On April 12, 2017, my daughter, son-in-law, and I went with his parents to see the gardens of Giverny, home of French impressionist painter Claude Monet, about 50 miles northwest of Paris. Giverny has two gardens — the Clos Normand, the flower garden in front of the house, and the Japanese-style water garden, which inspired his Water Lilies series. From 1883, when he moved to Giverny, until his death in 1926, Monet oversaw the planting of millions of seeds and young plants.
The Clos Normand has flowerbeds of differing heights and arrangements. Monet mixed the simplest flowers with the rarest varieties. He did not like organized gardens, preferring to plant flowers according to their colors, then leaving them to grow freely.
In 1893, Monet bought the land that would become the water garden with its famous Japanese bridge and pond. This garden includes weeping willows, a bamboo wood, flowering trees and shrubs, and the water lilies which bloom all summer long.
Monet died in 1926. His son Michel inherited the property, later passing it to the Academie des Beaux-Arts. In 1977, a 10-year reconstruction of the house and gardens began. The house and greenhouse had been badly damaged during World War II but the gardens were restored with the same flowers Monet had planted.
Giverny is scheduled to reopen April 19 — the flowers will be waiting! Much more information at http://giverny.org/gardens/fcm/fleurs/listflor.htm
I am not a gardener so will not attempt to accurately identify the flowers and trees in the gardens! The Clos Normand was Monet’s “front yard,” covering about 2.5 acres. Clos Normand means “closed garden Normandy” (Giverny is in the Normandy region). My daughter has lived in Paris for six years but this was the first time she had been to Giverny in the spring.