Charlotte Harris draws on the overwhelming beauty of remote boreal forests for her garden
The wilderness did not sound as I had expected: there was the lap of water against the canoe, the haunting call of a loon across a lake, a rustle in the forest – all sounds that, if not familiar, are at least expected. But it was also eerily quiet: at one point, I heard a dry rasping from behind and then ahead, only to realise it was the sound of a large crow flying a slow, leisurely path away from us.
Last autumn, the garden designer Charlotte Harris and I travelled to Northern Ontario in Canada to explore the boreal forest; to learn how this ecosystem works, how it knits together people, plants, animals, fungi and water. We'd come to take note of what grew where, to inform the show garden she is designing for the Royal Bank of Canada at Chelsea, to mark the nation's 150th anniversary (and 10 years of the bank's Blue Water project). My role was to steer the canoe and eat as much wild food as I could find.