Gardening and Landscaping

Courses from Monet's Garden

The impressionist painters of the late 19th century changed the way we looked in the planet, and in the case of Monet changed the way we looked at our gardens.

In 1883, Monet and his family moved into the village of Giverny, northwest of Paris. He found a home that had been a part of a farm with an orchard which was to eventually become his fire, both to paint and garden, until his death in 1926.

After his death, his stepdaughter Blanche managed both the garden and house, but after World War II both were found to be unfortunately deteriorated. Thanks mainly to generous donors, largely from the USA, the gardens have been restored and we can all appreciate the classic quality of Monet’s vision.

Probably the most well-known pictures of this garden are in Monet’s series of water lily paintings; the setting is a pond he created by deflecting the Ru River. There are a number of different components we can take from the gardens in Giverny, however, especially the option of plants and how they can be united to create that Monet magic within our own gardens.

The New York Botanical Garden

The most iconic picture of Monet’s garden, found in many of his most famous Giverny paintings, is that the Japanese bridge. The first, inspired by Japanese woodblock prints which decorated Monet’s home, was built by local craftsmen.

A replica of this bridge is now the centerpiece of The New York Botanical Garden’s tribute to Monet. This party of Monet’s gardens, including representations of his plantings, as well as the chance to see two rarely seen paintings by the artist, is on display until October 21, 2012.

The New York Botanical Garden

Leading from Monet’s home is the central street, here re-created in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory in The New York Botanical Garden. The street is the highlight of this garden in late summer and autumn.

Planting schemes of this early 20th century consisted of overabundant borders encased in boxwood (Buxus spp.) . Monet removed all of the box edging from borders in the existing garden, permitting the free plants to ramble on the pathway. This veered in the arrangement and constraint of modern garden design in the moment.

A clever trick he used when forming bedrooms, and one easily reproduced in our own gardens, was to bank up the soil to make the plants seem taller.

The New York Botanical Garden

While the first garden was planted with Japanese anemones, asters and nasturtiums, the re-creation is a party of pastels, with the spires of delphiniums, verbascums and lupins surrounded by blowsy peonies.

Monet’s garden was without a doubt implanted to his own taste. He did not follow fashion and hated plants that he watched as “unnatural,” like foliage foliage.

The New York Botanical Garden

Peeping out among the lush herbaceous plants and foliage would be the clean-cut blossoms of Dutch iris (Iris x hollandica), zones 5 to 9. Monet was enthusiastic about blending different types of plants, by the easiest wildflower to the most rare selection, provided that he acheived the effect he desired.

Unlike the big rhizome-grown bearded iris, Dutch irises are evergreen and clump forming. They’re easy to develop and great as cut flowers.

Possibly the star of Monet’s garden, especially during May and June, is your Egyptian iris (Iris ‘Germanica’),zones 3 to 8.

He grew them in various colors and forms, but the most well known would be the blues, violets, purples and whites. By growing early and late cultivars, Monet established a longer period of flowering, helped by the alkaline soil of Giverny.

You will find bearded irises to suit all sizes and designs of gardens, and as with Monet’s garden, selection of differing cultivars can possibly prolong the flowering season or provide you a blaze of color just when you want it.

The season starts with the miniature dwarf bearded iris, that’s the first to flower in April; it ends in late June or early July with tall bearded iris.

Growing suggestion: Many irises need well-drained soil in full sun. To keep these irises in their best they should be separated and replanted in July or August every two to three years. Any poor or diseased plants can be lost, while the best are replanted.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

One of the fundamental tenets of Monet’s gardening was supposed to create harmony in the plantings. We can see here how that notion has been utilized in a modern scheme, with the purple salvias mixing beautifully with the globe-headed alliums.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

But looking closer we visit a further link to Monet, with the touch of white blooms to set off mauves and purples. It is a simple means to enliven monotone plantings and one which we locate at Giverny, not only in borders of pastel plantings but also in some of the hot colors of late summer and autumn.

Aitken and Associates

It is not only the lush planting of herbaeceous perennials that can give us the air of a Monet border. We can see here how the usage of Mediterranean plants in a drier climate fulfills the same functions: The Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans), zones 9 to 10, takes the place of towering delphiniums, while the Spanish chamomile (Lavandula stoechas), zones 6 to 9, stands accountable for the decreased plantings of lupins and nicotiana.

Elliott Brundage Landscape Design

Even in very modern, soft landscape layout, we can bring a bit of Monet’s planting palette. Here, drifts of May Night Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris ‘May Night’), zones 3 to 9, and Walker’s Low Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’), zones 3 to 8, are all utilized to create a loose union of linking colors that roam quite publicly — only as Claude Monet liked.

To find the actual thing: Monet’s Giverny garden is available every day from the begining of April at the end of October. Guided tours of the garden are available in English, French and German. You will find local accommodations, or you can take a day trip by bus from Paris.

The New York tribute: Watch the exhibition at The New York Botanical Garden through October 21, 2012.

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