About Madame Walska
The woman who was to become the extraordinary Ganna Walska had quite ordinary origins, born Hanna Puacz in 1887 in
. Brest-Litovsk, Poland
At the onset of her musical studies, Hanna Puacz took the stage name of Madame Ganna Walska - Madame was the customary title for well-known actresses and operatic singers in
Over the next decades she sang in
She married six times, wrote her autobiography, Always Room at the Top, and continued to study both vocal music and spiritual teachings in search of creative fulfillment and personal enlightenment.
After residing in
The Tibetan monks never appeared, and sometime later, after divorcing Bernard, Madame Walska changed the name of her estate to “Lotusland” in honor of the sacred Indian lotus growing in one of the ponds on the property.
She then began what would be a gradual transformation from well-known socialite to garden designer. Most of her energy and resources were poured into creating a botanical garden of rare plants using her natural artistic talents to create a fantasy world of exquisite beauty.
To accomplish this she worked with a number of landscape architects and designers, including Lockwood de
Madame Walska herself was a designer and loved to mass single species of plants together. She wanted the best, the biggest, and the most unusual plants available and was often willing to pay any price to get them.
So determined was she to finish the work she had begun that in the 1970s she auctioned off some of her jewelry in order to finance her final creation—the cycad garden.
Up until the last few years of her life, she was the feisty, intractable “head gardener” of Lotusland. Ganna Walska died March 2, 1984, at Lotusland, leaving her garden and her entire estate to the Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation, to ensure that her legacy would remain in her gardens.