A Place for Love

February 19, 2011

On April 1st, when it opens for the first time in the season, Giverny is like a sleeping beauty. Still a bit dreamy, it awakes gradually.

Lovers in their own dreams start walking around or sitting on the benches, enjoying the Spring sunshine.

Giverny is a nice place to celebrate love, love of a partner, of parents, relatives, and also love for gardens, nature, painting and simply beauty.

It was Valentine’s day this week: I dedicate this post to all lovers.

Ice Cold

February 1, 2011

Claude Monet ‘s pond at Giverny is almost completely frozen today, after a few cold days.

The last leaves of water lilies are petrified in the ice.

The garden looks asleep, while the gardeners are very busy. They maintain the bamboos that were bent by the snow, they remove the dry ones and take them away. It is a big job to carry away these 25 foot long sticks!

The gardeners have also chopped down the sick weeping willow to plant a new one, they cleansen the walkways, put the pansies in the flower beds…

The guardrails of the little curved bridge are missing. They are currently being repainted in the garage.

When I was in Monet’s garden this morning, I had the feeling of visiting a backstage, having a glimpse on a Giverny that nobody will see, the secret Giverny of wintertime.

Looking Forward to Spring

January 28, 2011

On April 1st, when Fondation Claude Monet opens again for a new season, it is early Spring.

On the hills of the Seine valley, the pastures are still grey, waiting for a new grass to grow.

But in Monet’s garden, the first flowers display their colors.

The weeping willows open their buds and swing their freshly born leaves over the pond.

On the river side, the small basket willows stretch their orange twigs.

These traditional trees are useful to prevent the banks from slipping into the river, and they are lovely too.

It is still Winter right now, but we are all looking forward to Spring.


January 10, 2011

This tree standing alone next to the greenhouse in Monet’s garden at Giverny is a holly.

Not a wild, ordinary one: it has beautiful golden rimmed leaves. Nonetheless, the holly disappears in the magnificence of flowers during the season, when the garden is in full bloom. Nobody takes any notice of the flowerless tree.

During the winter, on the contrary, when all the flowers are dead or waiting for better times to come, the holly recovers its majesty. This is probably  why its prickly leaves and red berries are very much related to the time of Christmas and New Year.


October 27, 2010

Autumn has just touched Monet’s garden with its magic.

The foliage change their greens or dark reds to bright tones. The weeping willows get gold, the poplars and the wisterias yellow, the needles of the taxodium rost, the liquidambars turn red and orange…

 The huge copper beech is not copper anymore, but a light brown, and all the leaves of the irises, thalias, hostas and other water side plants say goodbye to the season in a mixture of green, brown and yellow shades.

All these colors reflect into the pond in a stunning way. Each hour is different, from vaporous foggy mornings to bright sunny afternoons, and brings its own light on to the pond for the enjoyment of the last visitors of the season.

Monet Small Bridge

October 7, 2010

Two curved bridges face one another on both ends of Monet’s pond at Giverny.

The big one is covered with wisterias, whereas the small one doesn’t have any.

But a neighbouring wisteria can give the illusion that it is covering the little bridge too!

 Its golden color brightens all the greens around.



Summer Light

September 13, 2010

Summer is coming to an end, offering a large display of flowers in Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny.
The flower beds that looked organised in early season are now full of overgrown plants, sunflowers, dahlias, cosmos…
 Under the clematis, smaller borders catch the morning light dancing on the freshly watered gauras.

Weeping Willow

August 18, 2010

Weeping willows were among Claude Monet’s favorite trees for many reasons, one of them being the translucent quality of their leaves.

On the side of his water lily pond at Giverny, Monet planted several willows.

Two of them still survive, although some branches start to become hollow.

But young willows planted thirty years ago, like the one on the picture, are now mature, as big as Monet could have seen them.

Weeping willows fascinate because of their vertical twigs that beautifully reflect into the pond.

Visitors will also see two other kinds of willows, the tortuous ones, very decorative, and the basket willows.

Generally pruned drastically to force the willow to produce new twigs every year, that will be cut to weave baskets, these willows like the river borders and are part of the traditional landscape of Normandy.

In Monet’s gardens, however, one of them was allowed to grow, and its branches pointed to the sky like a V make it resemble a person with the arms up. A very happy willow!

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.

The Colors of June

July 4, 2010

In Monet’s garden at Giverny, the month of June is a feast of colors.

In the flower garden turned into a rose garden for a month, weeping roses as big as trees fall from their metallic structure in the shape of a mushroom.  

Their pink harmonizes with the blues and purples of the flowers below. A soft match that will last a few days only, before other eye cathing colors appear somewhere else.

Whimsical Life

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?


March 28, 2010

Forthysias are in bloom again at Giverny.

Their bright yellow enlightens not only Monet’s, but every gardens.

Today it is raining a little bit. The sky is overcast and grey, the Seine silvery, the landscape bathed in a mute grey light.

 This is the weather forthysias like most for their very special magic. When all the colors have disappeared, their bunches burn like fires. Their straight twigs resemble rays of sunshine.

When the real sun comes back again, the magic vanishes. Forthysia bunches become yellow flowers again.  

Hidden Rose Garden

March 4, 2010

Few visitors explore this corner of Monet’s gardens at Giverny. It is hidden between his home and a row of linden trees. The pathway leads to nowhere: it used to be the way to Monet’s second studio, but the latter is not open to the public.

Monet had a small rose garden in this very protected area. A big  wall shelters them from northern wind. Roses don’t get much sunshine either, but apparently  they don’t mind. Many plants don’t dislike shadowed exposure as much as they dislike big changes in temperature.

The roses planted in this pocket rose garden are at their peak at the turn of May and June. The picture was taken on June 4. If you visit Giverny at another season, you might want to look for this little corner not for the roses, but for the rhododendrons, the dramatic Philadelphus, or just for the shadowed bench offering views on Monet’s first studio.



Snow at Giverny

January 8, 2010

Monet’s pond is frozen.

A small coating of snow hides the surface like a new canvas.

Long blue shadows stretch on the shining whiteness.

 Not a single flower.

 Even the brave pansies are covered with a blanket of snow.

No colors, except for the green bridges.

Birds are hiding, but their prints are everywhere, like strange words written in the snow.

And the running water of the river reminds that life is awaiting under the appearant death of nature.

Monet’s Garden in October

November 23, 2009

How could one get tired of this beauty?

The picture was taken this year on October 12.

There were still many flowers in full bloom, the gorgeous dahlias, contrasting with delicate asters and cosmos, and the bright yellow helianthus.

They provide a fabulous setting to the pale pink house.

September and the beginning of October are just breathtaking in Monet’s heaven at Giverny.