Claude Monet’s gardens, nestled along the banks of the Seine in Giverny, are world renowned thanks to the famous paintings they inspired. Today, Monet’s House and Gardens at the Fondation Claude Monet have become an international pilgrimage site for garden enthusiasts and art lovers alike.
In London for the famous annual flower show at Hampton Court (2015) James Priest, Head Gardener at the Monet Gardens in Giverny designed a Normandy Impressionist Garden, inspired by Monet’s garden. Alexandre Thomas of the Agapanthe Gardens in Normandy’s Pas de Bray, brought James’ design to life as the garden’s landscaper.
Monet’s forty plus years at Giverny inspired hundreds of paintings depicting the famous lily ponds, the Japanese bridge and the brightly coloured floral alleys and agapanthus flowers. The Normandy Impressionist garden in London featured key plants and trees to achieve the look.
Main plants used: Miscanthus, Nymphaea – Water Lily Red and Pink, Iris Kaempferi, Agapanthus Headbourne Blue
Trees: Weeping Willow, Purple Map
A wooden bridge, painted bright green over a pond or stream with the plants and trees mentioned above will help you create your own homage to Monet.
More Normandy gardens to inspire:
Originally from the east-end of London, Geoff Troll moved to Normandy 30 years ago to pursue a career as an artist. He soon turned his hand to landscaping and combined his passions by creating ‘Land Art.’ Inspired by childhood visits to Hampton Court’s maze and motivated by environmental concerns, in 2003 Geoff began work on his masterpiece – Artmazia. Made up of 5,000 beech trees, this is one of the world’s longest hedge-mazes. Full of intrigue, games and art, Artmazia holds annual temporary exhibitions.
Le Jardin des Sculptures, Bois-Guilbert
When Jean-Marc de Pas inherited his 17th century family estate at the age of 21, he searched for a way to combine his passion for sculpture with the task then bestowed upon him; maintaining the Château grounds. Jean-Marc transformed 3 hectares of grazing land into an idyllic sculpture garden where 70 of his works punctuate the landscape, giving visitors a garden where art blends with nature.
Gardens of Chateau de Canon
This 18th century parkland is listed both as a Historical Monument and a Noteworthy Garden of France thanks to the extraordinary harmony of its formal beds, natural groves, streams, waterfalls, a Chinese Pavilion and a Greco-Roman Temple. The final pièce derésistance is the Chartreuses; a stunning group of thirteen walled gardens entirely made up of hardy perennials which create an open air glasshouse – unique in France.
Christian Dior Museum and garden, Granville
Overlooking the sea in Granville, Christian Dior’s Belle Époque childhood home is a museum and tea-room. The villa’s cliff top garden was arranged by the designer’s mother, Madeleine Dior, in the style of an English landscape park. The sweet scent of lily of the valley – Dior’s favourite flower – fills the air; walls of greenery, a pergola and a mirror pool are reminiscent of typical 20s and 30s gardens, and a rose garden completes the English garden effect.
Normandy’s Impressionist History
Normandy is considered the birthplace of Impressionism. In the nineteenth century, a group of experimental artists wanting to break away from the strictures of classical French painting arrived in Normandy.
Attracted by the quality of the light and the beauty of the unspoilt countryside, they set up their easels in the open air and painted the ever changing light and landscape. This was the beginning of Impressionism and Normandy was the birthplace of the movement. Today, visitors from all over the world flock to the region to admire the timeless landscapes alongside the paintings they inspired.
Annual Normandy Impressionist Festival
In 2016, the Normandy Impressionist Festival will return, bringing the region to life with the sights and sounds of Impressionism. The festival is now an established event in Normandy’s calendar and has welcomed nearly a million visitors to date. The central theme of the 2016 edition will be Impressionist Portraits and the festival will explore this through exhibitions and events encompassing all types of artistic expression influenced by Impressionism: painting, music, dance, theatre, photography and architecture.