Monet's Water Lily paintings are based fundamentally on direct observation of nature. The artist frequently painted outdoors, drawing endless inspiration from the plants, trees, and pond at Giverny. The gardens on his property were the great extravagance of his final years; their upkeep required the services of six full-time gardeners. Monet planted agapanthus—a thin, wispy lily plant native to Africa—along the banks of his pond as well as several other types of indigenous and imported vegetation, such as wisteria, irises, and bamboo.
Gallery label from Monet's Water Lilies, September 13, 2009–April 12, 2010.