Entries Categorized as 'Flower'
June 30, 2015
Claude Monet was never tired of painting his water lilies, because they are ever changing. They open, they close, they float on a mirror that reflects the clouds passing, the sun getting higher and lower in the sky. Monet painted his water lilies relentlessly, almost 300 times.
It is a question that visitors I guide through the gardens ask regularly: “Do you ever get tired of it?” No, never. How could one get tired of beauty?
March 11, 2015
The first sunny days are warming up the soil of Giverny. In Monet’s gardens, the bravest flowers are popping out, most of them discreetly. Their bright petals make little dots of colors on the still bare ground. Pansies, snowdrops, crocuses, dwarf tulips and the first jonquils are a joy to look at. Among all these planted flowers, the eranthis impress by the carpets they make. Winter aconites are able to cover a curve of the pond bank, a nice place that will soon be shaded by tall trees.
The eranthis is in a hurry because it needs to bloom, go to seeds and renew its food storage in its bulb in no time, that is to say before the leaves of the trees over it become too big. When the sun can’t shine through anymore, the leaves of the eranthis dry up and die. But not the plant itself! Life is stored underground, waiting patiently for three seasons to pass. Then, in February, the new shoots of eranthis appear, followed by the lovely yellow flowers in March, like miniature suns emerging from an interesting foliage. But with this plant the motto is ‘love it… and leave it alone’ because it is poisonous, just like the common aconite.
November 17, 2013
The common name of this beautiful flower that grows in Monet’s water garden is a bit strange: it’s called toad lily.
The appearance of this perennial is more orchid like.
It requires a moist soil, as do toads, part shade under trees, and in these conditions it is very hardy.
The tricyrtis appears late in season.
This picture was taken in October.
October 27, 2012
Claude Monet planted a beautiful bamboo grove in his water garden at Giverny.
Bamboos are ever green. This picture was taken on the 1st of November, the very last day of the season, and even on such a late date bamboos were as pretty as ever.
Bamboos are not native to France. The golden bamboos that Monet chose look very tall and exotic in Normandy.
Monet liked growing giant plants and Japanese plants, and bamboos were both at the same time.
As a clever gardener, the painter chose the best location for them: on an island of his water garden, where they would get enough water, and where the invasive roots would be contained by the stream.
He never painted them, but certainly liked the contrast their shade produces with the pond, that is open and full of light.
After Monet passed away, the garden was left without much tending for long years. But the bamboos have survived, because they regenerate spontaneously, making new shoots every year.
During the decades when Monet’s house was left uninhabited, the garden became the playground of the children of Giverny. One of their favorite games was playing Tarzan in Monet’s bamboo grove. For them, it looked like a rain forest.
August 15, 2012
This flower bed graces the pond side in Monet’s water garden at Giverny. The main color is red, ranging from orange to purple. I’ve counted over 20 different kinds of flowers planted together, but there are probably more. Here are a few: New Guinea impatience, common begonia, angel wing begonia, common fuchsia, fuchsia microphylla, abutilon, asclepia, oxalys, sage, tithonia, heuchera, polygonum, sweet William, nicotinia… to quote only those that are flowering right now. This border is a good example of the way Monet liked to combine flowers. The appearant wildness of the garden is the result of a lot of work.
April 30, 2012
Tulips spread their colors these weeks at Giverny. It is one of the times of year when the monet garden is at its brightest. The big colorful heads stand side by side, being planted tight, undisturbed by any leaves, that are much lower.
Tulips have the ability of looking thick and massive in direct or mute light, and totally different as soon as the sun shines through their petals. Then, in late afternoon for instance, they become delicate and light, they seem to loose any weight and dance in the breeze.
April 21, 2012
I have eventually gathered my favorite pictures of Giverny into a photo gallery.
Season after season, Monet’s water garden and flower garden change a lot.
I like early morning atmospheres as well as rainy days, bright sunshine or sunset. I like the snow white garden. I like roses and nympheas. I like the colors of autumn, the stunning reflections on the pond.
I hope you will like them too.
If you’d like painting after my pictures, please feel free. I would be happy to see your work.
August 1, 2011
This is one of the most impressive flower beds at Giverny: a vibrant combination of pink and red pelargoniums displayed on oval patterns, just in front of Claude Monet’s house. They look very much like carpets of flowers at the foot of the facade.
