Photo by Gautier Salles-unsplash.com
The gardens of the renowned Impressionist Artist Claude Monet is situated at the village of Giverny, Northern France where Monet painted his famous works of the Japanese bridge & water lily pond.
The gardens are separated into two areas, the gardens in front of Claude Monet’s house & the pond garden with the Japanese style bridge across the other side of the road, they are known for their wide range of beautiful highly fragrant flowers which come to life in spring, in a range of colours and shapes that becomes more scented when they are lit up by the rays of the sun. Monet’s flower garden has the occasional splash of vivid colours like in an impressionist painting, Peonies were said to be one of Monet’s most admired plants and grew many rare peonies from Asia in the gardens, as well as tulips, dahlias, fox gloves, poppies, clematis, sage, chrysanthemums, Japanese anemones and love lies bleeding among others.
The strongly scented captivating fragrance of the hyacinths in various colour combinations are charming in Spring, especially as one walks past the flower beds full of these lovely plants. Many fragrant roses of all colours are also present in the gardens which trail up archways and trellis.
At the water garden the beautiful array of purple and white blooms of the wisteria reflects over the sepia water of the pond above the simplistic Japanese style bridge where colourful shrubs surround the pond. There is also a smaller bridge which is situated over a canal which at one time used to flow into the pond, it has wisteria growing above it and has similarities to the larger bridge. The pond contains water lilies koi carp and also smaller fish such as ruds, perch and pike as well as various wildlife. Lovely colourful shrubs, bulbous plants and annuals surround the areas of the pond such as tulips, iris, azaleas, tall fox gloves and peonies.
Near to the pond is a large beech tree which shades the ground on warm days and was planted by Monet.
Claude Monet decided to remain in the village of Giverney from the late 1800s when he caught sight of it out of the window while passing on a train. His house and gardens are now very popular with tourists and artists worldwide & when he claimed ownership of the house and gardens in 1890 he transformed it completely by planting 100,000 flower varieties in the front garden and across the road from his house a pond was added while gradually adding the Japanese style bridge, wisteria and other flowers and shrubs & of course the water lilies.
The land in front of the house was originally an orchard and was sloping, it has a multitude of different sized flowers, shrubs and trees to add volume and colour as well as iron archways for growing trailing roses. Claude Monet died n 1926 and after its decline after the second world war the house and garden was restored to its former glory, such as the amazing brightly coloured yellow dinning room with red terra cotta & beige tiles.
Flower of the month- Pelargonium citronellum
Pelargonium citronellum also known as the lemon scented pelargonium because of its strong lemon scented palmate leaves which have elaborate veins on the underside and are covered by hairs also present on the stems.
The flowers are pinkish purple with darker veins on the upper petals and can grow to about 200 cm in height, its is similar to Pelargonium scabrum which is also lemon scented ,but the leaves & flowers are much larger in size and the scent is stronger.
P. Citronellum is native to the South Western Cape, on lower areas of the Langeberg mountains. It is
ideal for scented gardens or in large pots in full sun and sandy loam soils, PH neutral preferably close to water or near the coast and is great for flavouring food and beverages, added to pot pourri especially when the leaves become more fragrant in the Summer months and can also help deter insect pests and mosquitoes.
Pelargonium Mabel grey is suggested to be a hybrid between scabrum & hispidum and it is said to be the strongest lemon fragrance of all the lemon scented pelargoniums with pale purple flowers and is the original ancestor to a variety of Lemon scented hybrid pelargoniums.
Another lemon scented leaf pelargonium is P. crispum native the the Western cape which has fan shaped leaves and white to deep pink flowers.