March 15, 2016
Although the water garden designed by Claude Monet still looks very peaceful, everybody is working hard at Giverny. The Fondation Monet (his home and gardens) as well as the Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny reopen in ten days, on Friday, 25th March. It is earlier than normally, because Easter is especially early this year.
Just out of the Winter, the gardens are not overloaded with flowers, yet pleasant to walk around. They look fresh and shiny. The first signs of Spring can be noticed. Jonquils are already out, illuminating special spots with their bright yellow. I took the picture above this afternoon.
The Musée des Impressionnismes will display an exhibition of works by Gustave Caillebotte. This hugely talented impressionist was a keen horticulturist. His garden and rare flowers were among his favorite motifs.
August 2, 2015
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.
June 30, 2015
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?
May 18, 2015
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.
February 19, 2015
As long as the water is still cold, the algaes don’t feel like growing. They wait patiently for better times to come.
In March, the water of Monet’s pond is so clear that the bottom looks close, offering shamelessly all its details to the view.
The uneven surface of the layer of mud resembles the moon, with mysterious craters everywhere. The planters of water lilies pop up in this desert like a lunar buggy.
The brave first leaves have made their way through the water to reach the surface, looking for sun and energy. They are still purple but will soon turn green.
In back light, when the weather is fine, innumerable stars twinckle on the surface where the light kisses the water.
This crystal clear water is the show awaiting the first Giverny visitors. In April, days get longer, warmer, and the inviting sunbeams awake grass, flowers, trees and algaes alike.
Some years, the water looses its transparency and gets almost milky, to my delight, because I like the way it absorbs the colors, I find it lovely. After a while the water clears up again.
November 24, 2014
Fall atmosphere in Monet’s gardens at Giverny.
The picture was taken from the steps of the dock next to the water lily pond.
On the left, the green leaves of pontederias.
The red shrub on the opposite bank is a Japanese maple.
In the distance appears the pink house with green shutters, Monet’s home for 43 years.
On the right, through the branches, the third studio where Monet painted his biggest water lilies panels.
November 10, 2014
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.
October 22, 2014
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.
May 17, 2014
Claude Monet designed his water garden from scratch, turning a marshland into a beautiful waterscape to paint.
His eye as a painter can be noticed in the much thought of composition of the garden.
Every where perspectives draw the sight, offering a ready made composition to the artist.
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 9, 2013
On the 30th of October, the perfectly serene pool in Claude Monet’s garden offers a mirror view of the world around.
Blue sky and turning trees create a bold contrast between the still floating water lily pads.
(Click on the picture to enlarge).
September 18, 2013
An unusual light on Monet’s water lily pond, while big dark clouds are loaming ahead… Just time enough to walk around the pound, and the drops will start to fall on the surface of the pool in hundreds of little circles.
October 27, 2012
Claude Monet planted a beautiful bamboo grove in his water garden at Giverny.
Bamboos are ever green. This picture was taken on the 1st of November, the very last day of the season, and even on such a late date bamboos were as pretty as ever.
Bamboos are not native to France. The golden bamboos that Monet chose look very tall and exotic in Normandy.
Monet liked growing giant plants and Japanese plants, and bamboos were both at the same time.
As a clever gardener, the painter chose the best location for them: on an island of his water garden, where they would get enough water, and where the invasive roots would be contained by the stream.
He never painted them, but certainly liked the contrast their shade produces with the pond, that is open and full of light.
After Monet passed away, the garden was left without much tending for long years. But the bamboos have survived, because they regenerate spontaneously, making new shoots every year.
During the decades when Monet’s house was left uninhabited, the garden became the playground of the children of Giverny. One of their favorite games was playing Tarzan in Monet’s bamboo grove. For them, it looked like a rain forest.
July 26, 2012
Here are the moor hens living on Claude Monet’s pond at Giverny.
Every year, they nest on the island in the middle of the pond, or in the shrubs around. After a few weeks, they appear on the water with their adorable little chicks, five of them generally.
They are so sweet, light enough to walk on the lily pads. Both parents take care of them. But it won’t help.
Because we are human beings with a memory, we know what’s going to happen next: the ducklings will end in the belly of the pike living in the pond. This is the cruel story that repeats every year.
But because they are moor hens, and have not much space for brains in their head, they forget every year and keep nesting on the same location.
This afternoon two of the smalls only were left.
May 20, 2012
This is Monet’s pond at Giverny seen from the Japanese Bridge in May, when the wisterias are in bloom.
The water lily pads float like islands on the surface. No flowers yet.
Short before closing time, visitors are few. The late afternoon sunshine enlightens the trees on the eastern side of the pool. Silence falls on the garden. The scent of the flowers is in the air.