Boustrophedon: Alternating right to left and left to right – the pattern of oxen tilling the land, or of an ancient form of writing.

The boustrophedon garden is one of eleven Ephemeral Gardens made for Québec City’s year long 400th anniversary festival. The garden weaves together ideas from Québec’s regional long-lot system and Samuel de Champlain’s early agricultural experimentation and recordings, to create a three-dimensional landscape “cloth” that registers growth and change in its warp and weft. Here, the public is able to scrutinize changing patterns of growth and bloom recorded over the summer.

Midsummer along the calendar (photo: Jessica Craig/PLANT)
Midsummer along the calendar

The garden is conceived as a life-size graph. The site’s length is an axis of time with an embedded wood calendar marking the duration of the garden festival in weekly increments. Rows of different vegetables and herbs run the length of the garden, each with a corresponding set of overhead ropes. Each week, plant height measurements and a photograph of the garden are taken and permanently recorded on the three-dimensional garden calendar. Overhead lines are pulled down and weighted to mark significant life cycle events such as bloom and harvest time, making a three dimensional graph. Much like a gardener’s journal, observations are gathered in anticipation of improving next year’s garden. Increasing in complexity and volume throughout the summer, recorded data and vegetation proceed to engulf the visitor, while creating a dialogue with the plants that continue to change during their growth trajectory. As the plants die back and the fruit and vegetables harvested, the life-size calendar will remain as a garden journal. The gardens were open until the end of September 2008.

Mid-summer view of the end panels (photo: Jessica Craig/PLANT)
View of the end panels and weights mid-summer
Detail view of the end panels and weights (photo: Jessica Craig/PLANT)
Detail view of the end panels and weights
Detail view of the flowering weights (photo: Jessica Craig/PLANT)
View of the flowering weights
Overall diary near the end of the summer (photo: Espace 400)
Overall diary near the end of the summer · Photo: Espace 400

project index

  1. A Conversation of Views
  2. Admiral Road Garden
  3. Airdrie Road Residence
  4. Albany Avenue Residence
  5. Aporia Records
  6. Asphalt Poetry
  7. – Poem
  8. Baby Point Gardens
  9. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  10. Beaty Residence
  11. Bennington Heights Garden
  12. Berkeley Street Residence
  13. Bin-Scarth Garden
  14. Blink and you miss it.
  15. – Poem
  16. Blue Note
  17. Booth Avenue Residence
  18. Boustrophedon Garden
  19. Braemore Gardens Residence
  20. Browning Avenue Residence
  21. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  22. Camp Arowhon Offices
  23. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  24. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  25. Chocolate Loft
  26. City Instrument
  27. Clarendon Garden
  28. Conversation Piece
  29. Creemore Farm
  30. Danforth Mosaic BIA
  31. Dickson Park Garden
  32. Dilworth Residence
  33. Don Landing Revitalization
  34. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  35. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  36. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  37. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  38. Elizabeth Fry Society
  39. Ellsworth Residence
  40. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  41. First Avenue Garden
  42. Foote’s Pond Wood
  43. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  44. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  45. Goldring Landscape
  46. Gormley Garden
  47. Greener P
  48. Greer Road Garden
  49. Greer Road Residence
  50. Guelph Bridge
  51. Head in the Clouds
  52. Junction Craft Brewery
  53. Kelpies Competition
  54. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  55. Le jardin du repos
  56. Lenticular Curtain
  57. Liza’s Garden
  58. Lynwood Garden
  59. Macroscape
  60. Markham Garden One
  61. Markham Street Residence Two
  62. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  63. Nathan Phillips Square
  64. – Streetscape
  65. – Peace Garden
  66. – Podium Roof Garden
  67. Orchard View Garden
  68. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  69. Owl Cottage
  70. Paperstone Scissors
  71. Peripheral Sitings
  72. Pottery Road Crossing
  73. rare
  74. Ravine Forecourt
  75. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  76. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  77. Roxborough Garden One
  78. Roxborough Garden Two
  79. Sheridan College
  80. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  81. Spadina Quay Wetland
  82. Stratford Market Square Competition
  83. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  84. Superlegible
  85. Sweet Farm
  86. Sweet Farm Pond House
  87. The Meadows Reconsidered
  88. The Red Sash
  89. Thick & Thin
  90. Tipping Point
  91. Tranby Garden
  92. Tree House Residence
  93. UTM Welcome Landscape
  94. Venice Biennale 2012
  95. Vermont Square Park
  96. Vernon Avenue Garden
  97. Walmer Road Residence
  98. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  99. Wells Street Residence
  100. Westminster Residence
  101. With Words as Their Actions
  102. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  103. Woven Stories
  104. York Park