More from my Lotusland visit this past June. In my guided tour group was a friendly couple with a serious selfie habit, expressed at every turn in a path, at every new feature. We ended up exploring the garden at the same pace, always at the back of the pack due to our respective documentation proclivities.
In the aloe garden can be found possibly one of Lotusland’s most theatrical features, the abalone shell-rimmed pool. Never mind taking a selfie, all I could think about was her, the woman who dreamed this up. The woman who had as many spouses as Henry VIII, at a time when a single divorce would have marked her as a notorious woman And then after the husbands, after the opera career, she settles in to make a garden like no one had ever seen before, selling her jewelry to buy cycads. I find it reassuring to know that Lotusland still outweirds us all. You just can’t top it.
It is Madame Walska’s enduring “selfie” writ large. Be brave, be fearless, is the caption. And if you are a woman in 1941 with outsized dreams, it doesn’t hurt to be very, very rich.