Elizabeth Murray, B.A. Environmental Studies,
Elizabeth Murray grew up in nearby Marin County. After living in Maine,
she returned to California to receive her BA in environmental studies
with an emphasis in fine art and botany from Sonoma State University in
1976. Upon graduation, she worked for the National Park Service at Marin
Headlands as crew leader of a youth conservation program until the urge
to travel struck again. This time, she headed to Ghana for three months,
after which she came back home to California to Monterey County to pursue
her true love of gardening and landscaping.
In 1984, Murray was enjoying a successful business in Carmel and decided
to take a 10-week sabbatical to explore the gardens and museums of Europe.
She visited and fell in love with Monet's gardens in Giverny, France--gardens
which he personally designed and cultivated as inspiration for his work.
She volunteered to work in the gardens and spent her days weeding, planting
and pruning. She assisted with the restoration of two adjacent gardens,
the flower garden and another garden which features Monet's famous lily
pond. Murray was the first woman to work with the seven-man team and they
were quite suspicious of her motives. However, she won them over with
her ideas and dedication. She photographed and documented her entire experience
which lead to the publication of her first book and created a life-long
connection with Monet's garden, a location she continues to visit annually.
Today, Murray is the author of five books on gardening and 36+ calendars.
Best known perhaps for her connection and passion with Claude Monet, the
father of Impressionism, her work includes the best selling Monet's Passion:
Ideas, Inspiration and Insights from the Painter's Gardens (150,000 copies
sold to date), Painterly Photography: Awakening the Artist Within and
Cultivating Sacred Space: Gardening for the Soul. Murray is also a recognized
photographer whose work is permanently housed in several museums, including
the M. H. de Young Museum of San Francisco and the new Orleans Museum
of Art. A selection of her Giverny images were chosen to accompany the
recent traveling Exhibition Monet: Late Paintings of Giverny from the
Musee Marmottan. Her photographic work is published annually in several
calendars on garden-related themes and this year, her line of painted
photographs will be featured in a one-woman show in Tokyo, Japan and at
the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
A well-known international lecturer, Murray has designed and supervised
installations of public and private gardens throughout the US. Her work
has been featured in Sunset, Garden Design, Victoria Magazine, and Harpers.
Murray runs her own garden design consulting practice specializing in
transforming large public spaces into gardens that offer visitors an opportunity
for tranquillity, reflection and sanctuary, as well as garden restoration.
Her diverse work experience includes assisting in the restoration of Claude
Monet's gardens in Giverny, France and being founding director of the
San Francisco Landscape Garden Show. Her work is featured at the Del Monte
Shopping Center where 45 acres of garden were renovated and redesigned
to feature nine theme gardens including: children's, topiary, bird and
butterfly, ornamental grasses, native plants, herbs, roses, annual color,
and a mural fantasy garden. She also does commercial photography, editorial
illustration, and package design.