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Illustration : La Propriété de l'artiste, à Gentilly
Illustration: La Propriété de l'artiste, à Gentilly, c./v. 1853, Joseph Légaré.
The Lavalin Collection du Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.


Perhaps no other activity has grown so exponentially in recent decades in this country as has gardening. Classified as a leisure activity (although leisure seems hardly the right adjective!), Statistics Canada puts it at the top of the list with more than 80% of adult Canadians claiming to garden to some extent. All signs indicate that this passion for gardening will only increase in the future.

Whether "gardening" means tending a spindly house plant struggling to survive in the dark winter days of a downtown apartment, or dedicating hundreds of hours and more dollars to a lush acreage with woods, ponds, streams, and ornamental plantings, there are few who do not respond to the sight of a new blossom unfurling, or the gustatory pleasure of the first ripe tomato off the vine.

The exhibition, "Cultivating Canadian Gardens", tells the story of the development of gardening in Canada through the books, periodicals, and printed materials collected, for the most part, by the National Library of Canada. It begins with the earliest recorded information on the plantings of the Hurons who had been tending their crops long before Europeans arrived in North America, and concludes with a brief look at the flood of printed material now available across the country.

Image of flower
Planting the Seeds
Cultivating the Garden
The Cultivators
Reaping the Harvest
Photos by Beth Powning
Other Gardening Sites