The Lower Garden At Giverny

After Paris, we took the train to Vernon, then got a ride to the village of Giverny, where we stayed overnight. The next morning, we visited Claude Monet’s garden.

Giverny, Claude Monet

Monet really created two gardens. There is the upper garden, which has vibrant masses of color emerging from rectangular beds – sometimes called the paintbox garden. Then there is the lower garden, which is created around an oval pond. Where the upper garden is exciting, the lower is tranquil. Instead of explosions of color emerging from geometric beds, the lower garden is mostly curves, shades of green, and leafy textures.

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Monet loved Japanese art, and this influence shows in the lower garden. A print Monet owned is thought to be the inspiration for this bridge. I really like that shade of blue.

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The bridge is also famous for the wisteria that engulfs it.  We missed the glorious masses of blue that occurs in in late spring, but there was some modest rebloom that was still lovely.

Wisteria, Giverny, Claude Money, Bridge

The Japanese influence is also seen in the bamboo growing on either side of a stretch of path. When we were there the bamboo had grown so tall it required staking – see the wire stretched across the photo? I will return to the issue of staking when I write about the upper garden.

Giverny, Claude Monet, Bamboo

This pond is famous in part because of the series of paintings that Monet did of the water lilies growing there. The water lilies were blooming during our visit, though they were not yet at their height. For me, the pastel colored lilies and round lily pads added to the sense of tranquility.

Monet, Giverny, water lilies

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Watery reflections are another essential aspect of this garden. The reflections of the willow trees are especially entrancing, as the trees seem to exist in two adjoining worlds.

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I should mention that the lower garden is not entirely without bright colors. There is a bit of Rudbeckia, Phlox, some kind of Impatiens, Rose of Sharon, Japanese Anemone, and of course the water lilies.

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Plus the berries on the Viburnum opulus.

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My next post or two will be on my own poor neglected garden, then I’ll get back to Giverny.

What are your favorite gardens for tranquility?

46 Comments on “The Lower Garden At Giverny”

  1. Sissinghurst in low season when you can get round without too many people getting in the way….went to Giverny about 4 years ago ,it was pretty busy and extremely hot,but I was inspired by several parts of the garden and by some of the planting schemes ,glad I went.

  2. Thank you for this post, it is a garden I have promised myself to visit but then I’ve heard conflicting reviews; some were disappointed but you seem to be very positive. I love your images with the broken reflections they are quite magical! They also capture what I would hope to see. Christina

  3. I am so jealous of your visit! Giverney, especially the lower garden, is one of my favorite gardens in the world, at least from photos I have seen, since I have never actually been there. Your own photos did not change my opinion! The color of my own little bridge in my woodland garden was inspired by Monet’s famous bridge.

  4. The reflections in his pond are magnificent! I can see where he gathered his inspiration! And yes the lower garden, though subtle, does have a bit of color that pops through! How wonderful that you were able to see this garden!!! It is one I have studied and admired for years! I actually taught a lesson to my 4th grade art students about Monet and his garden! Brings back fond memories for me! All the best Jason!!

  5. I love your pictures! I think I am more of a lower garden type of girl. However I have never been to this garden 🙂 Lanscape gardens are my favorite, and I am stunned at the effect a “designed” woordland can have!

    Rousham and Strourhead are my favorite gardens for tranquility and everything else 🙂

  6. Not long ago I saw Monet’s fab waterlily paintings in an exhibition and this year I did a feature on the waterlily nursery where he ordered all his plants (worth a visit too when you get the chance). Always wanted to go to Giverny but alas, never enough time to do all I want – hopefully I’ll get there some day.

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