Monday, September 7, 2015

Trip Report - Giverny, France - Back to Monet's Garden (2 of 3)

Step back with me into Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, France as we build on last week's post and continue our ramble through the garden...

This is Enrico from Italy. He is one of the gardeners who is lucky enough to call Giverny his 'office'. Enrico was very kind to chat with me for a bit about his work at the garden, whether the garden looked similar in Monet's day (it didn't) and which plants from Giverny might work in my own Tennessee garden. He suggested that I consider Caryopteris x clandonensis (which happens to be blooming in my garden right now) and Oenothera speciosa (probably a bit too wild, from what I've read, but I'm strongly considering a different Oenothera - O. fruticosa - for my garden). Enrico also told me that approximately 70 percent (!) of the flowers in the Giverny garden are annuals, which gives you an idea of the immense amount of work that Enrico and his fellow gardeners do in overhauling the garden each winter and refreshing it anew for each spring, summer and autumn season. Thank you, Enrico!

Tithonia rotundifolia, Mexican sunflower. This is actually another  plant that Enrico recommended. I love Mexican sunflower, but my one attempt to grow it from seed ended in failure.

I believe this is amaranth.

Some type of Lavatera perhaps?

Grape-leaf anemone (and bee), if I'm not mistaken, with perhaps Phlox paniculata in the background?

Update: Gardener Enrico has kindly informed me that this is actually Dahlia 'Jet'. Thanks for the information, Enrico. I'm kind of a dunce sometimes when it comes to confusing dahlia and anemone flowers...

Loads more dahlias, I believe. Gorgeous flowers, although I believe they take some work in my zone (6/7) in terms of lifting the bulbs and overwintering them. Perhaps I'll try someday...

Update: Enrico has confirmed that these are, in fact, dahlias! The cultivar name is 'Othello'.

Love this use of lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) as an herbaceous border. I may try to replicate it. Although I wonder how much work it takes to keep the border from spreading into the path...?

Nasturtiums! According to Enrico, this is one part of the garden that is historically accurate. Apparently Monet was a big fan of Nasturtiums. Personally, I love Nasturtiums, both their cheery flowers and their interesting rounded foliage. I didn't have much success trying to grow them in Tennessee though. I think it was just too hot here (although I may have tried to grow them in 2012, which was an unusually hot summer). Anyway, they clearly are very happy growing in Giverny. Enrico said they need to cut back these Nasturtiums pretty regularly to keep them from overwhelming the entire path!

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.).

Update: Enrico has told me these are Solidago canadensis. Although S. canadensis would be a native plant in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and New England regions of the U.S., I believe it is considered invasive through much of Europe.

PS - Note that even in regions where it is native, some gardeners find S. canadensis too aggressive to grow as part of a mixed perennial garden bed, although they tolerate or even appreciate it in wilder parts of their property...There are many other goldenrod species which have a reputation as being able to 'play nice' with other plants. I'm growing a couple of those kinder, gentler species myself - S. sphacelata 'Golden Fleece' and S. caesia (wreath goldenrod). I plan to add a few more species (but not S. canadensis) to the garden next spring.

Don't miss the final installment of this romp through Monet's garden at Giverny. Sign up today for a free email subscription and you'll be among the first to know about new garden photos from France, England and (of course) Tennessee! :-)


  1. I googled Geranium and ended up here in this lovely garden that brightened my day; thanks for sharing it with us!
    I'm going to have a look to other posts

    1. Thanks for your comment, Phoenix.

      I'm very happy that my blog could brighten your day.

      Hope you enjoy the other blog posts and come back often :)

  2. How cool to visit this garden! I grow my own annuals, including tithonia, which is really easy to grow. I bet the soil there is amazing. :)

    1. 15 gardeners on staff. Been cultivated for 100+ years. Yep, soil is probably pretty good :)

      Any tips on growing Tithonia? Do you direct sow in the garden? That's what I tried and got zero germination. Then I tried starting it indoors, but it didn't survive transplantation. (Then again, my seed-starting-indoors-and-transplanting skills are pretty rubbish.)

  3. Oh yes that solidago is aggressive and I am pulling it out of beds now as I only allow it in my meadow. Lucky Enrico to work with those stunning blooms.

    1. Yep, a mail order nursery accidentally (!) sent me a S. canadensis this year. (Well, the plant that was supposed to be in the pot never grew and there must have been a S. canadensis seedling lurking there just waiting for its chance...)

      I ended up pulling it just last week (hopefully) before it could go to seed.

      Do you have any of the better-behaved Solidago species?

      Yep, I think Enrico is lucky indeed to work in such a beautiful 'office'! :)


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