I made a pilgrimage of sorts lately, not to a holy shrine or statuesque cathedral, but into a bit of land that motivated the fantastic impressionist painter Claude Monet: Giverny, in northern France. It was here that he set up his easel and paints, in which he planted his garden and at which he spent the final years of his lifetime.
Visiting the gardens of Giverny in early spring, you see that the delicacy of buds and tender shoots, and feel the feeling of rebirth. You won’t find them, if you are expecting a crazy-quilt profusion of knockout colours. Come back in late summer once the roses and nasturtiums are out. What you will find now, however, is every bit as amazing — just softer and very fresh.
The property is located in a village in the countryside. You can take a train from Paris to Vernon, then connect by bus into the village, where it is a short walk into the house and gardens.
Pink stucco walls and vivid green dividers give charm for this farmhouse, where Monet lived for 43 decades, until his death in 1926.
The pink crabapples (Malus sp) are a sight to behold in the Clos Normand, the enclosed garden close to the home. Their blossoms are very romantic and echo the color of the rustic farmhouse.
Pink is a shade that’s easy on the eye. The garden is full of metal supports for pink climbing roses which will be out in profusion after in this season.
This signature green isn’t a color for the faint of heart. It’s everywhere — railings and posts, the porch and chairs around Giverny are painted equally.
Follow this case by combining a mix of fragrant hyacinth bulbs close to a sitting area and painting your seat a daring shade for pleasure.
Purple hyacinths unite with pansies in swirling colors of violet in this yummy composition. (I’d love to know what color the tulips are.)
To get the identical look, plant pansies carefully around flowering bulbs in your garden beds or containers.
This circular gravel room has three teal-green chairs with curved springs positioned for long views throughout the yard areas. Notice how the tulips have been implanted directly in the yard, making broad sweeps of color under deciduous trees.
Think about how to place a seat to take advantage of views in your own garden.
Daffodils have been implanted by the hundreds in the yard area of the Clos Normand — they seem just like clouds of white drifting across the bud, timeless and ethereal.
This is a wonderful way to naturalize bulbs. Plant them in a yard area and allow the foliage die back prior to mowing in early summer.
Several small footbridges cross a stream across the way into the water lily pond in the Japanese garden, and you find yourself expecting what’s around the next corner.
The mood is silent and silent, and you are able to hear the stream as it meanders; it is a woodland paradise.
Along the course round the water lily pond, I discovered that these tulips at peak bloom in a luscious shade of red with white edging. They were showstoppers, bringing the crowds to a standstill.
You can view emerging lupines (Lupinus sp) and ferns coming up to fill the bed with the next wave of color and texture.
Here is the famous Japanese footbridge. It had been rebuilt to match the original when recovery of the gardens and grounds attracted the property back from the brink of collapse in the 1970s.
Have a peek at the way in which the bridge is a primary focal point. A construction of any sort will draw the attention and can be operational, too.
In the banks and on the water, Monet seized the ever-shifting drama of light and color that washed over the pond.
The Water Lilies series (Les Nymphéas) was motivated by what he saw here, along with the Musée de l’Orangerie,in Paris, retains the large canvases on permanent display — worth a glance after visiting this site.
The large art studio is that the room you enter through and depart from; it was built around 1915. It is colorfully adorned with potted plants and climbing vines, and functions as the gift shop.
You can take home some color from Giverny by purchasing packets of seeds. Orange poppies, sunflowers and blue cornflowers are merely some of the available varieties to inspire your own French garden.
Plan a visit:
Maison et Jardins de Claude Monet
Days and Days: In 2013 that the site is open March 29 to November 1, 9:30 a.m. to 6 pm daily
More: Courses from Monet’s Garden