Pelargoniums, known until recently as geraniums, are the most popular Summer flowers in France. They were my grand mother’s favorite on her windows. No wonder, they are so resistant, easy to grow, long flowering and colorful!
Pelargoniums are commonly used in pots, it is a nice change to plant them in the garden where their rich tones flame in sunny spots.
In Monet’s gardens, they make their come back every year in May just after the last tulips. According to the mood of the gardener, they are planted either by color – an entirely red border and a fully pink one side by side – or mixed like this year. I prefer the latter option. It looks less formal, and more ‘painted’.
A border of pelargoniums in Monet’s garden? It doesn’t sound very exciting. Actually, it is daring. This red and pink carpet surprises many visitors, astonished to encounter such a low and formal flower bed at last, after so many unusual, overgrown mixed borders.
The explanation is the need of contrast. In late Summer, when huge flowers overwhelm visitors meandering along, it is nice to have a corner where you can breath, see in the distance. After the wood, the clearance.
Contrast, one of Monet’s favorite painting trick.
July 3, 2011
Water lilies are sensitive to cold. When the night is overcast and mild, they are all open in the morning. But if the night is clear, they close and need several hours of sunshine to open again.
They like a warm water not only to open, but also to bloom. On Monet’s pond, water lilies are gorgeous during heat waves, they become scarce during rainy and cool periods.
This is true for a big pond like Giverny. For gardeners who would like to grow water lilies in a wash basin, it is wise to look for a partly shaded spot. In direct sunshine, the water of a small container becomes very warm. If some like it hot, it is not the case of water lilies.
August 1, 2010
Water lilies are summer flowers.
They like a warm water and a lot of sunshine.
In Monet’s garden at Giverny, the Nympheas that grace the pond are at their peak.
Their crowns of pale petals reflect in the changing colors of the surface, creating harmonies that inspire the many painters visiting the gardens.
May 22, 2010
Every year in May, the yellow fields scattered all around in the countryside of Normandy intrigue visitors.
– What are they? they keep asking, struck by the vibrant color. No other crop induces so many questions.
– Rapeseed fields, I answer, trying to speak as distinctly as possible.
When visitors of Giverny come from a region of the world where rapeseed is unknown, they frown. They don’t want to believe that this is the real name of the plant. I must be wrong. They ask me to repeat.
I explain all what is done with rapeseed, oil, the green gasoline we call diester, and food for the cattle. I would so much prefer to answer, well, it is mustard for the french fries, you know! I long for next month, when the rapeseed will be blown, and the flax in blossom.
– What are the pale blue fields? people will ask, and they will be only too happy to see where their linen come from.
May 7, 2010
American visitors to Giverny often ask to which agricultural zone Giverny belongs. A puzzling question indeed, as these zones aren’t commonly used in France!
Asking about the coldest temperature in Winter doesn’t help a lot, because the Frenchs count in Celsius, not in Farenheit.
I finally found the answer: Giverny is in zone 8.
During the coldest night of the last Winter, temperatures reached -13°C, that is to say 8°F. This is OK for many plants, trees and bushes, except the most fragile.
Some flowers even need frost to understand that it is Winter, and then Spring. If tulips, for instance, don’t get all the cold they need, they will sulk and refuse to bloom the next Spring!
April 21, 2010
It has been sunny and dry lately at Giverny. So, when the gardeners start watering in Monet’s gardens, it sounds like a relief not only for flowers.
All sorts of tiny little creatures start moving again, as long as the leaves are wet enough to slide on them.
I admired this cute little pink snail and its incredible sense of balance on the edge of a tulip leaf.
Cute, but certainly greedy too! Isn’t it a shame to feed oneself on Monet’s flowers?
July 19, 2009
A purple bush rose frames the big window of Monet’s first studio at Giverny.
Purple roses are not very common, nor look very natural, but they provide a strong impact. This one has a sweet name: lavender dream. It is lovely in springtime when it flowers in numerous small simple roses.
It is too late now for roses, but it is the right time to see -and smell- lavender in bloom at Giverny, as a slight reminiscence to Provence. It perfumes the air, together with phlox and lilies.
June 5, 2009
Dancing in the air.
Landing on petals.
Smelling the heavy scents of flowers.
Rolling in stamens.
Living on nectar.
To be or not to be a bee.