Coles County Yard and Garden

Coles County Yard and Garden

Fun Facts About Monet’s Garden at Giverny, France

By Lucille Saunders, Master Gardener

Hopefully everybody has enjoyed a pleasant holiday season and looking forward to the year 2017. Since January is a month of little outside gardening, I thought the following would be interesting:

· When the artist Claude Monet first moved to Giverny, France, there were no gardens, only an old farmhouse. He painted in the barn.

· He came up with the designs and the planting layout for all the gardens; her hired seven different gardeners over time, but the plans were all his own.

· There were more trees than flowers when he arrived, including a central alley lined with pines. His wife liked the pines but he didn't, so he kept two to please her and chopped down the rest.

· As an artist, he knew how to create volume: he planted flowers of different heights blooming throughout the season to create a visual impression of depth even from a distance.

· Despite his planning, he resisted gardens organized too neatly or formally; he mixed local wildflowers and exotic species together, organizing by color palette.

· He began buying and trading plants with botany lovers, and once wrote, "All my money goes into my garden…I am in raptures."

· The famous water garden didn't appear for 10 years; it was made when he bought a neighboring property containing a small brook. The local citizenry fought the digging of the pond, fearing his exotic plants would poison the brook.

· He expanded the pond and added the bridge to mimic Japanese gardens, which had become an obsession of his, despite the fact that he had only seen them in books. He never went to Japan.

· When he died at age 86, he was buried in the Giverny cemetery—with only four dozen people in attendance.

· His sole heir, son Michel, bequeathed the pond and garden to France. A half million visitors come each year to witness the beauty that inspired Monet.

· If you are a reader you might be interested in some of the new titles that Master Gardeners have added to their reference library. While the public cannot borrow from the MG library, these books might be available at the local library or purchased from Amazon.

New Small Garden by Noel Kingsbury explores a multitude of contemporary design ideas alongside proven small-space planting principles.

Growing the Past, Saving the Future Heirloom Plants by Thomas Etty & Lorraine Harrison is a complete compendium of Heritage Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs & Flowers

The Essential Garden Design Workbook Second Edition by Rosemary Alexander is tailor-made for hands-on gardeners who want to rework their gardens to achieve that sought-after "designer finish." Hundreds of explanatory drawings, quick-reference diagrams an color photographs make this workbook a vital addition for every gardener, design student and newly qualified professional.

Mother Earth News Almanac A Guide Through the Seasons is a fun book with recipes, money-saving hints, organic gardening information, weather lore, recycling projects and lots more.


If you have questions about your garden or landscape, feel free to contact a Master Gardener volunteer at the University of Illinois Extension office in Charleston at 217-345-7034. You can also check out the many horticulture webpages at the U of I Extension's website by visiting . And be sure to like the Master Gardeners' Facebook page, at

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