The majestic Château Frontenac stands proud over Québec City and the St. Lawrence River. The grounds of the famed hotel are landscaped to perfection – sprawling gardens, tumbling flowers, and beautifully pruned greenery. Don’t think topiary, though; think larger-than-life shapes and animals sculpted out of plants and flowers – a niche horticultural art called “mosaïculture.”
And it’s a niche that owner Louis Têtu of Balco Décor has carved for himself, earning the small company major contracts with Québec City landmarks, such as City Hall, Old Québec, and the historic Château Frontenac. “What we like doing most is just making cities beautiful, which horticultural art allows us to do,” explains Têtu, “The fortune I have in my profession, I feel pride when a tourist takes a photo next to my work and when someone asks if the flowers are real. They’re real plants used to create extraordinary effects in the city.”
For 27 years, Balco Décor has been doing residential and commercial landscaping, diversifying into horticultural art in the early 2000s. While many would consider landscaping a humble industry, Têtu is highly creative and restless to evolve and innovate, “We’ve been around for 27 years, but we’ve been constantly progressing to create new things.” He and his team have since won provincial awards and travelled overseas to participate in international competitions.
Running a business that is so highly specialized, though, comes with its own set of challenges – Têtu spends a lot of time on the road getting to clients. And the road often leads up and down mountains through Québec’s unforgiving winters. Having owned a Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle, and currently using a Sprinter Cab Chassis for watering and irrigation work, Têtu is a fan of Mercedes-Benz products. He long dreamed of the ultimate work and recreation vehicle, “A non-4x4 was unthinkable – I live on a mountain.” When the Sprinter 4x4 came on the market, Têtu jumped at the opportunity. With some upfitting, he knew it could take him not only to job sites, but also to remote snowboarding and hiking trails in the off-season.
Now fully insulated and configured to accommodate sleep and travel, even in extreme Québec cold, Têtu’s Sprinter 4x4 serves as a work vehicle and a year-round travel companion. With solar panels and a generator, the 4x4 allows him to work and create art while on the road, as well as gives him the opportunity to explore and feed his creativity, “Travelling allows me to have a creative mind. It allows me to re-energize myself.” In work and life, Têtu is clearly not one to shy away from a challenge, “It gives me a sense of pride to transform something, to be able to bring it to another level. As an innovative company, the Sprinter 4x4 was a way to innovate. It’s practically unthinkable now to buy a pickup. The Sprinter truly complements my work.”
For Têtu, the Mercedes-Benz brand represents high quality and innovation, passion and inspiration – a strong image he then projects to his clients, “I go with what I believe is best for the customer. I’m very proud. I’m quite pleased to drive this van and have people notice it.” Adventurous and always on the move, Têtu is keen to make first tracks in his Sprinter 4x4 – both in his profession and in the fresh snowfall of Québec’s mountains.