Monet’s garden at Giverny
Andrea Bellamy |

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There’s something exhilarating about seeing a famous garden in person. I also find, and, maybe it’s just me, that I am usually slightly underwhelmed. Maybe it’s because often there are hordes of tourists, or I feel like I have to take everything in and end up hurrying through, snapping photos, without really enjoying it.

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I tried not to build up Giverny in my mind so much, to avoid disappointment. I don’t really think I needed to though.

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It was the perfect time to be there. Everything seemed to be in full bloom: irises, roses, peonies, violas.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find seemingly-wild colour combinations (although I’m sure they were carefully orchestrated). I guess I’d expected the whole garden to look kind of like a My Monet weigela; muted pinks, whites, mauves. Indeed, pastels rule at Giverny, but so do reds, oranges and blacks.

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I took my time wandering through the gardens. Yes, I took hundreds of photos. But I also crossed my eyes and imagined what Monet would have seen with this failing eyesight. I smelled the roses. I saved fallen petals between the pages of my journal.

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And it was good.



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