April 28, 2017
Spring makes us all want to walk in beautiful gardens. At Giverny, azaleas and tulips gradually give way to irises, peonies and wisterias. The first water lilies should open within two weeks, recreating once more Monet’s beautiful setting and endless source of inspiration.
In the flower garden, visitors meander inside of a living painting where flowers recreate the illusion of brushstrokes. Monet had good reasons to claim that his garden was his most beautiful masterpiece.
Just like you can see the brushwork when you tour an exhibition and have a close look at paintings, at Giverny each single flower is a little universe in itself, offering its beauties to our admiration.
April 5, 2017
Today at Giverny, at the entrance to Monet’s house, two forsythias grown in planters glow for the show.
March 31, 2017
It is this time of year again. Already! At last! The beginning of spring. The time of primroses.
They flower in big cushions along the paths, so pretty that they look cultivated. What! Nature offers these lovely bunches of pinks and yellows for free, to please our eyes and feed the bees! A present of springtime, that has so many to give away.
We may cherish the flowers of summer, but the first ones are the dearest. Monet also must have been moved by the beauty of the primroses, because he didn’t want them to be pulled out for the sheer reason that they are wild and common. Instead, he asked his gardeners to plant around them.
This is still done at Giverny. Lovely wild flowers enhance borders of spring bulbs and biennials. They are one of the tips and tricks used by Monet, an accomplished gardener, to make his garden look more natural.
March 8, 2017
What is so different and appealing with Monet’s flower garden is its very natural look. The gardeners apply themselves to avoid that flowers seem regimented.
It is not as simple as it sounds. We as humans have a tendency to organize. Spontaneously, unconsciously, what we do and make turns out to be regular.
One of the gardeners’ trick for planting bulbs randomly is to throw them on the ground, the bare ground of late Autumn. Where the bulb fell, there it is planted.
This tip works for camassias or tulips. Biennals are planted by color patches that combine different varieties, wallflowers, pansies, violas… Sizes, shapes and hues of the same color help creating the impressionist brushstrokes feeling.
June 16, 2016
In June, all the water lilies flower on Monet’s pond, beautiful and delicate corollas in different tones of pink and soft yellow or white.
The foxgloves stand out everywhere in the garden, like giant sentinels that tower far above our heads.
The long lasting columbines team with other small flowers like geums and catchfly to offer a light foam of little dots of color. Elsewhere, annual poppies turn the garden pink or red.
June is the month of roses. At Giverny they stand or climb on dozens of metallic structures or on fences. Their scent is a delight…
May 15, 2016
After tulips, what kind of flowers steel the show at Giverny? Among my favorite are aquilegias, for their delicacy, strange shapes and wide range of colors including white and black, yellow and blue, and pink. Their light foliage is a beauty.
Camassias are late spring bulbs that grow rather tall.
Pink tree peonies are short lasting little wonders,
just like this one that looks more modern.
Irises are just starting.
The vines are at their best. Here the wisterias over the Japanese footbridge,
And the Clematis montana covering the trellises in the flower garden.
March 20, 2016
The season has officially changed today! To celebrate the arrival of spring, let’s take a walk in Monet’s gardens at Giverny to look for the very first flowers. So far they concentrate in the best exposed borders. As soon as the weather gets a bit warmer, there will be flowers and colors all over the garden, turning the blank sheet into a joyful painting. (click to enlarge the pictures)
Small jonquils line the feet of the espaliered apple trees, and clumps of daffodils flower next to the chickens cage. It is lovely to see them coming back year after year. I’ve heard they can live for over fifty years!
Daisies bloom for Easter, this is why they are called pâquerettes in French, Pâques being Easter. The wild ones love growing into the lawns that they illuminate like little white lights. Horticulturist have improved them to these cute pink or white pompoms. Giverny’s gardeners plant them everywhere in the spring garden. Well, not absolutely everywhere, and certainly not anywhere. In all the places where they fit and match.
Just out of the winter, flowers are small. They didn’t have much time to grow a long stem, or perhaps it is warmer next to the ground, I don’t know. It is time to bend down to admire the little marvels offered by the season before they disappear under more impressive giants. These are the lovely ipheions, also named Spring starflowers – for obvious reasons. At Giverny they can be found next to the left staircase of the Monet house.
In the water garden, some beds combining pansies, daisies and hyacinths are already quite sweet. I suspect these early hyacinths to be purposely forgotten bulbs of last year. Their scent is a delight. The gardeners plant bulbs at different times, they also plant many different varieties to obtain the longest possible blooming time.
And last but not least, this little dwarf tulip opening its petals is enjoying the first ray of sunshine. Tulips will be at their best in five to six weeks, in all shapes and colors. Giverny has an enormous display of tulips of all kinds. An absolutely beautiful tulip show. Late April is one of my favorite times in the garden… followed by several others…
June 13, 2015
Over the main alley that crosses Monet’s garden, the climbing roses display their tender colors in June.
Their pink and red match the pretty colors of the annual poppies scattered everywhere in the flower beds.
(click to enlarge)
May 19, 2015
Mid-May, in Monet’s gardens the last tulips that were so colorful are followed by blue and purple flowers: flouncy irises and ball shaped alliums.
Both exist in all sorts of tones from pale to intense.
When planting them, the gardeners pay great attention to their variety, trying not to have two same flowers side by side.
Although they are so numerous, they never produce a mass effect but keep a very natural look, that makes all the charm of Giverny.
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.
March 22, 2015
Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny will open next week on Saturday, the 28th of March 2015. If you plan to explore Monet’s place that early in the season, this is more or less what you can expect. The above pic was taken last year on the 2nd of April.
It is an effect I like and that doesn’t last for a long time, daffodils making bouquets on the fresh green lawn. Their planting recalls the way the water lilies float on the surface of the pond in Monet’s water garden.
In April it is still possible to look over the rose bushes planted all around this patch of lawn. Very soon leaves pop out, the border thickens and hides the lawn behind. In the meanwhile, the daffodils will have faded, so we will be only too happy not to see them anymore…
March 11, 2015
The first sunny days are warming up the soil of Giverny. In Monet’s gardens, the bravest flowers are popping out, most of them discreetly. Their bright petals make little dots of colors on the still bare ground. Pansies, snowdrops, crocuses, dwarf tulips and the first jonquils are a joy to look at. Among all these planted flowers, the eranthis impress by the carpets they make. Winter aconites are able to cover a curve of the pond bank, a nice place that will soon be shaded by tall trees.
The eranthis is in a hurry because it needs to bloom, go to seeds and renew its food storage in its bulb in no time, that is to say before the leaves of the trees over it become too big. When the sun can’t shine through anymore, the leaves of the eranthis dry up and die. But not the plant itself! Life is stored underground, waiting patiently for three seasons to pass. Then, in February, the new shoots of eranthis appear, followed by the lovely yellow flowers in March, like miniature suns emerging from an interesting foliage. But with this plant the motto is ‘love it… and leave it alone’ because it is poisonous, just like the common aconite.
January 20, 2015
This 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.
January 15, 2014
Late May or early June, Monet’s garden turns mostly purple. On the pond banks, mauve ladies’ rocket matching exactly the big rhododendrum on the other side of the path combines with mauve or blue lupines, pink sweet Williams, white fox gloves and blue sages. The mauve turns progressively into pink to fit with the beautiful tree of roses. This scene doesn’t last long, but it is of great effect. It follows the bulbs period and will be followed by summer flowers. (click for more details)
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.