A diary and collection of accompanying watercolors throw rare light on a hitherto unpublished great garden at an important time in its history
Geraldine, Countess of Mayo made an exquisite and extremely important garden in Ireland between l890 and l925, when she had to leave the family estate. The garden was subsequently completely destroyed. Her gardening diaries span more than 30 years. They are brought together here with watercolors of the gardens and the plants she brought from all over the world, evoking a paradise now gone forever. The diaries are a lively insight into the world of gardening at the turn of the 20th century—the problems she faced, the triumphs, and the disasters. The watercolors, done at the time by her father, are immensely accomplished, and because they have never been kept in the light are as fresh and bright as the day they were executed. Lady Mayo is an engaging reporter who was genuinely passionate about her creation and this comes through in everything she writes, while the watercolors, many painted on the pages of her diary, are truly exceptional.