Magali Duburcq and Arnaud Douilliez met in their native France, lived in Belgium for seven years, but put down roots in the Eastern Townships, in Orford, with their three children. The land on which they had their ecological home built two years ago is changing at a pace that surprises them, thanks to their desire to let nature take over.
Posted at 12:00 p.m
The house, built with the goal of LEED certification, stands in the middle of an old growth pine forest that was planted about forty years ago. “There were pines through which nothing grew,” explains Magali Duburcq. It was a monoculture and we were trying to revitalize an ecosystem around the house by growing very different strains. The soil was very acidic and the vegetation needed help. »
The couple turned to landscape architect Stéphanie Desmeules. “You had to meet certain requirements to get LEED certification, such as: explains the latter. We chose local slate for the terrace and paths. We have beautiful quarries in Quebec that offer materials of different colors. »
Biodiversity recovery was an issue and the owners were very open and very sensitive to this issue, Ms. specifies.me desmilles “The monoculture made it possible to see very far between the tribes,” she says. Many large shrubs and small trees were planted on the roadside to prevent people from seeing the house directly, and 150 varieties of plants, shrubs, perennials and trees were planted around the house. Everything had to be indigenous, edible, or have certain medicinal properties to make herbal teas, for example. »
The planting took place in spring 2021. In the second summer, Magali Duburcq could not believe the speed with which nature reclaimed the land.
It doesn’t look like there was any human intervention. We let everything grow naturally. I think it’s great because it brings authenticity.
“The gardens are often disinfected. everything is clean It’s very beautiful, but it’s very cold. There, it’s an invitation to relax and tell yourself that a plant can grow crookedly while remaining beautiful and attractive, she adds. This gives us the opportunity to go all out and not always have to be perfect. »
desire to return
Stéphanie Desmeules won the Habitat Design Prize, Landscape Architecture 2021 for transforming the site into a habitat and foraging space. However, she almost gave up her profession after the death of her husband, who was also a landscape architect. During his illness, the couple became very close to nature in Saint-Denis-de-Brompton in the Eastern Townships. “I found myself a single mom with three kids and I was fed up with finding the rhythm in an office I used to have,” reveals Ms.me desmilles I needed my fellowship during my spouse’s illness and I wanted to give back to my neighbor. »
She found her way trying to help the environment and people by using the research she was conducting on the benefits of nature to the health of sick and vulnerable people. She designs landscapes for schools, nursing homes and companies. It also has a private clientele. It believes in mutual aid and cooperation and offers various discounts to individuals and organizations that share the same values as it.
“The people who come to me don’t have the car of the year,” she explains. They really have an ecological conscience that goes through the sensibility of living together and sharing. They like to talk to their neighbors, pass on their tips, share their garden tools and learn from each other. »
It’s a different way of living, feeling like you can rely on others. This philosophy is widespread in the Eastern Townships.
This generosity appealed to Magali Duburcq, who is very committed to Orford, where she has started a mutual aid movement, notably through the Abondance Orford Facebook page.
“I also liked that she looked for a more spiritual, energetic side of the plant and anything that is invisible yet has an impact on the physical world,” she continues. We didn’t look for aesthetics, but in the end we find them because we let life decide. It is much more powerful than when it is the person who decides. »