Quebec City happens to be a city of gorgeous gardens, despite the fact that their growing season is a mere 90 days long. It was also the host city for the 2013 Garden Writers Association Annual Symposium this week. The GWA is a nonprofit organization whose membership comprises professional writers, editors, photographers, and media personalities working in gardening communications — a field we know and love well at Storey! 

Our gardening editor Carleen Madigan was in attendance at the symposium and describes the yearly gathering, now in its sixty-fifth year, as “a great opportunity to catch up with old friends in the gardening world, meet new writers, make connections, and talk about Storey’s books to the people who are out there spreading the good word about gardening.”
In her Post from the Road — Quebec City, Carleen shares a bit about who and what she saw: the people she met, the vivid color combinations of this capital city’s garden spaces, and inspiration for our own garden innovations next year (tomato arbor, anyone?).
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Every GWA conference includes workshops and garden tours. For me the tours often end up being the most fruitful part of the trip, both because of the conversations I have on the bus (I always try to sit with someone new for each leg of our travels, to meet as many people as possible) and because of all the inspiring gardens we see.This year I’ve had a great time catching up with Niki Jabbour (author of The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener and Groundbreaking Food Gardens, forthcoming from Storey in December). She’s been busy bringing together a posse of young garden writers, some of whom you can see here:

From left to right: Amy Andrychowicz, Tara Nolan, Jessica Walliser, and Niki Jabbour

Some of the gardens we’ve visited have given me ideas for things I’d like to put to use in my own vegetable garden. We saw this mini tomato arbor in the community gardens here in Quebec City. The tomatoes are trained to strings, which are tied to the arbor.

Mini tomato arbor

We visited a rooftop garden at La Maison de Lauberivière, a former hotel that is now Quebec City’s largest homeless shelter. The garden covers 6,000 square feet and produces 1.5 tons of vegetables each year. This photo shows just a part of the garden, but you can see that everything they grow is in grow bags. That’s pretty impressive!

The rooftop garden at La Maison de Lauberivière

At the rooftop gardens they’ve also created living willow shade structures by putting willow branches into containers and keeping them watered. They grow quickly! This arbor was just planted in May.

Rooftop shade

We saw grow bags in several other places, including in front of the Parliament Building.

Food gardens in front of the Parliament Building

More Parliament gardens

I’m always collecting ideas for new ways to use pink and orange in the garden. Here are a couple of combinations I’ve noticed over the last day or two.

Pink and orange inspiration


More creative combinations

More creative combinations

Carleen Madigan

Before becoming an editor at Storey Publishing, Carleen Madigan was managing editor of Horticulture magazine and lived on an organic farm outside Boston, Massachusetts, where… See Bio

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