The man who makes Monet live on

Clos Normand at Monet gardens in Giverny
The Le Clos Normand area, first planted by Monet with iris, narcissus and tulips

Jane Hanks speaks to the new head gardener at the late, great artist’s wildly popular garden in Giverny, Normandy

Half a million visit Giverny in the Eure every year to see the garden created by Monet. It is unlike any other garden because it was designed like a painting, where colour is of supreme importance. To achieve the natural look of the garden, which requires thousands of plants to make it look so colourful, requires an immense amount of work from the gardening team who toil all year long, unseen for the most part by the public.

Jean-Marie Avisard is head gardener. He has worked at Giverny since 1988 and took up his new responsibilities in April this year when the previous head gardener retired. He says this garden is so special it takes years of experience to understand it: “One of my challenges in taking up this role is to put together a new team of gardeners as many are nearing retirement age. It is not the kind of garden you learn about at horticultural college. You have to know about plants but also have an ...

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