There are some gardens
I have dreamed of seeing
All my gardening life.
This month I was lucky enough
To spend time in one of them.
Monet’s garden in Giverny, France.
It was an extraordinary opportunity.
A week staying in a manor house
With private access each morning
Before the garden opened to the public
And each evening
After it closed.
As John put it when I first told him about it
“You have to go.”
Fortunately Kristina was up for a trip.
As was Debra.
So the three of us
Set out for France.
Spending a few days in Paris
Where chocolate mousse is served
In a soup tureen!!!
Before traveling north to the countryside.
We were part of a group of 12 women
Mostly from the west coast
Who had some connection to
Who years ago was
The first woman gardener at Giverny.
She has returned each year for 33 years.
Maintaining friendships with gardeners.
And making more friends along the way.
This was the first year she has taken a group
To the garden.
We were along for the second week.
And fortunate to have learned about it.
Over the next few weeks
I want to share this experience with you.
So let’s begin at the beginning.
I first became aware of Elizabeth
When I bought her book “Monet’s Passion”.
It was a resource book for my garden design days.
I highly recommend it.
Decades later I would learn that she offers
“Days of creativity” in her home.
And journey to Monterrey
With friends for my 60th birthday.
When she emailed last fall
Telling me about the trip
I got just the tiniest bit excited
And spread that to Kristina and Debra.
I would like to thank my friends
Who patiently listened to me for 6 long months
Anticipating our trip.
We gathered at La Reserve just outside Giverny
On a Sunday afternoon.
Two from Australia
Two from Oklahoma
One from Colorado
Seven from Northern California.
Some had come to paint.
Some to draw.
Others to photograph
And me who wanted to sit
On one of those famous green benches
To wait for my Monet muse.
To walk the paths of this garden he created.
To see the famous light that so inspired him.
To breath the garden air.
To simply take it all in.
Because our time in the garden
Was before it opened
Each day began with a “pre-breakfast snack”
Which is really no problem since the sun
Came up at 5:30!
We gathered at the gardeners gate
And entered through their “shed” which was Monet’s first studio.
Images etched in my mind over decades
Pale to the reality before me.
Flowers I have known and grown
Others that are new to me.
Then there is the famous light
Moment by moment
Turning poppy petals into small stained glass works of art.
Elizabeth points out the window to Monet’s bedroom
And tells me that each morning he would open the windows
To see what was in bloom.
A habit I have with my own bedroom window
Overlooking my garden
You can tell this is a garden
Created by a gardener
Who also happened to be an artist.
Thanks for indulging me.
“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
The photos I will share over the next few weeks are from Debra, Kristina and me. I’m guessing you can tell which ones are from Debra! Thank you for sharing.