'It took me a long time to understand my water lilies,' Monet wrote of his pond at Giverny. 'I had planted them for the pure pleasure of it, and I grew them without thinking of painting them...And then, all of a sudden, I had the revelation of the enchantment of my pond. I took up my palette. Since then I've had no other model.' The pond became Monet's most enduring motif, the water lilies the most celebrated flowers he ever painted. This book tells the story of their role as a central source of artistic inspiration, bringing exciting insights into Monet's work as a gardener and painter. Vivian Russell also describes the making of the water garden which, in contrast to the flower garden, was to be meditative and mysterious, in tune with the Japanese aesthetic. She reveals how Monet chose his water lilies from plants bred specially by Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac at his nursery near Bordeaux. Her superb photographs capturing the ephemeral beauty of the flowers, and the way they appear to float on clouds and undulating rushes, portray the changing moods of the pond, complementing Monet's own serene poems to light.