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I just returned from a visit to Mosaïcultures Internationales, taking place this year at the Montreal Botanical Garden. From the photos, you can see that it’s an amazing show, which runs through Sept. 29. If you are in the area, make plans for a visit. The event takes place only once every three years.

What is “mosaiculture”? Each sculpture is constructed with a steel frame that’s covered by a metal trellis in the shape of the final sculpture. “The structure is then enveloped with a soil-impregnated netting into which each seedling, specially cultivated for mosaiculture, must be planted by hand,” according to the exhibit web site. Planting begins in the greenhouse in spring, where the sculptures remain until the plants have grown. Plants — mostly annuals and some perennials — are chosen for their colors, texture and uniform growth.

This art form dates back to 15th century Italy, and was developed further in the gardens of France. Organizers point out that Mosaiculture is not the same as topiary, which features mostly shrubs pruned to create different shapes.

To learn more, and plan a visit: Mosaïcultures Internationales

Kay Burde

Kay is an employee-owner at Gardener’s Supply. She lives and gardens in northern Vermont.