The Eureka lemon tree arbor, planted in 1988, is probably one of the more sedate and traditional features of Lotusland.
This arbor might be a good place to start, showing as it does how Ganna Walska had absorbed the principles of the many formal gardens she knew from Europe.
Disappointed in love, and knowing an allee from an arbor, she came to California in her fifties ready to create a bold, brave garden unlike any before it. Or since, for that matter.
The garden had experienced a rare June rainstorm, receiving .6 inches just before my visit.
The buffs, tans, dark greens, bright yellows and greys were especially vivid under an overcast sky and cleansed of accumulated grime.
I’ve delayed posting on this visit, hoping to find and read her memoir “Always Room at the Top” before I do.
Written before she made Lotusland, I’m not sure what insights the account of her six husbands and minor opera career would reveal about her character that her garden doesn’t.
This article by The Los Angeles Times from 2005 is one of the best background pieces I’ve read on her.
I’ve always thought that lemon arbor was clever, because the lemon blooms are so fragrant. Heaven to walk there when they are in flower.
A friend lent me a copy of the Lotusland book they sell, by Gardner, I think. The history of the place is even more interesting, if possible, before Walska bought it–it hosted the beginnings of the horticultural industry of that area which became the vanguard of style for all of So Cal. The book also has the view that marriage was strictly business for Walska, a business at which she was quite shrewd.
I took a series of photos of my mother in this arbor a few years ago. It holds very special memories for me.
Do let us know what you think of Always Room at the Top.
@Hoov, yes, it’s surprising to learn that many of today’s plants date back that far. As far as marriage being a business, it’s fairly recent that it’s perceived as something other than that. What amazes me is the serial divorces in a time when that made one a very scandalous woman.
@Gerhard, what great memories those photos must bring! The book seems difficult to source — a version on Amazon for $30 printed in India. I doubt I’ll find it.