The story behind artist Monet's great passion: water lilies

Connexion uncovers the story behind artist Monet's great passion, water lilies, and shares advice on growing your own.
Connexion uncovers the story behind artist Monet's great passion, water lilies, and shares advice on growing your own.

How to mimic Monet’s pond life: Cathy Thompson on a chance encounter and the artist’s passion for water lilies.

Water lilies, the inspiration of many artists

I’m no expert on water lilies – either growing or knowing them – but something that always piques my curiosity is the story of a good nursery. One of the most famous nurseries in the world must be the one that inspired Monet to plant – and then paint – his water lilies at Giverny. His inspiration was a bit of a coincidence. He was exhibiting at the Pavillon des Artistes in the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle, which showcased the best of French innovation at the time, including the newly constructed Eiffel Tower.

Right next door, Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac had brought 17 water lily cultivars (11 of his own breeding) up from his nursery at Temple-sur-Lot, in the Lot-et-Garonne, and was exhibiting in the water gardens outside the Trocadèro – his innovative creation was the first hardy yellow waterlily, Nymphaea ‘Marliacea Chromatella’.

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