These majestic mosaic cultures… from Saint-Lucien to Quebec

Editor’s note: This Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Gestion horticole Normand Francoeur opens its doors to the public to come and discover the underside of the mosaic and admire the plant production. Visitors will also have the chance to see dozens of mosaic cultures that will be on display in Québec City throughout the summer.

MAGAZINE. Somewhere on Grade 7 in Saint-Lucien, 500,000 small cuttings of plants and flowers have been grown all winter. These plants, maintained by the team of Gestion horticole Normand Francoeur, have a very specific purpose: to create mosaic cultures that can be admired all summer in Quebec City, during the most spectacular exhibition ever presented.

Impressive steel constructions take place in the greenhouses of the family business throughout the dozens of plant species. There are more than 130. These will make up about fifty works, each one more magnificent than the next. Father and son, Normand and Sébastien Francoeur, as well as his wife, Jacinthe Plante, have once again gained the trust of Mosaïcultures Internationales. An important contract that is both stimulating and demanding.

“I have known Lise (Cormier, General Manager and Vice-President of Mosaïcultures internationales) for a long time. In the early 2000s, she asked me to take her to China to see what was being done in the field of mosaic culture to set up her first exhibition. She had seen my work with the structures we had made in Marie-Victorin Park. I was hesitant, but she convinced me by telling me that she absolutely needed a horticulturist to do her project. That’s how our collaboration started,” says Normand Francoeur.

Sébastien Francoeur and Jacinthe Plante, horticulturists and co-owners of Gestion horticole Normand Francoeur. (Photo Ghyslain Bergeron)

“Normand and Yves Vaillancourt from Laval have been working with us from the beginning. It was natural for this exhibition and important for me to have them with us. I consider them Canada’s top two gardeners! We are lucky to have them,” said Ms Cormier.

Among the mosaic cultures to be designed by the Lucien-based company are animals of the savanna, such as lions, giraffes and zebras; insects, such as bees and butterflies; as well as domestic and farm animals, namely horses, dogs, ducks and roosters.

A real painstaking job to make these gigantic plant structures. Installation of an irrigation system, soil filling, design, planting, pruning, maintenance. Here is a very brief summary of the design steps. The working time spent on a job is variable due to several factors. This can translate from a few days to more than a week. Hours spent trimming and watering are excluded.

The complexity is mainly in the creation of patterns, as gardeners explain.

“When you draw the drawings on the structures, you have to think about how big the plant will be when it matures. Depending on the size of the room, the patterns will need to be adjusted accordingly, for example, the cheetah’s spots will not be the same size on a small structure versus one 30 feet long and 10 feet high. We work as if they were pixels. And since each work consists of several parts, when assembling, it is necessary to ensure that the motifs follow from one part to the next,” detail the father and son.

“Patterns are our specialty, that’s what sets us apart!” would like to add Mrs Plante.

Almost all patterns created are made by eye, with the exception of the monarch wings.

“We made stencils so that the patterns were all exactly the same from wing to wing,” says the horticulturist.

About forty species of plants make up the mosaic cultures. (Photo Ghyslain Bergeron)

The exhibition

Over 109 days, visitors can admire nearly 200 works, made with more than six million plants and grouped into 20 paintings, at Parc du Bois-de-Coulonge in Quebec City.

“This exhibition will be the most spectacular and the most beautiful ever presented during the 20th anniversary of our company with 80% new and unpublished works,” confirms Lise Cormier.

Under the theme “Once upon a time… the Earth”, the exhibition will be an ode to the beauty and fragility of life on Earth.

“Animals are presented, mainly endangered species from five continents. Part of the exhibition will also be devoted to the history behind the park. In fact, this site used to be the territory of the Huron-Wendats. There was also the residence of the lieutenant governor of Quebec, which burned down in 1966. We decided to recreate it with a huge pergola, 46 meters long and 10 meters wide, which takes on the architectural vocabulary of this building. It will be great! From there people come to the site”, explains the general director of Mosaïcultures Internationale.

Among the most grandiose and spectacular works are, of course, the pergola, the rushing river, the animals of Africa, the tree with birds, the plowman and Mother Earth.

“Mother Earth, the most famous icon, is going to change. In her hair we will add waterfalls, the water will really flow. And the bird tree will become a tree of life. This is the first time such changes have been made to structures. We’ve never done that,” she says.

The mosaic culture, which already shines in the Francoeur greenhouses, will undoubtedly be majestic on the park site of Bois-de-Coulonge.

“We want to surprise with this exhibition. With everything that has happened in the world over the past two years, we want people to relearn how to dream and develop a love for nature, biodiversity and history,” wishes Lise Cormier.

The Mosaïcultures de Québec takes place from June 24 to October 10.

Did you know…

Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal originated in 1999† Since its inception, it has organized 5 international competitions, 7 exhibitions and has more than 100 several works presented in a around twenty of countries, much to the surprise of 15 million from visitors. It is no coincidence that it is considered the international leader in mosaic culture.

About 350 people are drawn to the exhibition “Once upon a time… the earth”, whose 100 to 150 gardeners and 100 to 125 sculptors-welders.

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