Saturday, 19 June 2010

What I Did On My Holidays

The first day back from the school holidays when I was a child in primary school, was taken up mostly by writing a "composition", about What I Did In The Holidays.  And I could never think what to write, all the long summer days had paled into Autumn and Back to School, -  maybe it's just that children are best at "now" as opposed to "last week" or in my case even "ten minutes ago"!

Anyway, I've improved a bit now and can report that I've just come back from a trip to France and one of the lovely places we visited was Monet's famous garden at Giverny, not far from Paris. I was really looking forward to visiting this famous garden, and I thought you might like to see a few of the pictures I took.
But first here's Monet himself in his later years in his garden probably around 1920.

Bit of a dapper old chap I think, he was fond of the good things in life, and like to dress, and live well.
 And here's my picture of Monet's Garden now, a little too much ironmongery on show here, and not enough rose I think.

And as I walked around the garden I felt that there was a greater concern with keeping up a colourful display for the visitors, than in maintaining the garden in the way in which Monet might have known it.  Call me an old fuddy duddy (go on, I dare you) and maybe I've just been to too many National Trust "restored" gardens, and whilst I'm indeed no Monet expert, I don't think the old boy would have recognized some parts of his garden.
Would he for example, have had bedding displays of Impatiens, busy lizzies, like this

 or, (look away now, James) bedding geraniums (pelargoniums) worthy of any local authority roundabout display. I may be wrong, but I think probably not.

And whilst some of the climbing roses were absolutely lovely, there seemed too many modern floribunda varieties, (which I noticed are very popular in many french gardens) such as this bed of Centenary of Lourdes standards.

So loads of flowers, bright colours, and this may well be what Monet would have had were he still here, he certainly went to the french rose society's annual trials to find out what the latest thing was, and among his favourite "new" roses was the vigorous shocking pink rambler "American Pillar". So he certainly loved colour.
Anyway, the second half of the garden is the famous lake with the water lilies, which also  feature in Monet's  paintings. This part of the garden is wonderfully restful, and a delight, as you can see from even my amateur photography skills.

Here's Monet's Water Lilies


and Monet's Boat...


So, all in all, though I have some reservations on the planting, this is a wonderful garden, with plenty to see. It's always going to be busy though, so don't expect to have the place to yourself.
And finally I was pleased to note that Monet was apparently a poultry keeper, so here's..

Monet's chicken.

A Light Sussex if I'm not mistaken..

12 comments:

  1. Very interesting! No, probably not like he would have wanted it to be like, anymore. Still lovely and fresh though! Thank you, very enjoyable!

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  2. Beautiful pond, so peaceful and calming. Like you said, if he was alive today, who knows what his garden would have looked like.

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  3. I loved the photo of his boat and the waterlilies were lovely too.--Inger

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  4. I'm not familiar with how Monet lived but it is wonderful to know the water lilies and the pond are still there.

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  5. I loved the photo's ! The one of Monet's boat is my favourite :0)
    France and Italy are the two places I would love to visit!...But they are sooo far away.
    Thankyou for taking me there.

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  6. I agree with your comments about the gardens. I, for one, like a jumble of a garden, which is easier on the eye and less formalised, which more as nature intended. I suppose there is a need for some sort of order since the place is open to the public, but I would have felt uncomfortable with the tidiness. Nature is not tidy, therefore a garden, in my opinion, needs to look 'as if it has arrived somehow'. Like the water photos, though.

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  7. Dear Kathy, This is, I fear, so often the case. Perhaps it is nearly an impossible task to maintain a garden in the style and manner of its original owner. One is able, as you remark, to think of so many National Trust houses and gardens which, whilst beautifully and immaculately maintained, have completely lost their spirit. For example, I knew Sissinghurst in the last years of Lady N. Would she, I sometimes wonder, even recognise it today? And the same may be said for so many others. However, I am glad that you enjoyed Monet's garden - even if with reservations.

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  8. I love the water photos, but I have to agree that the remainder is probably not as Monet would have liked it. Too much order can be overpowering. Never the less I am sure you enjoyed walking around the garden. Diane

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  9. A running joke in our family whenever we go anywhere new, is to say "do I have to write a composition about this when we get home"

    I remember those essays so well- I always got reprimanded by the teacher for writing about my pony, but I was such a pony-mad child that it was the ONLY thing I ever did in my holidays!

    Have a lovely week
    x

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  10. Thanks for the tour, I do prefer the way the garden path is more rambling in Monet's original photo than the straight on in the second. Mind you that pond/lake is just stunning isn't it!

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  11. Thanks everyone for the comments, seems we're mostly of a like mind on this one!

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  12. Thanks for the warning there Mum, but I wanted to read the rest of the post so I had to scroll down which meant I accidently got a glimpse of the Pelargoniums *recoil in utter disgust*. Anyway having thrown up, I now feel much better and enjoyed the rest of the post and the lovely photos. Good work (except for... well you know what!)

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