January 4, 2015
This picture was taken on January 1st at Giverny. Outdoors, under a mistletoe plant growing on a tree. Mistletoe is extremely common in our area and can be seen on a wide range of trees including poplars, apple trees, aspens or oaks.
As long as the leaves don’t hide it, mistletoe is very visible and puzzles many visitors. It is a parasite and it does kill the branches it grows on by being too greedy, but the tree itself generally resists. In the meanwhile, mistletoe offers bed and board to many birds. It is now considered an ecological keystone species.
As a guide, I was recently asked by a client if we also kiss under the mistletoe on New Year’s Eve. Actually, we do sometimes, although I doubt this habit belongs to the French folklore. But because we love kissing in France, any excuse for it is immediately adopted, of course. However to tell the truth, the clock striking midnight is enough to start the kissing party.
I wish you many opportunities for kissing this year and twelve months full of love, friendship and warmth. Have a wonderful year 2015!
February 8, 2012
It is hard to imagine that in seven weeks, the gardens will be full of flowers again. For the moment, it is icy and snowy at Giverny.
Yesterday morning, I visited the closed and cold Monet garden. It was probably the most beautiful day of the winter. A few inches of snow covered pond and park, and shined in the sunlight. It looked so still and sleepy… But life is not far away, just hiding in every little hole.
Under the Japanese bridge, a bird has stamped its very regular footsteps, designing new curves to add to those imagined by Claude Monet.
February 1, 2011
Claude Monet ‘s pond at Giverny is almost completely frozen today, after a few cold days.
The last leaves of water lilies are petrified in the ice.
The garden looks asleep, while the gardeners are very busy. They maintain the bamboos that were bent by the snow, they remove the dry ones and take them away. It is a big job to carry away these 25 foot long sticks!
The gardeners have also chopped down the sick weeping willow to plant a new one, they cleansen the walkways, put the pansies in the flower beds…
The guardrails of the little curved bridge are missing. They are currently being repainted in the garage.
When I was in Monet’s garden this morning, I had the feeling of visiting a backstage, having a glimpse on a Giverny that nobody will see, the secret Giverny of wintertime.
December 12, 2010
It snowed for the second time of the season at Giverny last Wednesday, what is rather unusual so early, at the end of Autumn.
But the gardeners are still working in the garden! They plant the bulbs and pansies for next Spring. Thousands of them. And when the weather is really too cold and snowy, they stay inside and maintain the gardening tools.
Do you recognize on the picture the ladies corner, this round shaped little square under the paulownia, where Mrs Monet and her daughters used to sit down in the afternoon?
February 6, 2010
During the Winter, when Giverny is closed for five months, the shutters of Monet’s house remain shut.
It must be dark inside, but nobody cares. The shutters prevent the cold wind from entering the building, maintaining a thin layer of warmer air behind the windows.
I don’t know if the japanese prints are still kept hanging on the walls. If they are, darkness is a relief for their fragile colors.
Shut shutters look like closed lids. When it is cold outside, sleeping is the best thing to do, isn’t it?
So do the bulbs hidden in the flower beds and the buds on the branches. Yes, sleeping is the best option before a very long time of intense activity.
January 8, 2010
Monet’s pond is frozen.
A small coating of snow hides the surface like a new canvas.
Long blue shadows stretch on the shining whiteness.
Not a single flower.
Even the brave pansies are covered with a blanket of snow.
No colors, except for the green bridges.
Birds are hiding, but their prints are everywhere, like strange words written in the snow.
And the running water of the river reminds that life is awaiting under the appearant death of nature.
December 27, 2009
It is time for Season Greetings, so I wish you all the best for 2010.
Let the old year become a dry leaf blown away by the wind, and new sprouts grow, like green buds full of life and energy!
It is time for garden dreams, when flowers still sleep in the cold ground.
And time for dreams of travelling as soon as the sun is higher and warmer again.
Will you come to Giverny this year?
January 7, 2009
An unusual view of Giverny: Monet’s water garden is covered by snow.
Not much but enough to transfigure the usually colourfull garden. The pond is frozen, except for the place around the island and the borders.
In the background the roses arches at the dock are still there as a landmark to the dormant garden.