Decorating & Design

April 8, 2021

Wander Through Les Ensembliers’ Sustainable Country Garden

Richard Ouellette and Maxime Vandal, the duo behind Montreal design firm Les Ensembliers, have always loved a beautiful garden. But here at Humminghill Farm, their latest weekend home near Knowlton, Quebec, they’ve created something that’s a lot more than just an aesthetic masterpiece. Their 32-hectare property is also a working farm, with a serious vegetable plot, honeybees, chickens and a sugar bush that will produce gallons of maple syrup. Since buying the property in 2016, Richard and Maxime have been digging, building and planting, not to mention painstakingly hand-dividing hundreds of dahlia tubers and installing a growing chamber for starting seeds in the basement — all in preparation for opening a flower farm.

All summer long, the flower gardens burst with color, with vegetables and more precious blooms corralled into a tidy parterre crisscrossed with pea gravel pathways that recalls the best ornamental gardens in France and England. “It’s inspired by a Victorian maze and is designed to be seen best from above,” says Richard.

As they’ve created their outdoor spaces, the pair have become students of permaculture — a sustainable approach to working the land — seeking advice from specialists in the area, most notably, expert Caroline Gosselin. For the designers (and soon-to-be flower farmers), gardening has become a way of life. “Humminghill is about creating a place with purpose, where we can grow flowers and vegetables, enjoy a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, entertain and share good times,” says Richard.

Here, Richard and Maxime tour their vibrant, hardworking garden.

Author: Katie Hayden

André Rider


House & Home May 2020


Richard Ouellete & Maxime Vandal, Les Ensembliers