The Ineffable Beauty

«  Here of a summer’s night, when there is one of those rare all-pervading stillnesses and the world seems wrapped in a sacred silence, broken only by the slow rhythm of the sea lapping its waters upon the shore; with the moon, silver clear in a cloudless sky, flood-lighting every petal of every lily and the upturned face of every flower, the ineffable beauty of the scene transcends time and place to bring an awareness of the eternal beyond and of a closeness to it.”

Elsie Reford, 1949

Elsie’s Paradise – The Gardens of Elsie Reford

Les Jardins de Métis /Reford Gardens are the extraordinary achievement of a passionate gardener – Elsie Reford. In the summer of 1926, at the age of 54, she began transforming her fishing camp on the Mitis River into a garden.

Over more than three decades, she created a garden that featured one of the largest collections of plants in its day. Designing the garden herself, she carefully created flowerbeds alongside the stream, realizing by trial and error that the long snowy winters and humid summer air provided the ideal growing conditions for the perennial plants she imported from around the world. Pathways meander through the forest and alongside the brook, providing visitors with moments of discovery and intimacy, where they can enjoy many vistas and fragrances. Where others had failed, she succeeded in cultivating rare plants, like the Himalayan blue poppy, the gardens' emblem. When it blooms from the end of June through the end of July, visitors can admire this extraordinary plant and admire the tenacity of the woman who introduced them to gardeners in eastern North America.

Today the gardens are home to more than 3,000 species, cultivars and varieties of plants, both native and exotic. They live happily in the microclimate of this enchanting site, traversed by a rushing brook and bordered by the Mitis River to the west and the St. Lawrence to the north. Known today for their exceptional collections and historic plantings, Elsie Reford’s gardens are preserved today by a passionate team of gardeners and staff so that visitors can experience their wonder, beauty and magic.