The first time I visited Monet's garden was a summer afternoon and I was able to explore it alone. I really didn’t know what to expect so I appreciated the isolation. I know his paintings just as everyone does but how did he paint in the garden? I've spent a lot of time in the garden from childhood and I like to think of myself as a fairly decent gardener. I methodically layed out my garden in Charleston, trying to think clearly and strategically as to what will bloom when and what textures and colors compliment each other. But there is no competing with Monet, the Master of the Garden.
When you first walk into Monet’s garden you can’t help but notice the crowds. Everyone wants to know the master. Everyone wants to see what he saw. It really is amazing. The first thing I did is quickly pull off to the side, get away from the crowd, find a quiet spot, and get lost. I went in June the first time and have tried to make that trip every time I go to Paris, to get lost in his amazing garden. Colors blend and textures draw subtle lines as you walk from space to space.
And then, of course, there are the water lilies. I can imagine him sitting by the water, a glass of red wine in his hand and probably two under his belt, contemplating how perfect the water lilies were. Purple is one of my favorite colors and the purple iris are everywhere. There’s an iris garden but for some reason I only notice the purple ones. Needless to say it smells like heaven in Monet’s Garden. I am a photographer and a gardener and a designer and a mother, and all of those aspects of myself stand at attention when I am standing in Monet’s garden. I try desperately to catch just the right light. I am amazed at the strokes of color and how beautifully they are painted around the garden. I go into his home each time because I love the selection of bold color in the kitchen and how happy and colorful it all is. When I turn and see my children with their own cameras trying to capture the same beauty I am so thankful for this gift. Monet’s garden is a gift. Don’t miss it.