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.
October 22, 2014
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
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
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
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.
January 2, 2012
November 17, 2011
October 17, 2011
The misty days of October are back! On Monet’s pond at Giverny, they create a soft atmosphere enhancing the different textures of the foliages. Among all these greens, the sumac of Virginia flames. Asters fill in the flower beds in big bouquets. The boat awaits the gardener. He will soon arrive to maintain the pond.
October 11, 2011
July 3, 2011
They like a warm water not only to open, but also to bloom. On Monet’s pond, water lilies are gorgeous during heat waves, they become scarce during rainy and cool periods.
This is true for a big pond like Giverny. For gardeners who would like to grow water lilies in a wash basin, it is wise to look for a partly shaded spot. In direct sunshine, the water of a small container becomes very warm. If some like it hot, it is not the case of water lilies.
May 30, 2011
Monet’s Garden at Giverny is not a low maintainance garden. In the 19th Century, having gardeners and helpers was not as expensive as today. The wealthy painter could afford up to six full time gardeners to manucure his 5 acre garden.
One of the heavy task of his times that is still a daily core today was the skimming of the pond to take out all the dried leaves or petals floating on the surface.
The pond being surrounded by trees and flowers, it is the only way to keep the water clear.
The job takes two hours and must be done almost every day.
November 29, 2010
The surrounding trees turn red, orange, yellow and dip their image into the water.
Their warm colors split in dots of changing shapes form a stunning contrast with the cold blue and perfectly defined leaves of the remaining water lilies.
This picture was taken one month ago. Now the leaves have been blown away, and Fondation Claude Monet is closed until next 1st April.