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. How beautiful the gardens are. I loved reading this, the pics are just like his paintings aren’t they?

    I really liked the seventh pic.xxxx

    • Yes, the garden and the paintings are so similar in the feelings they give you … Judy and I wondered if the paintings inspired the garden or the other way round.

  2. 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.

  3. Your mention of reflections playing a key part of the garden brings up an important point…it’s definitely something to consider when designing with water features. Those willows are stunning.

    • They are, aren’t they? Though I wouldn’t plant one in my yard because they are truly massive and the roots will cause havoc. Luckily there is a nice one across the street from me.

  4. 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

    • I love this garden, though it is always crowded and often packed. The best thing is to get there late in the day or when the first open. However, I can’t imagine being disappointed in Giverny.

  5. I adored Monet’s garden and the small town when I visited in June. Unfortunately, the garden was very crowed. Even still, Giverny was a highlight of the trip.

  6. Gorgeous pictures. I do love that Willow and I love that observation you made about it seeming to exist in two different worlds. I’m not sure what garden I most love for its tranquility but I think when I take walks I always notice little pockets of tranquility along the way..I always enjoy that..

  7. The water does make for a tranquil feeling, I could use a pond around here come to think of it, plus the room for a willow and bridge.
    Great pictures, I’m looking forward to the upper garden!

    • Yes, I’d really like to purchase the lots adjoining mine, knock down the houses, and build whole new gardens there. Either that or move to an estate. Let me know if you hear of any available cheap.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!!

  10. 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 🙂

  11. I have several books on Monet’s garden and it is at the top of my list of gardens that I would love to visit one day. What a treat it must have been to see it in person! I am looking forward to the next post.

    • It was a treat indeed. I would love to go back and visit the garden in each season. We’ve seen it in April and September, next I would love to see it in June.

  12. 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.

  13. Didn’t it make you feel as if you were looking through Monet’s eyes? I had that feeling when I visited parts of New Mexico that Georgia O’Keefe painted. Beautiful pictures, especially the reflections on the water.

  14. You’re so lucky to be there! This place is added on my travel list. Thank you very much for the experience share 😀

  15. Jason, I am just getting caught up with all your vacation posts. That photo of the willow tree reflected in the pond is wonderful. Kudos to Judy. Your posts are making want to get back to both Paris and Giverny.

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