Serenade
The Impressionist’s Garden
Wednesday, 27 July 2011

¶ The Impressionist’s garden necessarily blooms in a state of paradox. Monet himself treated it as a studio — and you know what artist’s studio are like. Of her visit with James Priest, the new head gardener at Giverney — he has worked for Rothschilds and at Kew — Suzanne Daley notes that “Monet could tend to one patch or another as he painted it, while letting flowers bloom and fade elsewhere” — clearly a no-no for a public attraction that seeks to sell tickets. Complicating things somewhat, Mr Priest used to like the art of the Impressionists, but now he prefers Old Masters. He’s reduced to asking artists if the garden gives them an Impressionist feeling.