05 July 2012

Monet's Garden

Claude Monet reportedly said that if he hadn’t become a painter he would have been a botanist. This interest in plants led to the creation of his famed garden in Giverny with its colourful flowerbeds, mix of rare and common plants, and Japanese-inspired water garden with his beloved water lilies. In their exhibit "Monet's Garden," the New York Botanical Garden has attempted to recreate some of the magic of Giverny so a few weeks ago I headed up to the Bronx to take a look.

I started off at the Victorian-style Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Inside a French flower garden flourished on either side of the walkway with hollyhocks, roses, foxgloves, poppies, delphiniums, irises, and more. It was all so lovely. I just wish I had visited earlier and seen more spring flowers (the flowers in the exhibit will change along with the seasons).

At the end was a recognizable green Japanese bridge over a small lily pond. It took a while to get a shot of it as everyone wanted to stand on it. I don't blame them. I did too.

Yet outside was the biggest surprise of the exhibit. There in the courtyard pools were water lilies the likes of which I had never seen. They were huge and beautiful and absolutely amazing. Some of the flowers were the size of cabbages. Fish swam around the lily pads and dragonflies buzzed by and even though it was incredibly humid I could have stood there all day looking at them.

Dragging myself away from the water lilies, I head over to the Rondina Gallery where two Monet paintings were on display along with photos, documents, and other items from Giverny including one of Monet’s palettes, a perfect ending to a great exhibit.

“Monet’s Garden” runs through October 21, 2012. The Bronx is always a trek but much cheaper than a flight to France so go if you can. For more information, visit the Botanical Garden’s website here.

Photos by Michele.

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