Planted in 1992, the garden at Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny is awash with colour and over 22,000 plants. Far away from the hustle and bustle, a visitor can stroll through this garden alone or with their family, exploring it gradually through a subtle mix of interlaced flower beds, concealed by small hedges. This garden is the result of a successful collaboration between the museum architect Philippe Robert and the landscape designer Mark Rudkin, who devised a highly original French-style garden which leads from a charming pond to a huge flower-filled meadow.
Colours, atmosphere and landscapes: an enchanting garden
Located just a few metres from Monet’s home and gardens, the museum’s garden stands out for its structured and contemporary look. A central walkway leads to different monochrome chambers (pink, yellow, blue, black and white) or themes (rose bushes, aromatic plants). The hedges include emerald thujas and beech trees, whilst the flowerbeds feature alternating biennial and annual plants, ensuring a lively floral display from April through to October.
As the visitor walks through the garden, and depending on the season, they can enjoy different atmospheres. Brought alive with the murmur of pond water, the white garden, planted with tulips and lilies, offers a peaceful atmosphere and encourages the visitor to relax. Following a space with aromatic plants and rose bushes, the surprisingly original black garden is brimming with elders. The walk continues with three primary colours in succession. The intimacy of the blue flowerbeds with ageratums is offset by the warm and bright colours of yellow flowerbeds planted with begonias and dahlias. The pink garden, with its snapdragons and sweet Williams, offers both soft and lively colours and leads the visitor to the foot of a commanding Giverny hill.
A meadow so dear to Claude Monet
This leads to a very relaxing landscape, where it is possible to enjoy a majestic meadow planted with poppies and other segetal plants in May and June thanks to a subtle set of grass walkways. From August visitors can enjoy the sight of haystacks, another preferred subject of Impressionist painters. From there, it is possible to admire how the museum’s blends into Giverny’s delicate landscape.
When the garden intertwines with the museum
The architect Philippe Robert’s job was to create an imposing building which is as discreet as possible. The abundant vegetation acts as camouflage and the slope of the land helps the building to become discreet or even invisible. From the outside, it is rare to catch a glimpse of walls or windows, and when the visitor enters the building, their surprise is a sign of a job well done.
Daily environmental efforts
Throughout the year, the museum gardeners maintain and watch over the 2.5 hectares of land whilst protecting the environment. Chemical products have been prohibited in the garden for 20 years, ensuring a natural balance. Whilst some pests might appear here and there, they are never harmful for the garden; quite the opposite, as they can attract natural predators. Spontaneous plants – sometimes very rare species – have also been saved with manual weeding, encouraging visits by pollinators and indigenous insects. Nearby, some areas are intentionally left overgrown with piles of stones or dead wood to provide a habitat and attract a wealth of fauna.
The museum continues its commitment to biodiversity by welcoming new residents: bees. Three hives were installed in the meadow in April 2023. They have already begun their pollination work among the fruit trees and messicole plants in the museum garden.
In order to promote the local economy, the museum relies on the know-how of a beekeeper from the Eure: Sébastien Loison. He accompanies the institution in the monitoring of the hives and the harvest of the honey which will soon be put on sale at the shop.
Workshops led by Sébastien Loison are regularly organized (in French only) for visitors to the museum, young and old alike, to raise awareness of the role of bees in our ecosystem.
The approach to the hives will only be accessible during these workshops, in accordance with the rules of establishment, to ensure the safety of our visitors and the tranquility of the bees.
State assistance and recognition
An agreement with the Normandy Seine Natural Space Conservatory ensures sustainable and ecological management of the hill overlooking the museum. Once or twice a year, the conservatory offers a herd of sheep to naturally cut the grass in this very steep area.
Since September 2006, the garden at the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny has received the Remarkable Garden certification, awarded to over 400 public and private parks and gardens which are representative of the diverse range of gardens in our country.
In 2020, the garden joined the Refuges LPO (League for Bird Protection) network, and commits to protecting and hosting nearby biodiversity.