Monday, May 19, 2008

Monet's May Garden

Earlier this month I was able to fulfill a dream of mine because I went to see Claude Monet's garden in Normandy, France, in Spring. I've been there twice before, both times in Autumn. Monet's garden looked great then too, it looks great most of the year no surprises there, but I did so want to see it in Spring and now I have. Colour me a happy gardener, a very happy gardener. :-D Without much further ado here are some of my impressions of this world famous impressionist's garden to feast your eyes on!
Monet's paintings were all about colour and so is his garden. It's a riot of colour for most of the year and 10 gardeners are working their socks off to keep it that way. A lot of the planting is not permanent but consists of bedding plants. In May that's wallflowers, pansies, aubretia, tulips, irises, forget-me-nots etc.

Monet's flower garden is mainly made of flowerbeds, zillions of flowerbeds flanking miles of paths or so it certainly feels and although there are a lot of bedding plants, you can find some more permanent planting there too such as roses, peonies, fruit trees, trees etc.
Because Monet is such a world famous painter who was very much inspired by his own garden in Giverny, many people want to see Monet's garden to the tune of half a million visitors per year. Sissinghurst in Kent, England, is also a very famous garden and that feels crowded with 200.000 visitors a year even though it is at least three times the size of Monet's garden.
Everywhere you look your eyes are hit by this very particular shade of green that is called Monet Green. Personally I don't like it all that much as it is a very harsh colour and too much in your face. It is literally everywhere; on chains blocking paths, posts, gates, the house, the arches and metal pergola's, steps, benches etc. The paint has to be manufactured exclusively but I wish they wouldn't bother and simply buy an off the shelf turquoise green paint that's much easier on the eye. I simply love the soft pink they used on the house as it goes so well with the garden and the surrounding countryside but that green, oh that horrid acid green. But enough of that green, let's sooth our eyes with those gorgeous colours the plants provide.
Strangely enough there weren't all that many irises to be found in Monet's garden. Pretty weird as most of France is covered with irises in front gardens, alongside the road, against walls etc. in May as you can see here.
It's not for nothing that another famous painter used them in his paintings.
Dear Vincent was behaving like an ordinary tourist by painting Irises in May and Sunflowers in September, just like you and me taking pics of those flowers. Very cliche! ;-)

Monet's garden is split in two by a road and you can reach the other part by going through a tunnel under that road. By entering the tunnel you make a transition from one world into the next as you leave behind a sunny, hot, vibrantly colourful world ...................
and when you come up you'll find yourself in a garden that is cool, shady, calm and mostly green. Simply wonderful!
The famous waterlily pond where the waterlilies were not in flower yet as it was only early May. The use of colour in the water garden is very restricted; it is mostly provided by the famous waterlilies,
the equally famous Japanese bridge smothered with blue Wistaria and some discreet planting along the edge of the pond.
Or that is how it used to be when I visited Monet's garden 10 years ago. So imagine my shock and horror when I encountered this in the water garden. It looked horribly Disney to me. What happened to understated and tranquil? Where did the juxtaposition between the flower garden and the water garden go?
Apparently they had to use this new planting around the pond to keep that humongous herd of half a million visitors per year from trampling the edges of the pond. Sure, but why choose these garish colours? Why go from this
cool, calm, restful

to this!

Keep in mind that when you use colour along the water's edge you double the impact as the plants are also reflected in the water.
IMO there is no need to use such harsh colours in what used to be such an understated and tranquil garden.
We're back into the flower garden to have a look at Monet's house as that is open to visitors as well. If you ever have the chance to visit Monet's garden don't forget to visit his house as well as it is really worth your while. The use of colour inside the house is just as imaginative as the outside one. You get to see many rooms both upstairs and downstairs. The dining room is particularly colourful in mostly yellow with a touch of black and white, and one of Monet's studios is very impressive with a lot of reproductions of his work hanging there. Just imagine what it must have been like when the real McCoy hang from those walls!
The kitchen with cheerful copper pans
A view from a window
View of the garden from an upstairs window

It was hard work to snap pictures from Monet's garden without zillions of people in them. There were quite a few people about when I was visiting the garden but it wasn't that badly crowded because I knew what would be the best time to see the garden. When I went to the garden there were only 2 or 3 people in front of me in the queue but when I left there were loooooooooooooong rows of people standing in the hot sun waiting for admission.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Monet's Garden and we'll say goodbye with a pic of one of my favourite flowerbeds.
copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen

It is not enough that romance lies behind the birth and growth of the landscape and the mantle of plants that clothe it. The happy traveler must seek to convey some of that romance to others who have not had the good fortune to enjoy it and what better means can there be than by making a garden. Frank Kingdom-Ward


marl1 said...

Prachtige reportage van de weelderige beplanting in deze beroemde tuin :-)
Nee, niet iedere verandering is een verbetering :-((
Was jij zooo vroeg..??

