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[October 5, 2013] Monet Inspiration. The Dubuque Arboretum’s Monet-inspired display gardens were an amazing endeavor and achievement. 

Soft lines and vibrant colors from the brush of French Impressionist Claude Monet inspired Season 2013’s display gardens at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Monet-iris-175x213The 2013 theme — “Monet Inspiration” — was reflected in most of the annual flowerbeds, beginning with the entry garden, which featured white vinca and white salvia with pink accents. The color palette for the 16 square annual gardens and the two rectangular beds below them included shades of blue, purple, pink, white, yellow, coral, and a touch of red from a variety of flowers: begonias, angelonia, morning glories, petunias, snapdragons, zinnias, phlox, salvia, and vinca. Parsley and savanna grass add extra touches of green. The knot garden was planted with blue ageratum, pink salvia, and savanna grass, with a border of wizard-pink coleus. Mixed-pastel impatiens graced some of the shadier areas.

Monet-lilies-175x196claude-monet-200x150The theme was especially appropriate because Monet (1840-1926) was a serious gardener himself. Many of his paintings depict the water and flower gardens at his home in Giverny in northern France. Monet, his children, and his stepchildren all worked in those gardens, and eventually the artist became successful enough to buy the house, increase his land holdings, and hire six gardeners. He once remarked, “I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”

Coincidentally, the Arboretum perennial beds harmonized with the Monet theme as well. Monet designed his gardens — and painted his paintings — using a profusion of flowers for every season, and our perennial gardens contained some of his favorites, particularly irises, roses, geraniums, poppies, peonies, phlox, dahlias, asters, and mums. Some of the shrubs and trees on our grounds also appeared in Monet’s gardens at Giverny, namely azalea and rhododendron bushes and willow, ginkgo, and Japanese cherry trees.

(Watch the brief video tour below to see Monet’s actual garden in Giverny, just a few miles northwest of Paris.)


And finally, our pond harbors examples of water lilies, depicted in several of Monet’s most famous paintings.

Excerpts above are from the Summer Edition (June 2013) of Ground Cover, published quarterly for the benefit of Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens members. Please consider joining us. You’ll find details about membership HERE.

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