Beautiful Parks and Gardens of the World

Monet’s Garden at Giverny

One visit to Monet’s garden and most likely you’ll want to start your very own garden with reflecting pond and contemporary water features. A visit to Monet’s garden is inspiring. An inspiration that wakes up the human senses and fill it with the scent of Monet’s blooming garden. I strolled the grounds one summer day and I was forever taken to a time of everlasting beauty. Tossing my cares away and let the color and balance of the place transport me to a different time and place, here, my impressions of Monet’s Giverny.

Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883. The Garden was created between 1883 to 1926 in the Valley of the River Epte. Monet’s garden was a garden of an artist made by an artist. The estate was restored to its original splendor in 1976 for l’Acadamie des Beaux Arts, including turkeys in small enclosure. Monet was the father of the Impressionist movement, the name taken from his painting in 1874 Impression Soleil Levant.

Monet painted in open air where there were variations in light. Monet’s garden was in itself a subject for painting. The garden has special appeal to artists and photographers.

There are two parts to Monet’s garden: a flower garden called Clos Normand located in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. The two garden complemented one another.

The Clos Normand

Pine trees bordered the central alley but Monet had the pines cut down, keeping only the two yews (Evergreen trees) closest to the house. Monet created a garden full of perspectives, balance and colors.

Several flowerbeds divided the garden where clusters of flower of varying heights created volume. Fruit trees and ornamental trees dominated the climbing roses, the long-stemmed hollyhocks and the colored banks of annuals. Monet was fond of mixing the simplest of flowers (daisies and poppies) with rare varieties. Iron arches covered the central alley where climbing roses and nasturtiums grew. Rose trees adorn the balustrade along the house.

Claude Monet did not organize nor restricted his gardens. He intermingled flowers of various colors and left them to grow freely.

The Water Garden

In 1893, exactly ten years from the time of his arrival at Giverny, Monet bought the land adjacent to his property on the other side of the railway. It was crossed by a small brook, the Ru, which is a diversion of the Epte, ala the Seine River. It was inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints he fondly collected. Monet had the first small pond dug; inspite the opposition of his neighbours – they were fearful that Monet’s strange looking plants would poison the water. The pond was later widened to its current size.

The Japanese bridge was built by a local craftsman. At the time of the restoration of the garden, the bridge was badly damaged and could no longer be saved. It had to be rebuilt by a firm from Vernon. The newly built bridge is made of beech wood. The bridge is adorned by two big wisterias – one a pale lavender, and the other is white. Surrounding the bridge are weeping willows, towering bamboo trees and nympheas that bloom all summer long.The pond and the surrounding vegetation serve as an enclosure separating the property from the neighboring countryside.

Restoration of Monet’s House and Garden

When Claude Monet died in 1926, his son Michel inherited the house and garden at Giverny. He did not live there and it was Blanche, Monet’s step-daughter who took care of the property. Unfortunately after the Second World War the house and garden were neglected. In1966, Michel Monet made the Academie des Beaux-Arts heir of his father’s garden.

In 1977, Gerald van der Kemp was appointed Curator at Giverny. Andre Devillers, who had the opportunity to go with Georges Truffaut – a distinguished gardener, who was often invited to Monet’s table – helped him reconstruct the garden.

Jason is a proud contributing author and writes articles on home and garden design. She also writes on several subjects about design including contemporary water features.