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.
June 11, 2012
Next to the first studio of Claude Monet at Giverny, the white waterfall of a beautiful philadelphus offers a dramatic show.
It faces the little rose garden, just perfect by now.
A bench nested at its feet is a nice place where to have a rest after meandering in the alleys.
If the wind blows, it will let fall a shower of white petals on the visitors seated below.
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.
May 24, 2012
The question of the ‘best time’ to come to see Monet’s gardens at Giverny is hard to answer. Many times are so beautiful!
The iris period is one of my favorite. The irises are just at their peak right now, displaying their charms in waves of white and purple petals in Monet’s flower garden.
I love the irises, but I love the spectacular tulips as well, the fresh blossoms of early spring, the poppies time, the roses, the gorgeous summer flowers including Nympheas and nasturtiums, the asters of autumn…
When is it the best time to see Monet’s gardens? There are so many, one visit is not enough, you must come back!
April 30, 2012
Tulips 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.
April 8, 2012
In April, the pink facade of Monet’s house in Giverny responds to huge beds of pink tulips in front of the main entrance.
To create a shimmering effect, several varieties of pink tulips are planted, some redder, pinker or even orange, to resemble Monet’s brushstrokes on the canvas.
The pink tulips are underplanted by blue forget-me-not.
February 5, 2012
March at Giverny is time for the last tasks before the gates open to visitors on April 1st. The last pruning, clipping, mowing, raking… before D-Day.
While the gardeners take advantage of the empty garden to put their ladders and wheel barrows in the middle of the alleys, the earliest flowers bloom for their own sake. Big bouquets of daffodils shine in the middle of the fresh green lawns.
The first flowers of Spring are mostly yellow. They are paired with blue pansies to obtain this color combination that Monet liked so much, and that looks very attractive.
May 7, 2010
American visitors to Giverny often ask to which agricultural zone Giverny belongs. A puzzling question indeed, as these zones aren’t commonly used in France!
Asking about the coldest temperature in Winter doesn’t help a lot, because the Frenchs count in Celsius, not in Farenheit.
I finally found the answer: Giverny is in zone 8.
During the coldest night of the last Winter, temperatures reached -13°C, that is to say 8°F. This is OK for many plants, trees and bushes, except the most fragile.
Some flowers even need frost to understand that it is Winter, and then Spring. If tulips, for instance, don’t get all the cold they need, they will sulk and refuse to bloom the next Spring!
May 14, 2009
How many gardeners are there at Giverny to tend Monet’s garden, is one of the questions visitors ask most often.
The five acre garden is maintained by eight gardeners.
Some visitors don’t believe me: eighty? they repeat, unsure they have heard well. No, eight only. They do a fantastic job.
In the garden, flowers are changed twice or thrice a year, according to the seasons. When spring flowers are spent they are replaced by summer flowers. This enormous task enables the garden to look very different through the seasons. Spring flowers are small, whereas summer flowers are giant, as tall as sunflowers.
In November all the flowers are pulled out again, the planting of the spring bulbs will take several weeks. The very skilled gardeners of Monet’s estate have a lot of work to do during the winter also, while the property is closed for five months.
In addition, most of the flowers are self produced in greenhouses located in the village of Giverny. This keeps several gardeners busy year round.
It is a hard job to be a gardener in heaven.