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Het is inderdaad erg jammer van de mooie watertuin. Het accent lag eerst op de waterlelies en de Wistaria hetgeen prachtig was in een zeer ingetogen wijze. Nu is het deels net EuroDisney, zo schetterend.
Nee, ik was niet heel vroeg, kan ook niet want de tuin gaat pas om half 10 's morgens open en dan staat er een rij ........... pffft echt giga lang.

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

I've been there before, but like you, only in the Fall. Thanks for the springtime look. I'll get back there for another season if it kills me!

Elke said...

Wunderschöne Bilder, das war bestimmt eine herrliche Reise. Mir gefällt das viel Blau/Lila sehr.
Lieben Gruss

Pam/Digging said...

Thank you for the tour, YE. I recognize certain scenes from his paintings, which seems almost magical, considering how long ago he painted this garden.

Did you travel to France specifically for this garden, and are there other gardens to see in the vicinity?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Thank you for the Monet garden tour Yolanda. It is quite colorful. That green is quite jarring. Used on so many objects I am sure it is hard on your eyes.
It is funny that Irises are in full bloom here now too.

Ruth Welter said...

Yolanda, ow, what a dream to visit Monet's garden...he and Renoir are two of my favorite all time favorites actually. What a gorgeous garden...I wish I could go, maybe someday I will. In the meantime, thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous photos, I read every word and thoroughly enjoyed each photo. Thank You!!!

marga said...

Wauw.....wat een prachtige tuin.......en idd is niet elke verandering altijd een verbetering.
Fijn dat je je droom om 'm in de lente te kunnen zien in vervulling hebt kunnen laten gaan.

Gail said...

I loved it...thank you for the beautiful tour and commentary...glad you showed us how calm and tranquil the water garden was before Disney invaded France!

This is on my must see garden list but I can wait a bit longer and see some others first!


Joy said...

Wonderful tour! beautiful flowers and tree's. Your cats are so cute.
How many do you have all together?

Surya said...

I think it's great to visit Monet's Garden in Spring. Too bad, it's very far away from Indonesia. I hope someday I can visit it too.

Karin A said...

Thank you, Yolanda, for taking me back to the wonderful garden of Monet! I went there almost 20 years ago in the early summer. I used to read a book about him and his garden when I grew up so it was an early fascination...

Your pics from the garden are just great! We have had some really cold days lately (and even frost :() but today the sun is shining. I hope you'll have a sunny and nice week!

Kram Karin

Libbys Blog said...

Stunning!! A place I hope to visit one day!!!

Katarina i Kullavik said...

Thanks for the tour through Monet's garden! I've never been there, but i really wat to visit it some day. Your pictures are very tempting...

Tracy said...

What a dream come true! Just gorgeousness at every turn! I've always wanted to go there...maybe some day. Until then, dreams...Happy Days to you & the Team, Yolanda ((HUGS))

ujosiili said...

Oh, thanks for the pictures! It must have been a great visit.

My family visited there when I was a kid and though I wasn't so keen on gardening then I remember I loved it. I wish I could visit there again.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to impressionistic Bliss!

* Jim: a bit drastic, don't you think? ;-) But I understand why you'd so like to see it again during a different season.

* Elke: welcome and yes, it was a lovely trip during sunny weather. The blue and lila combination is very pretty, I agree.

* Pam: I have several reproductions of his paintings to remind me of the magic times I spend in his garden. Although I did travel to France to see Monet's garden, I did see another garden as well together with quite a few other attractions. Will blog about that too soon. BTW there are many beautiful gardens in Normandy France.

* Lisa: colourful is indeed the magic word for this garden. It is even more colourful in Autumn. The Irises were in flower here too but they have finished now I'm sorry to say, the bearded ones I mean, that are my favourites. I saw yours on your blog, enjoy them while you can!

* Ruth: of course Monet is one of your favourite painters, how could he fail to be when he painted his lovely garden and flowers so much. And he was into colour very much too. ;-) I hope you get the change to visit his beautiful garden one day.

* Marga: het blijft een schitterende tuin ook al is de tuin rond de vijver niet meer zo mooi als vroeger. Gelukkig heb ik er nog foto's van. Ik ben erg blij dat ik Monet's tuin nu ook in de lente heb kunnen bewonderen.

* Gail: glad you liked the tour and yes, this is a garden that every gardener should see.

* Joy: glad you enjoyed Monet's garden. There are 8 kitties living at Bliss and I am looking after 1 stray cat called Macavity.

* Surya: yes, it is very far away from where you live but it is not impossible. One day I'd love to visit your beautiful country, my parents have been and they loved it.

* Karin: so this was a trip down memory lane for you Karin? Glad you had fun and enjoyed the pics. It is sunny today too and not as cold as yesterday. Hopefully we'll have lots of sun in the coming weeks.

