Sprucing up the garden!

The gates of Claude Monet’s house and gardens closed at dusk on 1 November for the traditional winter break. Our visitors have only just left but already our green-thumbed gardeners are rolling up their sleeves. Let’s take a look…

While Giverny has been gently slumbering in peace since 2 November, there has been nothing but hustle and bustle behind the walls of Claude Monet’s house and gardens. Like untiring ants, our gardeners are putting all their effort into preparing the most stunning gardens for you to enjoy in 2023! 

“We started by pulling out all the nasturtiums in the central path, as well as the annuals,” explains Rémi Lecoutre, Deputy Head Gardener. “The perennials have been cut, the stakes removed and the watering system disconnected and stored away.” While one team started digging over the flower beds, other gardeners cut around the male yew that stands guard at the top of the central path, in order to remove superficial roots. 

After digging over the flower beds, the gardeners divided the lythrum salicaria or purple loosestrife and evenly spaced them out along the central path. This large perennial holds the promise of an abundance of reddish purple flowers along its long stems. Other gardeners started the process of meticulously sorting the bulbs. While some, like eremurus and alliums, are reused straight away alongside new bulbs, others like acidanthera murielae will only be replanted in spring, when there is no longer a risk of frost.

And there’s no messing around with the planting order! “The eremurus are big and bulky so there’re the first to be planted,” explains Rémi Lecoutre. Next in the central path are two middle lines of alliums and three varieties of camassia, a pretty plant that produces stunning blue or white flowers. “Next are the crown imperials and persica, and of course the tulips!” Microbulbs are planted later, including wood anemones and triteleias. The central path is one of the priority planting sections, as are the flower beds around the house which hold a huge number of bulbs. After that, the gardeners will concentrate on the paths running the length of the public area and finish with the flower beds that only hold a few bulbs.

In the water garden, the most urgent job is to prune the water lilies to prevent organic matter accumulating on the pond bed. If that is not done, algae will proliferate in spring!

The well-oiled machine is now in operation. Guided by expert hands, Mother Nature is preparing a beautifully intoxicating Garden of Eden in Giverny…