The Two Gardens

There are two parts to Monet’s gardens — a flower garden named Le Clos Normand and a Japanese-inspired water garden, le jardin d’eau.

france2015Day213Le Clos Normand

Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883. They settled on a piece of land sloping gently down from the house to the road, which was planted with an orchard and enclosed by high stone walls.

A central alley bordered with pines separated the land into two parts. Monet had the pines cut down, keeping only the two yews closest to the house to please his wife, Alice.

From this Clos Normand of about one hectare, Monet made a garden full of perspectives, symmetries and colors.

The land is divided into flowerbeds where flower clumps of different heights create volume. Fruit trees or ornamental trees dominate the climbing roses, the long-stemmed hollyhocks and the colored banks of annuals. Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the most rare varieties.

The central alley is covered over by iron arches on which climbing roses grow. Other rose trees cover the balustrade along the house. At the end of the summer, nasturtiums invade the soil in the central alley.

Claude Monet did not like organized nor constrained gardens. He married flowers according to their colors and left them to grow rather freely.

As he got older, he developed a passion for botany, exchanging plants with his friends Clemenceau and Caillebotte. Always on the look-out for rare varieties, he bought young plants at great expense. “All my money goes into my garden,” he said. But also: “I am in raptures.”