Water Lilies in Springtime, Monet and Joanna Leggett’s garden

The simple beauty of water lilies has inspired gardeners and artists for centuries – including our own Joanna Leggett.

It’s common knowledge that the Eiffel Tower was unveiled at the World’s Fair in 1889. Less well known is that distinguished plantsman Latour-Marliac unveiled his own belle époque marvel at the same exhibition: a myriad of hardy water lilies he’d hybridised. Those water lilies, the first of their kind, were a sensation. They caught the eye of Claude Monet, who had a pond in his Giverny garden.

Four years later he began to create his own jardin d’eau and ordered his water lilies from Latour-Marliac’s nursery. Business prospered and, to this day, Monet’s original orders are retained in the nursery’s archives. Monet’s garden and his paintings continue to enchant people worldwide, as do the colourful water lilies Latour-Marliac created. The 19th century nursery in Le Temple-sur-Lot has never stopped producing and selling these wonderful plants, and it has now been restored and expanded into a spectacular park open to the public.

It was in this park that Joanna Leggett found inspiration for her own garden. Joanna’s garden has its own water source. “It’s an absolute boon in dry summers. It’s the reason why we decided to create a water feature beside the house. Once we’d visited Latour-Marliac’s water gardens, we just had to include some exotic water lilies and other aquatics in our somewhat smaller water garden. When everything is in bloom, the effect is simply magical.”