Phipps’ “Monet in Bloom” Recreates Works by French Impressionists

In preparation for the “Summer Flower Show: Monet in Bloom” at Phipps Conservatory and Botany Gardensdesigner Jordyn Melino sat in front of Claude Monet’s 20ft ‘Water Lilies’ painting at the nearby Carnegie Museum of Art.

“(I) enjoyed the color and textures of the original,” said Melino, associate director of exhibits at Phipps. “Experience with the original helped me design a planted vertical wall to represent one of his signature water lily paintings.”

Inspired by the 19th and early 20th century works of the French Impressionist, “Monet in Flowers” opens Saturday in the historic greenhouse in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

The exhibition follows in the footsteps of Phipps’ homage to another Impressionist master, “Van Gogh in Bloom,” from 2019.

“We had a lot of fun reimagining classic works as garden exhibits, and based on visitor response to our 2019 Van Gogh exhibit, our visitors are enjoying it, too,” Melino said. “It’s not planned yet, but I imagine we will continue with this trend, and I hope to celebrate the work of a female artist in the future.”

The vertical “Water Lilies” display in the visitor center was created with lobelias, begonias and other flowers in the visitor center.

For ‘The Woman in Green’ at Palm Court, “we created a topiary frame in the shape of a long, flowing dress and planted it with stripes of black and green mondo grass, then created a jacket using fiber coir and other dried plant materials,” Melino mentioned. “The hands and face of the figure were made using parts of a staghorn fern that we collected from our specimen in the fern room.”

Courtesy of Paul G. Wiegman

A painting in the East Room is part of the “Summer Flower Show: Monet in Bloom,” at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh.

Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France, inspired other paintings. Another tableau of water lilies is represented in the Serpentine Room, with plantings inspired by Monet’s Japanese garden.

“We dug the gardens to create three large ponds to hold tropical water lilies, surrounded by a few specimen Japanese maples, weeping willows and bamboo,” Melino said. “In this room we also have a series of white-flowered Asiatic lilies which will be a first for us to include in a summer show, as they have a short bloom time.

“To expand their flower display, we’ve grown a series of lilies in different stages, so when the ones in the room finish flowering, we can replace them with freshly bloomed lilies from our greenhouse,” she added. .

In addition, visitors to the summer fair can see:

Arbors recreated from Monet’s garden, painted in his signature green and covered in annual vines and mixed flowerbeds

“La Gare Saint-Lazare” in the Sunken Garden, featuring a massive train with bugleweed tracks and steam waves made of dusty miller and verbena in hanging baskets

Monet’s “Studio Boat” floating in the Victoria Room pond surrounded by beds of impatiens, begonias and other colorful flowers

“The Artist’s Garden in Vétheuil”, a photo station near a vintage wagon between high plantations of canna, immortelles and sunflowers

“Woman with a parasol”, where the arbors arch towards the sky and the Monet green benches invite you to relax in the south veranda

A special surprise at the end of the road in the Serpentine Room.

“Monet often said his greatest work of art was his garden, and his love of plants definitely shines through in the subject matter of his paintings,” Melino said. “He also painted en plein air, or outside in nature, which made it possible to capture landscapes in natural light.

“Working outdoors in this style influenced his style of brushwork,” she said. “We tried to capture that same style using plants as a palette, with wavy, wavy foliage accented by dots of contrasting brightly colored flowers.”

“Summer Flower Show: Monet in Bloom” runs until September 25. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and until 10 p.m. on Fridays.

All tickets must be reserved in advance. Masks are currently optional but recommended. For information, visit

Shirley McMarlin is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, or via Twitter .

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