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.

Pink Tulip Beds

April 8, 2012

giverny-houseIn 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.

Just Before Opening

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.

Giverny: zone 8

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!

Gardener at Giverny

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.