by Ariane ~ March 8, 2017
What is so different and appealing with Monet’s flower garden is its very natural look. The gardeners apply themselves to avoid that flowers seem regimented.
It is not as simple as it sounds. We as humans have a tendency to organize. Spontaneously, unconsciously, what we do and make turns out to be regular.
One of the gardeners’ trick for planting bulbs randomly is to throw them on the ground, the bare ground of late Autumn. Where the bulb fell, there it is planted.
This tip works for camassias or tulips. Biennals are planted by color patches that combine different varieties, wallflowers, pansies, violas… Sizes, shapes and hues of the same color help creating the impressionist brushstrokes feeling.
by Ariane ~ February 19, 2017
Violas and pansies are among the cutest flowers that accept to bloom during winter time at Giverny. They belong to the same family, pansies being bigger than violas. But the latter compensate by having loads of adorable little flowers, often marked by black lines that resemble ink drawings.
Here is viola ‘Tiger Eyes’. With some imagination you may want to compare this black and yellow design with the stripes of a tiger, and the black maculas with his eyes. A very proud name indeed for such a tiny and harmless flower!
Violas and pansies need some warmth to flower. Depending of the winter weather they start early or wait until spring. More trustful are snow drops, that grow in many places in Monet’s garden at Giverny. Their favorite time is February, snow or shine.
They bloom for the pleasure of the gardeners and of the first butterflies, like this Small Tortoiseshell. No visitors yet: the Monet garden is closed up to March 23, 2017 included.
by Ariane ~ February 6, 2017
The beautiful water garden created by the impressionist master Claude Monet at Giverny still inspires painters.
Monet’s house and gardens will re-open on March 24, 2017. I’m looking forward to it. It is such a joy to work daily in this beauty giving guided tours to wonderful people. I miss flowers so much. What about you?
by Ariane ~ January 6, 2017
I wish you a joyful and peaceful, lovely and happy, awesome and handsome year 2017.
Hoping to see you in Giverny this year.
Monet’s gardens are still closed, but the sky does its great show. I can’t get enough of it. Do you like sunrises and sunsets too?
The old year has set, the new one is rising, full of hope. Bonne année !
by Ariane ~ December 30, 2016
If you live in another corner of the world it may be hard for you to imagine what Giverny looks like in the winter. Monet’s gardens and house, as well as the museum of Impressionisms Giverny, are closed from November to the end of March (March 24, 2017 is the re-opening day).
The reason therefore: there isn’t much to see. Monet’s garden is a painter’s garden full of flowers and colors, and right now, it is too cold for flowers. On a nice sunny day, it may be lovely to walk around the pond looking for interesting reflections. But on an overcast or foggy day the experience lacks of charm.
The flower beds are being replanted for the next spring. A few green leaves indicate where stunning fox gloves or colorful wallflowers will stand in a few months. Even with a lot of gardener’s imagination it is impossible to figure out the magical feeling of their full bloom in springtime.
Monet himself didn’t paint his garden during the winter. He preferred the seaside, snow effects in Norway, or cityscapes in London or Venice.
If you still intend to tour Giverny while the garden is closed, be prepared to stay out of Monet’s Foundation. The village itself is peaceful, just like any village in the countryside. You will see a few places that Monet painted, poplars along the Epte, the banks of the river Seine, the old mill and the church of Vernon. Don’t forget to pay him a visit on his grave next to the church of Giverny. The cemetery is open year round.
by Ariane ~ November 21, 2016
Claude Monet, Meule (Grainstack) 1891, private collection
This very colorful sunset at Giverny behind a grainstack has just sold at auction for 81.4 million dollars, setting a new record for a work by Claude Monet.
For this sale Christie’s has published a very interesting booklet that you can read on line here. It details the making of the work and its significance in art history. You will also read why it is not a haystack!
by Ariane ~ November 10, 2016
Thanksgiving is a typically North American feast that we don’t have in Europe, but I wish to borrow it for a moment to say a big end-of-the-year Thank You.
Thank you to all the people who visited France this year, and to those who traveled to Giverny.
Thank you to the staff of Giverny, especially to the gardeners, for making it such a lovely place to enjoy.
Thank you to the sun that was so present last summer and autumn.
And thank you to mother Nature for creating all the heart shaped leaves that I like so much and love discovering in the gardens.
by Ariane ~ October 21, 2016
Is it worth visiting Monet’s gardens in October? Yes it is!
