Entries Categorized as 'Flower'

Giverny Beauties

April 28, 2017

japanese-bridge-giverny

Spring makes us all want to walk in beautiful gardens. At Giverny, azaleas and tulips gradually give way to irises, peonies and wisterias. The first water lilies should open within two weeks, recreating once more Monet’s beautiful setting and endless source of inspiration.  orange-tulip-bed-giverny

In the flower garden, visitors meander inside of a living painting where flowers recreate the illusion of brushstrokes. Monet had good reasons to claim that his garden was his most beautiful masterpiece.

fringed-tulips

Just like you can see the brushwork when you tour an exhibition and have a close look at paintings, at Giverny each single flower is a little universe in itself, offering its beauties to our admiration.

 

Winter Flowers of Giverny

February 19, 2017

viola-tiger-eyes 

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. 

snow-drops-small-tortoiseshell

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. 

The Flowers of Mid-May

May 15, 2016

aquilegia

After tulips, what kind of flowers steel the show at Giverny? Among my favorite are aquilegias, for their delicacy, strange shapes and wide range of colors including white and black, yellow and blue, and pink. Their light foliage is a beauty.

camassia

Camassias are late spring bulbs that grow rather tall.

tree-peony

Pink tree peonies are short lasting little wonders,

tree-peony-giverny

just like this one that looks more modern.

iris

Irises are just starting.

wisteria-boats-giverny

The vines are at their best. Here the wisterias over the Japanese footbridge,

clematis-montana

And the Clematis montana covering the trellises in the flower garden.

The Ideal Bench

April 6, 2016

bench-hyacinths

Did you ever try and grow a hyacinth in your kitchen? If so, you certainly remember how fragrant a single bulb is. So imagine being seated on this green bench in Monet’s garden, wrapped by the scent of hundreds of hyacinths… This is an early April rapture at Giverny.

The brand of the bench, le banc idéal – the ideal bench – has nothing to do with the floral wonders of Giverny. But it sounds appropriate, doesn’t it?

Flowered Letters

October 4, 2015

letterbox-giverny

At Giverny in Rue Claude Monet, one of the mail boxes to send letters and postcards is located amid flowers.

In October, the helianthus are big enough to reach the height of the mail box.

Their yellow hues match the  official color of La Poste boxes.

Having to  make your way through the flowers to post your mail makes paying the bills just a little more fun.

Water Lily’s Beauty

June 30, 2015

giverny-nymphea2

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?

Eranthis or Winter Aconite

March 11, 2015

eranthis.jpgThe 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.

Tricyrtis

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.

Bamboo grove

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.

 

Red Border

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.

Translucent Flowers

April 30, 2012

purple-tulipsTulips 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.

Giverny Photo Gallery

April 21, 2012

giverny-monet-pondI 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.

A Carpet of Flowers

August 1, 2011

giverny-pelargoniumThis 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.

Sensitive Water Lilies

July 3, 2011

white-nympheaWater 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.

Time for 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.