It may be surprising to learn the famous gardens of Giverny have only been open to the public for 35 years. Before that they had stood in a state of disarray following their demise during World War II. A ten-year restoration removed the trees growing in Monet’s studio, dredged sediment from the garden and saw the pond rebuilt. The house and garden had undergone a slow decay since Monet’s death in 1926 and a full restoration was needed to return the property to its former glory.
Today we see the gardens as they would have appeared to the artist who created them. Unique among painters, Monet created his masterpieces twice, first in the design and construction of his famed gardens and second through the numerous paintings set in finished landscape. Monet painted his landscapes over and over again, capturing the shifting light, the flowing mist and the innumerable reflections from the water. His water garden served as a source of inspiration for over twenty years, leaving us with his beloved series of the Japanese bridge and water lilies.
Adjacent to the house is Monet’s flower garden, The Clos Normand. Here he planted beds full of color. Monet had a passion for plants and secured rare varieties from afar. He planted these among common flowers, using color and volume to guide his designs. The flower gardens offered many perspectives for viewing and painting. Famous features include the iron archways crisscrossing the central pathway and Monet’s vast collection of roses.