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jazz et jardins–O! Canada!

July 5, 2009

montreal gray-4807Still coming down off the whirlwind weekend to Montreal for the Jazz Festival. My honey has been raving about it since I’ve known him, and now I know why. With great musicians playing every hour all day, many for free, you can’t go wrong, even if it rains every single day. If the Argentine tango nuevo act is just too humorless and severe (as they were!), just head around the corner and soon enough a chanteuse from Toronto will be doing the Billy Holiday songbook, dressed in red shoes like Dorothy, and backed by 5 guys who make you want to go home and sign up for lessons in clarinet and lap steel.

So much great music, but the most fun might have been heading into an open tent to escape the rain and falling into group bongo lessons! A tall bald man appeared on stage toting a goatskin drum, speaking French, and wearing a “Steve’s Music” t-shirt. Then a skinny, grinning old man, who turned out to be Steve, starts passing out bongos to everyone in the room, and suddenly all 116 of us are doing a bongo round. Being halfway through a 12 oz. energy drink does wonders for one’s rhythm, you should know.

The only disappointment was a midnight show we paid for, and what was billed as French dub turned out to be soulless techno-metal. We left early, which was doubly disappointing since some of us had had all that energy drink and we’d all hoped to discover another Soel. My honey heard them in the same club 4 years ago, but no luck this time.

I took zero pictures at the fest.

But did carry the camera to breakfast. If you’re in Montreal, go to Le Cartet in the old city. Maybe they will still have tables decorated with onion flowers and hosta leaves.
le cartet onions2-4834If they don’t, the bread, espresso, figs, and cheese will still wake you up perfectly.

Flowers are everywhere on the street. Silly dwarf dahlias, cannas, geraniums, fuzzy annuals.
dahlia curves-4814

And then there was the Oudulf-inspired Quay gardens, well marked.
quay gardens-4839

quay gardens-4841

A few blocks from here was a small triangular park planted in tall blowing grasses. Some women stopped to photograph each other among the fronds. It would have been very meta to photograph them, but we were hungry.

I hope to see more of Montreal’s great gardens, though not all of them turn out to be public.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2009 1:53 pm

    interesting that you were in canada while i had a friend visiting from toronto… how fun was it to bang on some bongos with 116 others?! i bet you generated lots of metta there…! we enjoyed some pedal steel at the continental club – we could’ve listen to that all night…
    love the allium/hosta combo… the perfect complement to your stunning breakfast. man, next year i might just have to tag along…!

  2. July 8, 2009 5:43 pm

    Oh boy I want to go to Montreal now. I was thinking Quebec, but maybe not. That breakfast joint looks tres lovely. I do speak french, mais not conistently. Mond dieu, there I va.

  3. Leigh Kahre permalink
    July 8, 2009 7:42 pm

    What is palimpsest?

  4. July 10, 2009 8:28 pm

    Quebec is on my list but I still haven’t made it. The festival sounds like a great excuse to visit, and so do the Quay gardens. I especially like the yellow yarrow floating over shorter plants in the underplanting. I’ve got to steal that idea for my own garden…

  5. July 11, 2009 7:46 am

    the last two years we have vacationed at a jazz festival in Rochester, NY. thanks for sharing your adventure.

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