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?

Winter Time

February 20, 2016

snow-giverny

This is not the winter we are having at Giverny this year. The last time Monet’s water lily pond looked that way was in 2012.

It was so beautiful then! I roamed in the gorgeous yet closed garden and couldn’t look and shoot enough.

The landscape turned white is not that frequent at Giverny. Although we do get a few flakes every winter and a few nights of frost, generally the weather is more humid than cold. It is overcast, it rains, but not cats and dogs, only kittens and puppies, you know.

Patience. All this will soon be over. Fondation Claude Monet opens rain or shine on March 25, 2016, and the seven-month flower show wil be more beautiful than ever.

Mirror

August 2, 2015

water-lilies-giverny

When there is no wind at all, the water lilies painted by Monet at Giverny seem to be floating in the air.

The surface of the pond is such a perfect mirror that the water turns invisible.

The rafts of water lilies resemble flying carpets en route for a long trip to mysterious countries.

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?

The Frog: Time Sure is Fun When You’re Having Flies

May 18, 2015

frog-monet-pond.jpg

Claude Monet’s water lily pond in May, when frogs croak and sit on pads…

The first Nympheas have opened! They will flower until September.

I’m grateful to the kind visitor that quoted the above title, and then patiently explained to me the related colloquialism and thus the joke. In French we don’t have the same image. We say that time passes in a lightning, le temps passe en un éclair. The way each language expresses reality and experiences its own way is an endless source of amazement and amusement to me.

The Early Spring Garden

January 20, 2015

giverny-windowThis is what Claude Monet could see when he gazed through his bedroom’s window in April. Last year spring was very early and the first colors were already there at the opening of the garden. Wallflowers make a striking effect combined with tulips, while daffodils and jonquils form islands of white and yellow flowers on the lawns. In the distance, the tall trees of the water garden don’t have any leaves yet. It is just a matter of days.

November at Giverny

November 10, 2014

giverny-november

Do you want to have a look at the Monet Garden while it is closed for the winter?

Here is the Japanese bridge as it was this morning.

Giverny is now closed for five months.

The village will awake again next spring.

The first day for visiting the gardens will be Saturday 28 March, 2015.

Fall Colors

October 22, 2014

fall-colors

Yesterday I guided very charming hawaian guests at Giverny. It was nice to look at Monet’s gardens through their eye from Hawai. They reminded me that fall doesn’t exist on their island. It is summer all year round. Discovering the special spirit of this season sounded very exciting for them.  Autumn has started to work its magic on the foliage. The three sweet gum trees reflect their reds and oranges into the water lily pond. For us, who know what will come next, this dramatic show of the saison, despite of its beauty, has a special flavour of nostalgia and melancholia intertwined.

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.

Blue Flowers

September 6, 2013

According to Claude Monet’s step son Jean-Pierre Hoschedé, the painter loved blue flowers.

This beautiful solanum, a plant belonging to the family of tomatoes and potatoes, is covered with simple little blue flowers.

It matches the colors of the kitchen window with its blue squared curtains, a very typical french pattern called vichy fabric.

In late Summer, plants are at the top of their heigth. With a bit of imagination, the flowers of the Giverny garden look like big waves splashing against the walls of the house.

Opening 30 March 2013

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 »

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.

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.