* Libby: stunning it certainly is. When I was there I met quite a few of your fellow countrymen who all seemed to enjoy the garden a lot too. I hope you do get the change to visit Monet's garden, you will love it.

* Katarina: it is such a lovely garden so it is impossible to make pics that are not tempting to a gardener. ;-) I hope your dream will come true too.

* Tracy: it was wonderful and I spend a magical time in Monet's garden. Ha, another one who wants to go. Perhaps we should arrange a tour for all garden bloggers to go together? ;-)

Thanks for visiting and commenting every one and I'm very glad that I was able to share the magic hours I spend in Monet's garden with people who truly appreciate such beauty and joy.


Helena said...

The garden is breath taking ! The photos are also high quality and has an excellent taste.
Well done !

Oh by the way, I am also a cat lover !

Hanneles Paradies said...

Sehr schöne Bilder, ich habe Monet in September besucht.

No Rain said...

It is a beautiful garden, and I can envision Monet's paintings just by looking at it. I have to agree about that paint. It is garish and out of place. Lovely tour, thanks!

Strawberry Lane said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures and comments. I've always wanted to visit that beautiful place. Thanks to you, I feel that I have had the pleasure of a beautiful visit through your post.

Cheryl said...

The gardens are very beautiful Yolanda, it must have been wonderful to stand amongst all that beauty. I agree with you on the green paint, it is awful.
Perhaps in time it will be chnaged.

I live around 15 minutes drive from Sissinghurst, so know it well.

Ewa said...

YE, thank you very much for that wonderful tour. Going to places early in the morning is also my way to avoid the crowd :)
This green paint sucks - dominates everything else.
So many flowers in one garden... 6 gardeners only - this seems that they really have a lot of work :)

Marian said...

Hoewel de herfst ook zijn charmes heeft, ben ik toch een lentemens, dat uitbundige, heerlijk!
"Hekjesgroen" noemen wij dat altijd, afschuwelijke kleur. . . .
In Mondo Verde Landgraaf hebben ze ook een stukje Monet tuin gemaakt met het bruggetje,
waarschijnlijk is daar de kant nog niet zo beplant ;-)
Ik heb in ieder geval genoten van jouw bezoek aan de tuin van Monet,
leuk dat we even mee mochten genieten Yolanda.

Poppins said...

I have never been there but I hope to get the opportunity to visit the garden this autumn. But ofcourse it will be a whole different garden comparing to May.

I also longing for visit his house and see the lovely yellow dining room.

Love from Poppins

SchneiderHein said...

Oh, was für ein wunderschöner Spaziergang!
Nur die Schockfarben sind wirklich ein Störfaktor. Schade, dass so ein ruhiges Stückchen Erde anscheinend aufgepeppt werden muss, da es für das Auge der Besucher sonst anscheinend zu langweilig ist.
Liebe Grüße

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Oh what a lovely garden to visit. How you make me want t travel. Thanks for taking us along with you. I love seeing Monet's garden with you as a guide.

Brimstone said...

Het is een tuin die je gezien 'moet' hebben, maar ik ben er nog niet geweest. De grote hoeveelheid bezoekers staat me een beetje tegen. Knap hoor dat het op jouw foto's lijkt of je er bijna alleen was.

Birgit said...

Ein toller Post, Yolanda. Monet ist mein absoluter Lieblingsmaler. Tolle Bilder von einem eindrucksvollen Garten.
LG, Birgit

Flighty said...

This more than makes up for the only time I've been there when it was pouring with rain! Thanks for the most delightful tour. I also agree about it being the wrong shade of green! xx

Ewa said...

Have a look at my blog - I just gave you an award :)

Viooltje said...

Breathtaking! This was one of my 'to-visit-in-future' places. Still is, naturally. But after scrolling through your wonderful travelogue, I feel like I've already been there. Thank you for sharing both your gardening infatuation and your artistic representation of this extraordinary garden.

tales from an O.C. cottage said...

Oh, I cannot get enough of your kitty family! They are so sweet! I must come back when I have the time to see ALL your pictures of them!

M ^..^

Home Garden said...

I really love all the pictures of the garden. I love the house field with green vines. It's like a natural landscape.

Hillside Garden said...

Hach, Jolanda, ich beneide dich. Da kommen wieder alte Erinnerungen hoch, ich war mal im August dort. Am allerallerschönsten jedoch fand ich das Innere des Hauses, weil ich auch Farben so sehr liebe.


lisa said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing so many pictures, and I agree with you regarding the green paint and the water garden plantings-yucky!

Piondröm said...

I envious you Yolanda who live in the midle of Europe, just take the car and drive some hour and you are in a different country.
Well...I just have to be satisfied
to look at your pictures, for the moment enyway. And that is not so bad.
Have a realy nice weekend Yolanda

em said...

i feel like i've been there now! thanks for the wonderful tour and insightful commentary!