Jardin de Lavande sampler: block eight
Over the past few weeks I've been introducing you to my new Jardin de Lavande blocks - prior to their release in July - and taking you on a leisurely virtual tour of France's most beautiful gardens. And this week our garden is a work of art...
Painter Claude Monet in his studio and in his garden...
This week we travel north to a tiny Normandy village that is known throughout the world: Giverny. The magical garden created by Impressionist painter Claude Monet at the turn of the twentieth century, is recorded in paintings that grace galleries across the globe.
Monet’s vision turned a weedy plot of marshland abutting a railway track - which he spotted from a train - into a careful composition of shady walks bordered by deep, colourful borders and that lily pond. And each year (well, most years) more than 500,000 people travel to Giverny to visit a place they’ve only seen in paintings.
Monet had spent his career innovating: whereas previous artists made sketches and retreated to their studios to mix their paint, he utilised new-fangled tubes of ready mixed paint to work outside, painting at speed to capture the ever-changing light. When he visited the 1889 Paris World Fair and saw a display of waterlilies by renowned breeder, Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac, it was love at first sight. He spent the next decade - and a small fortune - buying waterlilies from Marliac for his newly created pond.
He surrounded them with weeping willows, elegant bamboos and exotic flowers that, reflected in the water, form the the perfect foil to sheets of waterlily foliage. He wrote: "I saw, all of a sudden, that my pond had become enchanted... Since then, I have had no other model." Indeed he spent the last two decades of his life recording it and those paintings have become his signature.
Next week we are visiting a vegetable garden...but what a vegetable garden!