DESIGNER Charlotte Harris SPONSOR Royal Bank of Canada CONTRACTOR Landscape Associates
"THIS IS THE SEVENTH year that Royal Bank of Canada has sponsored a Main Avenue garden. Each garden has aimed to raise awareness of the preciousness of freshwater resources, through its Blue Water Project. This year is the 10th anniversary of the project as well as the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada – so, it's a great opportunity to celebrate the unspoilt boreal forests, freshwater lakes and wilderness of Canada, home to the largest source of unfrozen freshwater on Earth, as well being its biggest intact forest.
“I hope to make a garden inspired by that place, rather than trying to replicate it. The hard landscape materials reference the boreal’s ecology, using granite supplemented by timber for the boardwalks. A Pavilion is crafted of burnt larch (a native of the zone) and copper, which represents the mineral-rich geology. Planting is either native or a similar European substitute.
“The trees are 40 year-old Jack pines (Pinus banksiana), which I love because they’re gnarled and full of character, and there’s a mixture of zones of woodland perennials and sunny, moisture-loving plants. Fire renews the boreal forest (as it does many forest types) and the Jack Pine, thanks to its serotinous nature, is often the first tree to take hold after a burn. This links back to the charred larch timber used to build the Pavilion.
“I was very fortunate to spend September last year exploring the remote Canadian boreal by boat, canoe and on foot, getting close to the botany, the geology and the spirit of the place. This was a huge privilege and has been an incredible inspiration. It’s impossible to bring the scale and grandeur of this spectacular wilderness to a show garden, so instead I made the decision to try to evoke elements of it."