, Henry Atkinson, hired Scottish gardener, Peter Lowe, in 1848 to make his estate into a place of relaxation and recreation. The garden is characterized by indigenous and ornamental plants, trees and shrubs arranged in asymmetrical style, in order to reflect the wild elements in nature predominant in the picturesque movement that was in vogue starting in the late 18th century.

Admire the apple tree lanes and the winding pathway lined with wild tree species, taken directly from the wooded area adjoining the property. Don’t forget the noteworthy star plant species: sugar maple, red oak, white elm, wild ginger and wintergreen, all of which probably existed during Peter Lowe’s time. Dating back to the Paleozoic era, the ginkgo biloba tree, in and of itself, deserves a few souvenir snapshots. Charles Darwin had even classified it as a living fossil!

The romantic garden of the seigneurs of Lotbinière in Sainte-Croix

Domaine Joly-de-Lotbinière
© Domaine Joly-de-Lotbinière

In the mid 19th century, Pierre-Gustave Joly built a vacation residence and an immense romantic park-garden on the seigneurial land that his wife, Julie-Christine Chartier de Lotbinière, had inherited. In this vast estate, the descendents added exotic and indigenous trees, and installed kiosks, reading gazebos and benches, so family members and their guests could enjoy the beauty and richness of cap Pointe-Platon.

It’s your turn to enjoy this intimate atmosphere. The light colour scheme, soothing sounds of water, perfumed flowers, sweet fruit and soft leaves will charm your senses.

The forgotten gardens of the Chapais family in Saint-Denis-de La Bouteillerie

La Maison Chapais 01
CC BY-NC-SA : La Maison Chapais

Attached to the rock, stands a white-walled and red-roofed residence: Maison des Chapais. Starting in 1833, the year of construction, Georgina Dionne, Jean-Charles Chapais’s wife, lovingly and intelligently created and cultivated her flower garden. Until 1946, her youngest son, Thomas, carried on her efforts to enrich the heritage. Forgotten for over 50 years, the country garden was revived in 2003. It colourfully and sensitively tells the family’s story. The orchard, owned by the eldest son, Jean-Charles Junior, has also refound its open-air agronomics laboratory feeling, located beside the vegetable garden, where one can taste various types of produce and often unknown berries.

During the Victorian era, the gardens behind the sumptuous residence welcomed members of the political class and bourgeois nobility for tea and socialization. Today, you are invited to attend “Country Sundays” throughout the summer. In the company of artists of all walks of life, Georgette Chapais, Jean-Charles’s daughter, welcomes you as if you were a friend of the family.