Sunday, October 25, 2015

Monet's Giverny Garden: The Clos Normand Flower Garden

During our travels in France in September, we had the opportunity to see Monet's Giverny gardens. It was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  There are two main gardens at Giverny - the Japanese Water Garden, and the Clos Normand Flower Garden.  I previously posted about the water garden, so now, onto the flower garden near Monet's country house...

During September, the garden is bursting with bright colors, mostly from dahlias.  Here, in the arched path that leads up to the house, nasturtiums spill out onto the gravel pathway.  I would love to make my way back in late spring sometime, to see the wisteria vines hanging down from the archways.

Monet lived in this beautiful country home with his family for 43 years, from 1883 to 1926, so he had quite awhile to build up his beautiful gardens.  

Every path contains a new treasure of plants and color combinations.  Monet has over 200,000 annuals, biennials and perennials on display in his garden throughout the year - that's insane!  Monet and his handful of master gardeners since truly are masters of succession gardening, a gardening skill I continue to try and develop.

The sunflower season was just wrapping up during our visit.  I was able to find a few stragglers in the mix.

I absolutely love the cottage garden style of the painter's garden, with rows upon rows of various flowers, packed to the brink, but with plenty of space to thrive.

The lavender season had just ended - I bet this path was quite stunning with spires of purple a month or two prior to our visit.

There is so much going on in every nook and cranny of the garden.  If I had had more time to explore, I could have walked these paths for hours.  I'd love to come back in the spring time to see all the spring bulbs in bloom.  Here, you can see some remnants of what appear to be irises.

There were a lot of interesting surprises in the garden as well, plants that I'm not use to seeing in Texas gardens, like these various amaranth plants.  It seems that there are some varieties of amaranth that can be grown in Texas.  I'd like to give it a try, since it is a unique plant, with very bold burgundy colors that look great in the fall garden.

There were other various surprises in the garden as well, with little treasures everywhere you looked.

I even spotted some plants that are native or adaptive Texas plants, like the Bat Faced Cuphea,


and various salvias (which were favorites among the pollinators).

But the most prominent flower in the garden, by far, were the dahlias.  Everywhere I turned, there was a different species of dahlia.  Here are just a few...

This little spider found shelter in the dahlia flower petals.

Such photogenic flowers!

I can see why Monet was such a great painter - it is impossible to not be inspired by these amazing views.

We were able to take a tour of Monet's farmhouse.  You can tell his love for color went beyond the canvas and garden - the rooms in his home were brightly colored and had certain themes, like his yellow dining room, complete with many Japanese prints, which I'm sure helped inspire his water garden.

Then there is the blue kitchen, with an impressive stove and oven, complimented by various type of copperware.

Peering out the windows, you can see a small portion of his beautiful gardens.

With these beautiful gardens, it is no wonder that Monet is quoted as saying, "I perhaps owe becoming a painter to flowers." Who wouldn't want to paint this beautiful landscape?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Monet's Giverny Garden: The Japanese Water Garden

It has been several months since my last post.  A big reason for that was because I was away, traveling around France for a couple of weeks in September.  Once I returned home, and the weather finally started getting cooler in Texas, I was busy tidying up the fall garden.  Now that we have a rainy weekend, thanks to tropical cyclone Patricia, I'm finally able to sit down and start blogging again.

During my travels around France, I was fortunate enough to see some spectacular gardens.  My most favorite garden was that of the great French impressionist, Claude Monet, at his home in Giverny.  My husband and I took a half day trip tour out of Paris to see the garden, which I found to be not nearly enough time to enjoy the expansive garden., WHEN I get to go back to France, I will definitely make it a full day trip out there to see the gardens.

There are two main gardens at Giverny, one of which is the Japanese-inspired water garden.  It is also the garden that inspired many of Monet's later works in life, focused on the water lilies.  It is no wonder Monet has so many water lily paintings.  I, too, would be inspired to sit for hours in this serene garden and even pick up a paint brush, despite my complete lack of artistic abilities.

Those weeping willow trees look very familiar...they seem to make quite a few appearances in Monet's works.

I'm definitely a sucker for hydrangeas.  I wish I could grow them in my Texas garden, but it is just too hot and dry for their liking.  Northern France gardens, on the other hand, are a hydrangea's best friend, or so it seems.

I fell in love with these spindly stick plants with little red jewel-like buds on them.

There were some very Japanese-looking structural elements incorporate into the landscape, including these shrubs... well as the bamboo.  

The dahlias were in full bloom, and absolutely stunning.  I definitely need to add more of these to my Texas garden.

There were numerous other bright and exotic plants that filled every nook and cranny of the garden:

But the most iconic element of the garden was, of course, the infamous water lilies:

We were also able to view Monet's large wall-length water lily paintings in the l'Orangerie museum during our stay in Paris.  It was truly amazing to get to see this very special garden, which inspired so many gorgeous works of art.

And to leave you with some quotes from the famous painter...

"My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece." - Claude Monet

"The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration." - Claude Monet

I couldn't agree more.