Wander Through Les Ensembliers' Sustainable Country Garden

Wander Through Les Ensembliers' Sustainable Country Garden



Wander Through Les Ensembliers’ Sustainable Country Garden


Richard Ouellette and Maxime Vandal, the duo behind Montreal design firm Les Ensembliers, have always loved a beautiful garden. But here at Humming Hill, their latest weekend home near Knowlton, Quebec, they’ve created something that’s a lot more than just an aesthetic masterpiece. Their 32-hectare property is also a working farm, with a serious vegetable plot, honeybees, chickens and a sugar bush that will produce gallons of maple syrup. Since buying the property in 2016, Richard and Maxime have been digging, building and planting, not to mention painstakingly hand-dividing hundreds of dahlia tubers and installing a growing chamber for starting seeds in the basement — all in preparation for opening a flower farm.

All summer long, the flower gardens burst with color, with vegetables and more precious blooms corralled into a tidy parterre crisscrossed with pea gravel pathways that recalls the best ornamental gardens in France and England. “It’s inspired by a Victorian maze and is designed to be seen best from above,” says Richard.

As they’ve created their outdoor spaces, the pair have become students of permaculture — a sustainable approach to working the land — seeking advice from specialists in the area, most notably, expert Caroline Gosselin. For the designers (and soon-to-be flower farmers), gardening has become a way of life. “Humming Hill is about creating a place with purpose, where we can grow flowers and vegetables, enjoy a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, entertain and share good times,” says Richard.

Here, Richard and Maxime tour their vibrant, hardworking garden.

Author:  Katie Hayden
Photographer:  André Rider
Source:  House & Home May 2020
Designer: Richard Ouellette & Maxime Vandal, Les Ensembliers
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