August 26, 2008

Garden Book: The Impressionist Garden

For many years, my favorite garden book has been The Impressionist Garden by Derek Fell.

Note: By the way, if you follow the link to the book (right-click to open a new window), you can actually preview the book pages and see the photos!

As described on the title page, it is based upon "Ideas and Inspiration from the Gardens and Paintings of the Impressionists." Although the book was published in 1994, I find that the interpretations of the impressionist gardens are still of interest to gardeners aspiring to achieve the look in their home gardens.

The author takes us through examples of the garden inspirations for paintings by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh and other impressionist painters. Not only are there layout diagrams of the gardens of some of these artists, but the book also includes small garden design diagrams for the home gardener to get the impressionist look on a smaller scale. The use of color, light and the plants used to achieve the impressionist look are explored in great detail in the book.

While we've vacationed in France on three occasions, I've still not made it to Giverny to see Monet's's on my list of "must see" gardens in the world. So, I most enjoy reading the descriptions of how Monet developed his gardens and selected the flowers for the seasons.

Aside from the structured gardens, the artists were also influenced by meadows and wildflowers. For example, the Impressionists, Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh were influenced by fields of poppies, lavenders and other native plants of the south of France.

Thumb through Fell's book and you'll see glorious color photographs of the Impressionist paintings, the gardens, the gardening plans as well as ample text to describe the relationship between the flowers and the paintings.

What wonderful reading and inspiration for gardeners!

Happy Gardening,
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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