While the other gardens open to the public have closed or are already preparing their winter borders, at Giverny the fall flowers are at their best.
They have been patiently selected for their longevity to last till the end.
If frost waits for a few more weeks as it is suppose to do, the show will go on until closing day (November 1st).
by Ariane ~ September 16, 2016
September is a magic time at Giverny. In Monet’s gardens, all the summer flowers had ample time to settle and offer generously their fascinating beauty. It is an endless surprise to discover the latest varieties of giant dahlias, picked out from the thousands of existing cultivars. They combine in the pink border above with cleomes, sages, zinnias, roses and ageratums, displaying all the different tones from pale pink to deep purple.
In yellow beds, it is time for huge sunflowers of all kinds, coreopsis and black eyed Susan, anthemis, and for some contrast the strange shapes of amaranthus caudatus, whose common name I’m not so fond of: ‘Love lies bleeding’.
This sad name is certainly not in tune with the atmosphere of flowery feast that reigns in the Giverny garden. The alleys are full of lovers that walk hand in hand with a happy smile on their faces. The borders are so high in this season that they provide intimacy. It is a wonderful experience to feel merged in flowers.
by Ariane ~ September 2, 2016
Early in the morning, the rising sun shines through the foliage in Monet’s water garden at Giverny, in a corner that is shaded the rest of the day.
by Ariane ~ August 15, 2016
I’m posting a photo of Giverny a day on facebook.
I would be please to see you there!
These pics are taken from the perpetual calendar I published.
If you wish to order it, just drop me a comment and I will be in touch.
by Ariane ~ July 4, 2016
The birds are not the only ones that sing at Giverny. Today I heard a gentleman whistling a melody in the tunnel leading to the water garden. It was so on key and sounded so well that every body stopped to listen.
A bit later, a little girl sitting under the weeping willow hummed a nursery rhyme. A group of teenagers “that had been singing in the coach all the way from Paris to Giverny” according to their teacher continued in Monet’s gardens with all the good old hits of the Eighties they knew.
And then, the smiles. I love to see how people look happy when they come back from standing on the Japanese bridge, after they have realized that they are there, for real.
And all the bright smiles visitors have for the camera. The funny poses they strike.
I too must smile at the school children on a day trip that yell, super excited: “Here are the water lilies! We found them!”
I share the exhilaration of keen gardeners looking at all the botanical marvels of Giverny. I can feel the concentration of the artists sitting on benches and drawing.
Why is Giverny so popular? Because it is the perfect place to feel a perfect moment of joie de vivre!
by Ariane ~ June 21, 2016
Thanks to Louise, the fairies that fly in Monet’s gardens at Giverny can be seen at last. Look at this handsome little guy reflecting into Monet’s water lily pond… It is no problem to walk on the water as long as you’ve got dragonfly wings and a magic wand! (click to enlarge and see all the lovely details).
Louise sent me a few of these adorable works she’s done using my photos of Monet’s garden as a background. I love the delicate and sensitive way she peoples the garden with airy little beings. If you want to see more of them, please write a comment.
Edit of 27 June 2016
Thank you for your comment, Carol, here you are!
by Ariane ~ June 16, 2016
In June, all the water lilies flower on Monet’s pond, beautiful and delicate corollas in different tones of pink and soft yellow or white.
The foxgloves stand out everywhere in the garden, like giant sentinels that tower far above our heads.
The long lasting columbines team with other small flowers like geums and catchfly to offer a light foam of little dots of color. Elsewhere, annual poppies turn the garden pink or red.
June is the month of roses. At Giverny they stand or climb on dozens of metallic structures or on fences. Their scent is a delight…
by Ariane ~ June 10, 2016
In the cemetery of Giverny, a grave indicated by British flags stands out. “These seven air men fell and were buried together”, it says. Seven plaques with a personal sentence remember their names. These young men were flying a Lancaster that was hit by the DCA and fell in the fields not far from the Seine river, the day after D-Day (7th June 1944). A photo taken probably shortly before they died shows them all.
The tomb is much visited. People leave stones, or flowers like the paper poppies. On June 7, two English ladies had decided to pay these soldiers a tribute by leaving a hand written message on the grave. “On this, the 72nd anniversary of the loss of you all, such brave and such young men, it is due to your sacrifice and others like you that we are free today. Thank you. We come here to remember you and to pay tribute. From Deux Anglaises.”