I replied, in a matter of fact manner, “Monet painted? I only knew about his gardens.”
And then I told him he should read “Monet’s Passion: Ideas, Inspiration & Insights from the Painter’s Gardens by Elizabeth Murray (Pomegranate Communications, $35.00) and find out about the gardens.
In her book, Elizabeth Murray provides an in-depth look at Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France, the kind of in-depth look that only someone who has worked in Monet’s gardens and visits them annually can provide.
In the introduction, we get a brief glimpse of the story of Murray’s first visit to Monet’s gardens and how that visit changed her life. “Changed her life”, by the way, is a bit of an understatement. After her first visit to the gardens, she was so taken by them that she quit her job, learned French, and returned to Monet’s garden to work as a volunteer gardener there for nine months.
To find out more about her story, I listened to an online NPR interview where Elizabeth Murray tells us in her own words about working in Monet’s gardens and also about being a gardener. I loved it when she said, “I’m a gardener, no - work!” quite emphatically in response to the interviewer’s question about why she just didn’t go back and admire the gardens. She went on to explain the different relationship you have with a garden when you actually work in it and see it in all of its seasons, when you can walk off the paths and into the borders and beds, when you can be alone in the garden.
And it is from this viewpoint, from this working relationship she developed with Monet’s garden, that she wrote “Monet’s Passion”.
For those interested in the history of great gardens, Murray starts the book with a history of Monet’s gardens and how they were developed.
For those who think they might visit or want to visit Monet’s gardens, she provides a description of the gardens as they are today and includes a generous assortment of photographs of the gardens.
For those who love Monet’s gardens and would like to have gardens like them, Murray explains how you might recreate some small part of these fabulous gardens in your own garden.
I love that approach, the three parts of the book, because most gardeners when captivated by a garden would love to know how the garden came to be, how it is today, and how they can try to make their garden look like that garden. Or at least I do.
For those who would like their own copy of Monet’s Passion to read and enjoy, Pomegranate Communications has offered to give a free copy to one lucky winner.
To enter, leave a comment below telling us about a garden that you love and would love to model your own garden after. It can be a famous garden, an obscure garden, your neighbor’s garden, whatever garden inspires you.
Please make sure the comment leads me to your email address so I can notify you if you are the winner. This giveaway ends at 9 pm EDT on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. I’ll chose the winner via random drawing and notify them via email.
Thank you to Pomegranate Communications for sending me this book to review and for sponsoring this giveaway. And thank you to Elizabeth Murray for an inspiring, insightful and colorful book on Monet’s gardens.
The winner is lucky commenter number 8, "Aisling". Congrats, I'll be in touch with you to arrange for you to get your book!