Tilehurst Horticultural Association 

Talk Reviews 2019 / 2020

31 October 2019 7.45 p.m.   Carole Petipher      Monet’s Paradise on Earth 

Carole’s career started in the French steel industry and she lived in France for many years, spending 20 years working as a tour guide, where she enjoyed the privileged position of being able to visit Monet's garden at Giverny at different times of the day and year and take photos privately.  She draws on her own love of art and gardening to describe how Monet, from his unlikely beginnings, became passionate about gardening and how he created his artist's garden at Giverny. 

Carole traced Monet's life and career, from Paris, through properties at Argenteuil and Vetheuil, until he found his house at Giverny, which he first rented and later was able to buy.   Illustrated by photographs of the gardens and Monet's own paintings, we were able to see the types of planting and flowers he used, such as tulips, iris, wisteria, geraniums, agapanthus, creating a seasonal palette of blocks of colour.  He lived at Giverny for the second half of his life, from the age of 43 until his death at 86, buying adjoining land to create his famous but locally controversial lily ponds.  For the last 20 years of his life, in spite of his failing sight, his paintings consisted mainly of water lilies. 

Carole finished her entertaining talk by telling us how, after Monet's death in 1926, the gardens fell into disrepair, but have now been restored to their former standard.  Each year the gardens are closed for the winter months and re-open in April having been replenished with 25.000 bulbs and 100,000 perennials. 

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