The Rose Garden

June 10, 2015


I hope I will live long enough to experience the time when computers will manage to send fragrances. It would be so nice to be able to share the scents of Giverny. The roses are in full bloom, and their delicate perfume fills in the air. In the water garden, it mingles with the sweet scent of honey suckle, creating a very girly combination, the kind of fragrance I loved to wear as a teenager. I wonder if the teenagers of today still like it. But I see everyday how ladies love smelling flowers. To get most of a peony or an iris, the best is to put one’s nose in the petals. It is so good it gets addictive. Is this a feminine gesture, as a female visitor suggested it to me? I remember a photo of Georges Clemenceau smelling a rose. The Tiger himself! With such an example, gentlemen should feel free to indulge in this pleasure.

An Invisible Pattern

April 25, 2015


Seen on a map or from the windows of his home, Monet’s flower garden aligns straight lines that ressemble almost a grid. But because Monet raised the flower beds, an oblique look through the garden doesn’t reveal the walkways. Instead, it gives the feeling of an endless flowered meadow full of striking colors. Blues are made by forget-me-not, while tulips, fritillaries and pansies provide all the colors of the painters palette. (Click on picture to enlarge)

This Extraordinary Spring Glow

April 11, 2015


In April, as soon as the sun shines, Monet’s garden radiates. The colors are brighter than ever. Greens are vibrant. Red tulips flame in their complementary color. All the upside down bells of the bulb flowers resemble shiny laterns that have just been switched on.

What is the reason therefore? A freshly washed air, cool enough not to contain any haze? Or is it due to the height of the sun? I don’t know. But it is properly amazing and special to early spring. The glow of April makes you want to come out in the garden, to paint and to photograph.

The Desk in Monet’s Bedroom

December 27, 2014



Here is a close-up of the desk that can be seen in Claude Monet’s bedroom at Giverny. It is from the mid 18th Century and features music instruments, not painting material. It was already an antique when Monet purchased it.

During the second half of his life Monet became famous. Recognised as a great painter, he sold his paintings at high prices. This enabled him to live a comfortable life.

The desk was restored last winter and found its original colors again.

Early Morning

September 14, 2014

Early in the morning, the low sunbeams stroke the flowers at Giverny. Some mist still hangs in the air, like the dreams of the night. There is a feeling of awakening.

The little lanes of Monet’s garden look even more inviting. Early in the morning, minutes after opening time, the Clos Normand is still silent. One can hear the plants breathing, almost.

It is a magical moment that must be picked up quickly. Shortly later, the air will be full of voices, and the place full of people.

Autumn Peace

November 9, 2013

On the 30th of October, the perfectly serene pool in Claude Monet’s garden offers a mirror view of the world around.

Blue sky and turning trees create a bold contrast between the still floating water lily pads.

(Click on the picture to enlarge).

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.

Roses Everywhere

June 26, 2012

Just an idea of the profusion of roses blooming in June at Giverny!

For a few weeks, Monet’s garden becomes a rose garden.

Rambling, climbing roses climb on dozens of metallic structures, typical for a garden designed in the 19th Century.

Pretty Pink Poppies

June 7, 2012

After the yellow and orange Iceland poppies, and the enormous red perennial Chinese poppies, it is now time for the lovely pink annual poppies.

Each year, when they pull the dried ones out of the ground, the gardeners scatter the seeds in the flower beds. They grow everywhere, and they turn the garden into a pink fairy for a few days.

The eremurus, also known as fox tails, create an interesting contrast with their vertical shape.

They are topped by the climbing roses, at their best in June.

Monet’s Pond

May 20, 2012

This is Monet’s pond at Giverny seen from the Japanese Bridge in May, when the wisterias are in bloom.

The water lily pads float like islands on the surface. No flowers yet.

Short before closing time, visitors are few. The late afternoon sunshine enlightens the trees on the eastern side of the pool. Silence falls on the garden. The scent of the flowers is in the air.

Monet’s Greenhouse

December 21, 2011

monet-greenhouseAre you curious to have a look inside of Monet’s greenhouse, that is not open to the public?
I was! With the allowance of the gardener, I took this picture last July.
Even in Summer many plants need to be kept inside. Some of them will decorate the house, others will be used to adornate the meeting rooms when VIPs come to Giverny, others are waiting for being planted, others are mother plants…
Monet was such a keen gardener that he built a greenhouse on the location of this one, on the left side of the flower garden. It was heated, and the painter cultivated orchids and exotic ferns. He also grew his seedlings in the greenhouse.

Autumn at Giverny

November 17, 2011

autumn-spirit-givernyThis is how Monet’s pond looks on November 1st, minutes before closing for the winter.
Soft or spectacular, according to sunshine.

Through the Window

September 29, 2011

A look through the window of Monet’s studio, on the ground floor of his house at Giverny.

The garden appears like an additional painting among the canvases hanging on the wall.

The Snowy Garden

January 7, 2009

An unusual view of Giverny: Monet’s water garden is covered by snow.

Not much but enough to transfigure the usually colourfull garden.  The pond is frozen, except for the place around the island and the borders.

In the background the roses arches at the dock are still there as a landmark to the dormant garden.

Series Painting: A Small World

September 11, 2008

Claude Monet made his garden famous by painting it over and over again. There are 272 canvases by Monet featuring his water garden, not to speak about the Grandes Decorations, these oversized panels that can be seen at l’Orangerie Museum in Paris.

Monet didn’t want any other motive for almost twenty years. He was in his seventies and eighties and didn’t feel like travelling for long painting campaigns anymore.

In addition there was war, the first World War from 1914 through 1918. Monet preferred to stay in his garden to paint. Here he found all the inspiration he needed.

Monet painted his pond or his bridge repeatedly, because for him there were never the same. What he wanted to render was not especially a flower or a bridge, but the light on them, the air that wraps them. And the light changes all the time.