Gardens that are Pretty as a Picture
Gardens That Inspire
Beautiful gardens inspire. They combine the wild side of nature with the controlled design of man to create a coordinated spectacle of vegetation, water and man-made objects. Artists are often inspired to paint these wondrous places. Claude Monet's paintings of his own garden are some of the most famous garden paintings.
I too have been inspired to paint gardens. Some painting locations were simple to find. Like Monet, I walked out my back door into my own back yard. Others I needed special permission to enter the property. Some are open to the public and you can visit them too. Wherever the inspiration takes me, I have found lovely gardens that inspire the artist and gardener alike. When I paint I do my best to capture the beauty of the place. Come visit those memorable gardens with me.
Claude Monet, The Water Lily Pond
Imagine having this as your back yard. The garden at Giverny is where Claude Monet painted many of his most famous works. His own garden, with its water lilies, pond, and bridge were a constant source of inspiration. Monet was very active in the design and evolution of his garden. He wrote daily instructions to his gardener with precise designs and layouts for plantings. Even after Monet hired seven gardeners, he remained in charge of its design.
The home, garden and waterlily pond were bequeathed by his son Michel, Monet's only heir, to the French Academy of Fine Arts in 1966. The house and gardens were opened for visits in 1980 and today attract visitors from all over the world.
Claude Monet Water Lily Pond in Giverny - Photo Ariane Cauderlier
Inspired Gardens - Making Your Garden a Work of Art
Frogs and water...what's not to love. This is a sweet fountain. One of the nicest I've seen.
This lovely birdbath will add color and life to your garden. Birds really do take baths in it.
My Back Yard
My gardening skills are not great. In fact, my plants go through an unintentional series of trials which they have to survive. The gauntlet could include excessive heat, drought, critters and broken sprinklers. All or one of these things conspire to destroy my plants. But despite my bungling efforts, somehow I manage to have a beautiful garden. In fact, the spring flowers have been so wonderful that I have been inspired to do some garden paintings. If I can have a garden that inspires an artist, so can you.
I make sure that the plants are hardy and can handle the local heat and dry spells. I love lavender, honeysuckle, and jasmine and have these in my garden. Every spring these plants blossom with an intoxicating fragrance and the butterflies love them. I also have a variety of daisies, some California poppies and alyssum.
I have painted several different views of my backyard and since every year the garden is different I am sure I will paint even more in the future.
Photo by Sharon Weaver
The Garden Awaits
The Garden Awaits by Sharon Weaver is available for purchase.
For more information click on the image.
Plants that are Sharon Proof - Even I can't kill these plants.
I remember walking to the pool in the summer and passing honeysuckle.This vine is on the trellis on the corner of my guest house and it brings the sweet smell of summers past.
I love the colors of the lavender plant. That great steel blue/green leaf and the purple flowers. The butterflies love it too.
Gallery of Spring 2013 in My GardenClick thumbnail to view full-size
More Plants I Recommend
I have two on either side of my front porch and they are very hearty. Be warned though, they will freeze so they are not for cold weather locals.
The purple trumpet vine is a little hard to find but so worth the effort. Again it is for warmer climate zones.
Once a Vacant Lot
Arlington Garden is a great example of what a community can do to beautify its neighborhood. Owned by Caltrans, the lot was used as a staging area to build a nearby freeway. A vacant lot, in 1961 someone had an idea. To develop the lot into a neighborhood garden. It was developed by a collaboration of the Metropolitan Water District, garden clubs, local business, nurseries, neighbors, and friends who donated time, plants and money to turn it into the enchanted garden it is today.
The 3 acre park is a water-wise garden that is in harmony with Pasadena's Mediterranean climate. The garden's colors and plants attract butterflies and birds to this formerly barren lot and show the community how beautiful, practical, and satisfying a well planned, water-wise, climate-appropriate garden can be.
For more information on the Arlington Garden click on the photo.
Photo by Sharon Weaver
Jasmine at Arlington Garden
The Huntington Botanical Gardens
Also Home to The Huntington Library
This is an amazing place. The gardens and library are on 207 acres, of which 120 are landscaped and open to visitors. More than 14,000 different varieties of plants are showcased in more than a dozen principal garden areas. Each area has a theme with plants indicative of the theme.
The Lily Pond Garden was developed first and this is my favorite garden. Other wonderful gardens include the Desert Garden, The Rose Garden and The Japanese Garden which has an extensive display of Bonsai.
There is also a conservatory with a 16,000 square-foot greenhouse which comprises three different habitats; a lowland tropical rain forest, a cloud forest, and a carnivorous plant bog.
I can't write about everything the Huntington has to offer so to find out more information click on the photo.
Photo by Sharon Weaver
Lily Pond Afternnoon
Would you Like to Add a Pond to Your Garden?
Do you want to add a pond to your garden?
Painting at Descanso Gardens
The Descanso Gardens belonged to newspaper magnate E. Manchester Boddy, who owned the Los Angeles Daily News. He ran a commercial camellia garden at the location and there are still lots of camellia trees on the property that bloom in the early spring.
The day I painted Sunny Side, I was with a group of artists. Several gravitated to the pond but while many painted the waterfall and rocks, I was won over by the small turtle sunning himself on a rock. As I painted, a young boy came over pulling his mother with him. "Look mommy. She's painting the turtle." The mom took my card and later that day contacted me to buy the painting.
She told me this story. It seems a few months before, her son had found the turtle on the tracks of the Enchanted Railroad (Yes, that is what they call the railroad that runs through the garden). The little boy picked up the turtle from the tracks just before the train came thus saving it's life. So I sold my painting and his mom and he have a wonderful memento to remember a special day when he saved the turtle from being squashed by the train.
Every trip, every painting has a story that is unique. For more information on Descanso Gardens click on the photo.
Photo by Jeff Allen, my husband.
Add a Pond to Your Garden
I have a metal turtle, lizard and frog sculptures in my garden. They keep each other company when I am not there.
What would your pond be without a lily pad. These are very pretty.
If you have water on your property, cat tails along the banks would add a wonderful place for the ducks to forage.
Sharon's Art Advice - For more art information and tutorials try the links below.
- Sharon Weaver's Art
My website with more of my landscape paintings.
- Reflections of an Artist: Sharon Weaver's Blog
Tutorials, tips, gallery openings, marketing ideas, new paintings and much more........My thoughts as I continue exploring my art.
- Sharon Weaver's News
Sign up here and you will receive a monthly update with new paintings and stories from the field.
- Learn to Paint with Color
Complementary colors are a great way to achieve vibrant colors and movement in your art. See how.
- Water Painting
Water is amazing to paint. Whether the ocean, a stream or in this case, a lake it is every changing. See this step by step tutorial on how to paint water and it's reflections.