Lily Pads

by Ariane ~ July 23, 2013

lily-padsWater lily pads floating on Claude Monet’s pond at Giverny have a strange ability of changing their color. When they first pop they are purple, like the ones upside down on the pic. The sunlight turns them green. Claude Monet, who was a good observer of his garden, had noted these two colors. On some of his Nymphea paintings he made them green with a purple circle around.

June at Giverny

by Ariane ~ June 23, 2013

With the start of the Summer, flowers become a bit mad at Giverny.

They grow crazily in the garden of Claude Monet, enjoying the combination of mild weather and moisture typical for the Seine valley in this time of year.

Poppies, peonies, roses harmonize with eremurus, yellow sweet rocket or Canterbury bells in a charming way.

Wherever you look, you see waves and waves of flowers. No line interrupts them.

The secret of Claude Monet was to rise his flower beds slightly, in order to hide the path behind.

 

Monet’s Studio

by Ariane ~ May 20, 2013

The first studio occupied by Claude Monet is part of his main house at Giverny. In this room, Monet stored the paintings he didn’t want to sell, to keep a record of the steps of his career.

Nowadays, the furniture is still authentic, as well as the objects decorating the room, but the paintings are all copies. Monet lined them on the walls on several rows up to the ceiling.

This studio was restored recently, it looks as if Monet had just left it.

Monet’s Property at Giverny

by Ariane ~ April 20, 2013

Monet’s property at Giverny is surrounded by high stone walls. This is nothing special in Normandy, as many estates and gardens are a so called ‘norman enclosure’, in French ‘Clos normand’. The walls are a good protection against rabbits and deers, and excellent for privacy.

Here is a pic of Monet’s second studio seen from the main street of Giverny, rue Claude Monet. This building is not open to the public. It houses offices and reception rooms for the administration of Fondation Claude Monet.

At Monet’s time, it was used as a studio where Monet stored the paintings for sale, and completed them if necessary. Monet designed the studio to receive northern light.

The big green gate was the gate to the garage sheltering his car, a Panhard Levassor that he bought in 1900.

On the far left, Claude Monet’s main house appears in the distance.

Spring is Back!

by Ariane ~ March 26, 2013

After five months of Winter break,  Giverny will open again on Friday, 29th March instead of the traditional April 1st. This early opening is meant to welcome visitors on Easter week-end.

I’m thrilled to be back again soon in these magnificent gardens to share their beauty with you!

Photo: Giverny, April 20, 2012

Early Morning at Giverny

by Ariane ~ February 3, 2013

7:30 a.m. at Giverny, 4 May.

The sun appears behind the hill, enlightening the soft mist lingering over Monet’s pond.

The garden is quiet, peaceful.

Birds are singing the new day.

And light starts its magic on the surface of the water.

Signac Exhibit at Giverny

by Ariane ~ January 6, 2013

“Signac, the Colors of Water” is the title of the next exhibition at the Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny.

It will open on March 29, 2013 and display 120 works by the famous post-impressionist painter Paul Signac.

Signac is well-known for his pointillist, sometimes almost mosaic like paintings. He also loved watercolors for a quick sketch of a place, especially harbors.

Signac was a great admirer of Claude Monet. He stayed for the summer at Les Andelys, not far from Giverny, where Monet visited him and bought him a watercolor.

The Giverny exhibit includes a sumptuous view of the River Seine at Les Andelys belonging to Musée d’Orsay.

Monet’s Yellow Dining Room

by Ariane ~ December 17, 2012

Here is another view of Claude Monet’s yellow dining room at Giverny. Bright, charming, cozy, it is often considered inspiring by people seeking new ideas for their home.

The red and creamy tiles on the floor are typical for the local 19th Century style and can be found in many houses around. The furniture, including buffets and chairs, was also widely spread. Monet’s novelty was to paint it in these two tones of yellow.

Nevertheless, a strange spell lies on this dining room. Many visitors remember it as the “yellow kitchen”. However, the neighboring kitchen is absolutely blue, as you can spot through the door.

Impressionist Spring Colors

by Ariane ~ November 23, 2012

While Giverny is closed for the winter, the gardeners of Fondation Monet are busier than ever. They are getting Monet’s gardens ready for next spring. After pulling out the annuals and cutting the perennials down to ground, they prepare the soil and start the planting. Thousands of bulbs must be planted as soon as possible, preferably before frost.

The beds in front of Monet’s home obey the same color schemes every year. Enormous tulips in different shades of pink combine with blue forget-me-not. The trick is to choose a palette of tones ranging from apricot to mauve to obtain an illusion of brushstrokes. The effect lasts longer than expected because early and late blooming tulips are used together.  A row of dianthus surrounds the beds.

Next to these most impressive pink tulip beds, a border made with different kinds of yellow wallflowers  offers a strong contrast in terms of color, size and shape. This border located under the pink blossom of three crab apple trees is partly shaded. Mauve blue bells scattered among the wall flowers produce an effect of shade and sunshine. The border is lined by white daisies. Last spring the gardeners added white tulips, for a very fresh result.

Bamboo grove

by Ariane ~ 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.

 

Opening 30 March 2013

by Ariane ~ October 5, 2012

Next year, the Easter week-end is the last week-end of March.

The direction of Fondation Claude Monet has thus decided exceptionnally to open the gardens of Giverny on Saturday 30 March at 9.30am.

This will be two days earlier than the normal date.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Beauties of October

by Ariane ~ October 4, 2012

This is how the Monet garden at Giverny looks this week. The gently sloping “Norman Enclosure”, Monet’s backyard, offers an explosion of dahlias of all kinds, and amazing sunflowers, black eyed Susans, nicotinias, sages, nasturtiums, asters, cosmos, castor plants, zinnias, marigolds, daturas, fox tails, etc etc.

It is SO beautiful!

All these flowers harmonize by colors in monochromatic flower beds. Here the orange version. You will also see red borders, purple ones, pink ones, yellow ones… The garden is typically impressionist in late season.

In the water garden, the last water lilies float on the pond. The light is ever changing, providing continuously renewed effects. The foliages have started to change their color.

Fall is one of my favorite time at Giverny. I would not be surprised if it would have been Monet’s favorite time too.

Flowing Flowers

by Ariane ~ August 31, 2012

This is the main alley of Monet’s garden at Giverny, as it looks right now: the nasturtiums planted in May are progressively covering the path.

They ressemble a river of flowers, and with a bit of imagination you almost see them flowing.

What for? To fill the water lily pond of the water garden, of course!

Red Border

by Ariane ~ 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.

Moor Hens

by Ariane ~ July 26, 2012

Here are the moor hens living on Claude Monet’s pond at Giverny.

Every year, they nest on the island in the middle of the pond, or in the shrubs around. After a few weeks, they appear on the water with their adorable little chicks, five of them generally.

They are so sweet, light enough to walk on the lily pads. Both parents take care of them. But it won’t help.

Because we are human beings with a memory, we know what’s going to happen next: the ducklings will end in the belly of the pike living in the pond. This is the cruel story that repeats every year.

But because they are moor hens, and have not much space for brains in their head, they forget every year and keep nesting on the same location.

This afternoon two of the smalls only were left.