Le Centre horticole Bastien celebrates its 20th anniversary

Since April 2002, Jessie Bogemans and Normand Bastien have been delighted to welcome gardening enthusiasts to the Centre horticole Bastien in Terrebonne, which has recently added a new market gardening component. This year, the Groupex member enterprise celebrates its 20th anniversary with special promotions, contests, and a Harvest Festival set to take place on September 24.

Long before the production and sale of plants (annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs), there was landscaping, Jessie Bogemans recounts, whose meeting with Normand Bastien dates back to their studies in ornamental horticulture at the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire. “We both came from agricultural businesses – me from the South Shore, and him from the North Shore. We started in landscaping, but our goal was to have our own garden center, and there was really a need in Terrebonne. So, we launched, just the two of us!” recalls Jessie, who is today surrounded by a team of 25 employees.

A Family Story

In the early 2000s, the couple of horticulturists thus established their business on a plot of land already owned by the Bastien family for their sod farm. “There was nothing at all: it was a field of grass! We built everything ourselves,” Jessie continues proudly. It’s at this location, on Chemin Martin in Terrebonne, that their small enterprise grew into the vast current Bastien Horticultural Center, serving a clientele of individuals, municipalities, businesses, golf courses, and more.

Over the years, Jessie and Normand have expanded their nursery to include a wide variety of plant species, in addition to continuing to offer planning and landscaping services. “We wanted to create a place more rustic than commercial, where things aren’t arranged alphabetically,” she says. “A peaceful garden that stimulates our clients’ imagination.” And since last year, their son Maxime has been diversifying the offerings: the family business now also provides a range of greenhouse-grown vegetables, with heirloom tomatoes taking a prominent spot.

“As there are few fruit and vegetable kiosks in our area, there was great potential, but we didn’t have the time to take care of it! It was Maxime who, as part of his training in horticultural production at Lionel-Groulx College, created a business plan to develop this component, and we used it to obtain grants. Then, when everything stopped at the beginning of COVID, we took the opportunity to start growing our vegetables,” explains Jessie.

Maxime is currently continuing his studies in agricultural management at McGill University, while the Centre horticole Bastien continues its market gardening expansion, with an additional 160,000 square feet allocated to tomatoes, eggplants, melons, and herbs. It’s worth noting that his brother Xavier and sister Jeanne also work at the horticultural center: the former takes care of landscaping and infrastructure, while the latter provides customer service. The entire Bastien clan thus contributes to the family business’s activities.

The importance of helping each other

In addition to relying on two generations of Bastiens, the Horticultural Center is also part of other “families” that support it. There’s Groupex, of which it has been a member for 17 years: “Being part of a purchasing group is a great advantage for us, and the boost it gives us in administration and marketing is really a plus,” says Jessie about the cooperative. “Since the creation of our company, I like meeting other entrepreneurs to exchange or share tips. It’s really inspiring!”

The two entrepreneurs from Terrebonne are also involved in foundations and associations active in their community. For example, Jessie leads the ecoterritory component of the Société de développement et d’animation de Mascouche (SODAM), whose main mission is to develop new environmental initiatives.

Normand, for his part, is president of Jardin Moore, a public garden with educational and tourist purposes that everyone can enjoy since its reopening in 2015. The co-founder of the Horticultural Center also offers popular training sessions on horticulture, vegetable gardens, or permaculture; another beautiful way to pass on the knowledge and expertise acquired by the Bastiens over their two successful decades in business in the MRC des Moulins.”