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Dear Kay,

Just back from a trip to Quebec with my sister. It was just the two of us, very rare.

So many times in the past, our visits have included spouses, our children, other people’s children, a lot of distraction and grilled cheese making and trying to find another pillow for somebody. This time, it was just a coupla Sassy Sues out on the town, and we did all sorts of crazy things.

We had ice cream for lunch.

We made a charcuterie board out of a hotel ironing board.

We visited an outdoor establishment where they put Adirondack chairs in a giant pool about a foot deep, and you sit in the Adirondack chairs while cooling your heels in the water and slurping a local microbrew in the company of, say, a very suntanned couple from California who are likewise doing absolutely nothing but slurping a local microbrew.

We drove two hours north of Quebec City to visit a garden Buffy had seen on Netflix. (The documentary is called The Gardener, in case you’re looking for a quicker trip than ours.)

I avoided reading a single thing about this garden before this trip—I didn’t even watch the trailer for The Gardener, hoping for once to come upon a place without having researched the everlivin’ soul out of it.

This garden is not exactly easy to get to, and it was lovely, the whole thing. Up top you can see some of the garden, none of my images capturing even a fraction of the place’s beauty. My favorite parts were the least-manicured moments. Nature untouched was best of all, fields and forests and mountains in the distance.

I’m guessing that The Gardener covers the place well—I still haven’t watched it. (There’s a book, too, which you should probably get from your library because a copy on Amazon is asking a pretty penny right now.)

The next day, we drove around Ile d’Orleans, in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, where you can sample nougat and and beers and poutine all the day long. Which we did.




Another fancy garden, this one on a slope down toward the St. Lawrence River.


Elaborate fantasy life at work here.

The closer we got to the river, the less fussy it got, and the more I liked it.

Back on the road, our craft radar led us to an artisan shop attached to a small church.

Of course, I was not about to leave until I tracked down what I knew would be there somewhere: local yarn.




PS Thank you all so much for all the container garden wisdom you shared with me last week—incredibly helpful. A thriller, a spiller, and a filler—love that idea!

July GEMS! This month we shine a light on the pairing of marvelous Thea Colman design with the divine hand dyes of Karida Collins. 20% off all Organic Studio yarns through tomorrow, August 3.


  • Merveilleux ! Glad you both had a lovely visit, bises !

  • Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing them. I’ll be looking for the book.

  • “Sisters. Sisters. There were never such devoted sisters . . .”

    • I know that song. Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney movie. Holiday Inn I believe.

      • That song was sung in WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954). The first time it was sung in the movie was in the scene right before the two male leads, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, meet the two female leads, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. Lovely tune in a wonderful movie!
        Rosemary Clooney was not in HOLIDAY INN (1942). The lead actress in this movie was Marjorie Reynolds.
        Sorry for the correction, but I LOVE old movies and just had to speak up.

  • We had tickets to visit Quatre Vents in July but sadly my husband got sick and we were unable to go – hopefully next summer. Your pictures are beautiful.

  • Such fun stuff. Care about to share the location of the adirondak chair Mecca? Asking for a friend.

  • We visited that garden in June – breathtaking (the pool!!). So happy you got to enjoy my part of the world!

  • Loved your postcard! I would love to go there someday. What a perfect sister trip!

  • Beautiful pictures! That’s a trip I’d like to take with my sister. Oh, the things we could eat!

  • Wonderful Anne – you’ve found places that we haven’t. By the way- in Canada they are called Muskoka chairs – just so you know next time you come!

    • Lovely to see and hear about a trip to my chosen HOME! Came to Quebec 50 years ago from Cologne, Germany, and never left it!
      Lovely photos and ideas for future escapes…
      And the wool for warm winter socks!! Oh, lala!

  • A very important distinction. Especially for those of us who have cottages in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada. (Just north of Toronto) They are definitely Muskoka chairs! ❤️

    • Hi, hi hi ! In Ontario, peut-être. But they’re still Adirondack chairs in southeastern Quebec ! Possibly because we care closer to NY than to Muskoka? I do like to knit & recline at the same time. One day I will have comfy chairs like this with knitting totes attached to the arm rests…

    • In July 2010 my daughter and son-in-law were married on Belle Isle, in Muskoka. An absolutely magical place and a delightful wedding – everything was brought in by boat. WOW! Such a superlative setting for nuptials. I’d do it all again.

  • What a lovely adventure you had! Very happy for you.

  • Love a sister trip!!

  • Thank you for sharing. Your article gave me a lovely little getaway on this very warm morning in the south.

  • What a great trip to our “Belle Province”! Thank you for sharing your impressions and great photos. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Amazon Prime has the film!

  • What a lovely trip. I have the book, The Greater Perfection: The Story of the Gardens at Les Quatre Vents, as a treasured part of my garden library. I haven’t visited the garden in person yet, but it is on my list.
    Since many knitters are also gardeners, you may also be interested in Frank Cabot’s other garden here in the Hudson Valley of New York – Stonecrop. Frank is also the founder of the Garden Conservancy, which is a wonderful organization.

  • Oh, merci beaucoup! Stressful time in my family – I really needed this vicarious trip away. And my son went to McGill so I’m familiar (generally) with Quebec north of the city. Great photos.

  • Sounds like a lovely trip. I just started a 2 week visit with one of my sisters, and I am looking forward to talking, knitting, reading, laughing. Not much in the way of outdoor adventures, however, since Orlando is NOT inviting this time of year.

  • Gorgeous pictures! I almost felt like I was there.

  • The minute I saw your pictures at the top of your post, I knew you were at the Gardener’s garden. It’s a fantastic documentary, and you will enjoy it.
    I loved this post of yours……I’ve not been to Quebec, but would love to spend a few days there, especially this time of year.

  • Ann, thank you for sharing such a lovely experience with us! It’s so good that you were able to spend time with your sister, and travel to such a beautiful place.

  • I so jealous! I spent my dream last night with two of my wonderful sisters that I can only visit there! Your trip seems so lovely!

  • Thank you for this. My paternal grandfather was from somewhere in Quebec and the not knowing is like a tendril, always reaching in that direction. Which is doggone far for this Napa person. He described being near woods, with brambles. Your photographs are now slipping into the gaps.

  • Quebec is amazing! It’s better than going to France, it’s closer, and there’s the duality of language, French and English. Montmorency Falls are incredible, but those stairs are killers! Ile d’Orleans is wonderful with beautiful flowers, maple syrup huts, and shops. I bought baskets in the same shop/church you visited! I can’t wait to go back!

  • I am watching The Gardener and it’s fabulous. It’s so incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t find it on Netflix but did find it on Amazon Prime.

  • Loved seeing this post!
    Perhaps next time you and your sister will come to the south shore of the Lower St. Lawrence to the breathtaking Jardins de Metis and our nearby summer community.
    Your photos were beautiful! Think we will explore that area on our way east in a few weeks.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your adventures, and the beautiful pictures. I live in Oregon now and have only visited the eastern lower states. Will definitely have to put this one on my bucket list.

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