If it weren’t for the beauty of gardens, no one would care about having fresh cut flowers around. We pay homage to the reason for beautiful arrangements, the garden, but not just any garden, some of the most famous gardens in the world.
The beauty and delicacy of flowers has captured many for centuries. Follow art throughout history and you will see their beauty and meaning. There may not be another artist more intimately connected with flowers than Claude Monet. Today we take a tour of his own gardens.
While flowers were not the sole subject of Monet’s works, they are seen in many of his famous pieces. Many people recognize his paintings of water lilies and a Japanese bridge, few know that the subjects of these painting actually came from his own garden. He spent 20 years painting from the garden that he designed and filled himself. It was Claude Monet who said, “I must have flowers, always and always.”
Today Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny, France are open to the public from the end of March to the beginning of November. Monet’s Garden actually consists of two separate gardens. Clos Normand is the flower garden that sits in front of his house. The other garden is on a piece of land he bought later in his life and sits just across the road. This is the famous Japanese inspired water garden painted in his ‘Waterlily Pond with Japanese Bridge’. While the original bridge had to be replaced, the wisteria surrounding the replica are the originals, planted by Monet.
Originally this area had little water in it, only a small creek. Monet had a small pond dug and created on this plot of land, eventually he would have that pond expanded to the size it is today. He had grown a fascination with the Japanese prints that he had studied and based the shape of the garden off those prints. It also inspired his choice of plants for the water garden. They were so rare in the area at that time that his neighbors opposed them, thinking they would poison the water.
Unlike many gardens in France, Monet preferred to let his gardens grow free, without any constraints. The center ally of Clos Normand is surrounded by fruit trees and climbing roses, that grow over the iron arches. Not only did Clos Normand contain local wild flowers, but rare and exotic flowers that Monet mixed in as well. He was very conscious of the color of the flowers when planting his gardens.
For Monet, his gardens were not simply a subject for his art, but they were his art, another medium to express his views on color and light.
Whether a lover of flowers, art, or just beauty the Garden of Claude Monet is a must see.
** Photos by Ariane Cauderlier