The first gardening book of 2013 is Derek Fells' 'Secrets of Monets' Garden'. This volume is full of photographs which had me lusting over rich soil & bright sunshine. Also pleasing to my eye where the included colour plates of Monets' works pertinent to the subject. Knowing his audience, Fell includes ideas on how to break down the scale of Monet to a more manageable home-garden size. Keep in mind, however, that this is not a 'how-to' book. There aren't any lists of steps needed to improve soil, or what zone a garden is in. This is an ideas book, ideally suited for those January days spent dreaming through seed catalogs & sketching out planting guides.
Quote 1: "Obviously, Monet was interested in painting the yellow sunflower heads in company with orange-red apples against a clear blue sky. The base of the sunflowers would not show in his painting, so why bother planting around them? He was a pragmatist." (page 45, paragraph 1)
While Fell is a fan of Monet & his garden, he is not blind to what it is. The plants were there on basis of need & colour, not to be shown off to tourists on a 'famous gardens' binge tour. Still & all, I would dearly love to see these five acres in person!
Quote 2: " 'A landscape doesn't get under your skin in one day. And then all of a sudden I had the revelation of how enchanting my pond was. I took up my palette. Since then I've had hardly any other subject.'--Monet, on his water garden " (page 65, paragraph 1)
Not only a pragmatist, but particular over what was planted & what was harvested when, as well. A small battalion of gardeners work Monets' garden today, a gift shop as well (of course). Monets' garden is a lovely reminder that 'pragmatic' does not exclude 'beauty'.
1 Visual: "Nasturtiums of all colors and saffron-colored eschscholzias collapse in blinding ruins on both sides of the sandy pathway. In the wide flower beds, covering the irises stripped of their blossoms, surges the surprising magic of the poppies, an extraordinary mixture of tones, an orgy of bright nuances, a resplendent and musical muddle of white, pink, yellow and mauve; an unbelievable kneading of blond flesh tones, on which the orange tones burst, the fanfares of burning copper ring out, the reds bleed and catch fire, the violet tones bri"ghten, and the dark crimson ones light up." (page 47-8, paragraphs 5-1)
Wordy perhaps, but satisfying for a gardeners' heart, who misses the growing season.