Entries from August 2008

Fish Stories

August 30, 2008

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Where there is a bubble, there is a fish.

Many fish live in Monet’s lake at Giverny. They help keeping its balance.

There are many rudd, easy to recognize because of their orange fins, and carp.

The carp are not Koi carp, they are  wild ones. They come from the Seine river.

A few years ago there was a flood. It was like paradise for carp, they went wandering in an almost endless lake.

Unfortunately for the carp, the water receded, and they were trapped in puddles. They would have died, but the gardeners of Giverny saved them with big garbage cans.

They released them in the pond. Since this day they have been doing well. Now they are big carp and likely to become very old.

And there are also pike in the pond. Several ones, but one is especially big and especially nasty.

Two years ago, a couple of moor hens had made their nest on the island in the middle of the pond. When they had their chicks, seven sweet little chicks, they brought them on the pond to teach them how to swim. Then this greedy pike ate them all one by one.

Nasturtiums

August 28, 2008

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The main alley of Monet’s garden at Giverny is invaded by nasturtiums.

Monet planted them this way, but originally, it was not on purpose.

Monet wanted to soften the straight lines of his alley by an edge of small flowers, and he planted what he thought were dwarf nasturtiums. Which appeared to be… rambling ones, and they started to creep over the gravel.

Monet liked this effect, then he repeated it intentionally every year.

It is a talent to know how to use one’s own mistakes.

Tamed Horses

August 22, 2008

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This group feturing a man taming horses can be seen in Vernon’s A. G. Poulain Museum, in the center of the town neighbouring Giverny.

The sculpture is due to Frederick MacMonnies, an American artist who lived and taught for several years in Giverny at the turn of the 20th century.

The man is on a smaller scale than the horses to make them look wilder, and to show the superiority of the spirit over the animal.

Giant Flowers

August 16, 2008

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August is one of the best time to visit Monet’s gardens at Giverny.

The pond is covered by water lilies. The nasturtiums invade dramatically the main alley. And all the summer flowers give their big show.

Late summer is the time for giant flowers. Sunflowers of course, and also giant dahlias, rudbeckias, cosmos or helianthus as thick as walls of flowers. It is a strange feeling to be towered by these tall flowers. Anybody, even basketball players, could play hide and seek in Monet’s garden without bending his head.

This bee is rushing to visit a balsam, a sort of Impatiens which also belongs to this army of giants.

Watering

August 8, 2008

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The sunshine creates rays of light through the mist produced by the watering device in Monet’s garden.

In the summertime most flowers need a lot of water to remain beautiful.

In Monet’s gardens at Giverny the sprinklers are on duty early in the morning and in the evening, to save water and to avoid that visitors get wet, of course.

Roofs of Vernon

August 3, 2008

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A view of the town of Vernon, three miles from Giverny, seen from the top of the Archives Tower.

On the right the church is Vernon’s collegiate church dedicated to our Lady. It hides the houses of Giverny on the other bank of the Seine river.

Although Vernon was severely damaged by bombings during the last world war, this part of the town remains untouched.  Slated or tiled roofs top small town houses piled up along narrow streets. Some of them still exhibit their half timbered walls typical of Normandy.

The houses in the foreground are as old as the keep of the castle on which I was standing, they date back to the 13th century.