12 ways to make your garden as pretty as Claude Monet picture:
1 AIM FOR EXUBERANCE
Let one or two flamboyant, large-flowered hybrids provide the backbone to the garden, and then choose three or four subtler varieties as the ‘supporting acts’. In a late spring border for example, this could be: bearded iris, oriental poppies and peonies together with dame’s rocket, forget-me-not, viola and aubrieta.
2 LET PLANTS SPILL OVER
Grow nasturtiums along the edges of a long pathway and allow them to creep forward and meet in the middle, just like Monet did. Pink aubrieta or Lavender ‘Munstead’ are also plants he used to edge paths.
3 GROW LILIES IN POTS
Monet’s favourite plant of all time was the Japanese lily, Lilium auratum, which he loved for its beauty and heady scent. He grew it in pots close to his porch.
4 PAINT A BENCH GREEN
All garden structures at Giverny, including Monet’s iconic curved benches, were painted green to allow the flowers to take centre stage. Cuprinol’s Somerset Green shade is a close match to Monet’s. www.cuprinol.co.uk.
5 CREATE HARMONY
Pink, blue and white was a harmonious colour combination Monet loved. Try pink peonies, blue bearded iris and dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis) together.
6 ADD HEIGHT
Monet wanted colour above his head as well as on the ground – his favourite climbing rose was ‘American Pillar’, which he planted all along the Grand Allée.
7 INCLUDE MID-HEIGHT PLANTS
Bridge the gap between climbers and ground level plants with tapering perennials like gladiolus, foxgloves,
lupins, and Verbascum chaxii.
8 MAKE COLOURS CLASH
Impressionist painters liked strong contrasts of colour to provoke drama in a painting. Orange and blue was a particular favourite of Monet’s. In spring, try orange wallflowers and tulips next to blue forget-me-not, and in late summer, go for orange dahlias, yellow rudbeckia and blue asters.
9 ACHIEVE GARDEN SHIMMER
Monet was a master at capturing the tiny pinpricks of light shimmering on water on a sunny day. He also successfully re-created this ‘Impressionist shimmer’ – as it is known – in his garden by using plants with airy white flowers like Gaura lindheimeri, cosmos and dame’s rocket.
10 ADD A TOUCH OF BLACK
As a contrast to the impressionistic shimmer, Monet valued plants with a dark centre, like rudbeckias, as well as black-faced violas. He liked the way these acted like black stipple on a canvas.
11 CREATE A MISTY HAZE
Monet loved to paint the morning mist and tried to imitate it with his plantings. He amassed blue forget-me-not beneath tall pink tulips to create what appears to be a ground mist.
12 PLANT IN ‘BANDS’
Grow plants in long, straight ‘bands’ (or rows) to create strong lines of perspective when viewed downwards – wallflowers, bearded iris, gladiolus, daffodils and tulips will all work well.
HOW TO GET TO GIVERNY
Travel from Paris to Giverny is easy: take the 45-minute train journey from St Lazare to Vernon. You can then hire a bike from Vernon station and cycle the 7km to the garden – follow the sign that says Musée De Giverny – Piétons Et Cyclistes, or catch one of the shuttle buses that run every 15 minutes.
The garden is open daily from 30th March until 1st November, 9.30am-6pm (last admission 5.30pm). Adult ticket price: 9,50 euros. For more information, go to www.fondation-monet.com.
The garden has something spectacular to offer every season: highlights are: tulips and daffodils in April, iris and wisteria in May, roses in June, waterlilies in July, and September for dahlias and nasturtiums. It’s a garden worth visiting several times to appreciate all the seasons!
TOP TIP: Over 500,000 visitors pass through the entrance gates at Giverny each year. To avoid the crowds try to reach the gardens as early as possible, or wander around during lunchtime.