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Experiencing My City
La famille de Karine et Vincent

Happy Hour in the Garden

24 Hours in the Life of Montréal
Published on
July 25, 2018
Karine spreads a checkered cloth over the picnic table. Four-year-old Mathilde and Arthur, who is 1, play on the ground, next to their dad Vincent, who is harvesting parsnips. Once again, this small Rosemont family is dining in the Basile-Patenaude community garden.

“During the week, we come at the end of the day and stay until our baby begins to nod,” says Karine Théorêt, age 34.

They were two, before becoming four, and the plot they have cultivated with so much devotion (“and love!”) for the past eight years has witnessed these changes.

“At the start, gardening was a timeout. Hands in the dirt . . . and total serenity . . .” recalls Karine. “A bit of this calm has dissipated with kids, but everyone chats together and has a great time.”

Mathilde a son propre jardin

Near the central tables is the kiddie park, where Mathilde, like her friend Margot, is in charge of her own sandbox.

“I love cooking peach tomatoes,” says Mathilde. “‘Apricot tomatoes,’” corrects her mother.

Pooling Resources

“We tried growing broccoli the first year. What a failure!” says Vincent, chuckling. Over the summers, the couple learned much about urban gardening by picking up tips from their neighbours in other plots, as well as reading up on the topic.

“We help each other,” says Vincent. “If someone goes on vacation, others make sure to weed and water, for instance.”

Karine a commencé à jardiner il y a 8 ans.

The garden’s board promotes social interaction through a variety of summer activities for children and adults, alike.

“I’m going worm hunting,” said Mathilde, before trotting off confidently a few steps away.

Vincent is interrupted in his work by Arthur who comes by to check on the six chickens in the garden’s coop, which is managed by members. Karine collects some lemon balm leaves.

“These zesty little leaves are excellent for the nerves—and delicious when sprinkled on ice cream,” mom Karine says.

 

MONTRÉAL'S COMMUNITY GARDENS

Montréal has 97 self-run community gardens in its 18 boroughs.

Each garden provides all of the gear needed to tend plots and harvest food (topsoil, water outlet, shed, fencing, sand, tools, etc.). A volunteer members’ committee for each garden oversees the budget, activities and planning of projects and initiatives.

To get your own plot or put your name on the waiting list, just follow the procedure posted on each borough’s Web site.

Map of Montréal's community gardens