This exquisitely beautiful book came to my attention last summer in Black Mountain, North Carolina while my mother, daughter, and I were browsing a quaint used bookstore–a fitting book for a charming store. Dated 1906, the journal spans the changing seasons with wonderful illustrations painted by the Edwardian Lady herself, Edith Holden. The highly talented Edith weaves in quotes and poems fitting to the season or plant uppermost in her mind on any given day, as well as her thoughts and observations on the wildlife surrounding her home in the village of Olton, Warwickshire, England.
Apparently Edith kept her journal hidden away and it wasn’t discovered for seventy years. The diary was then published posthumously in 1977, the copyright date of the book I chanced upon. I’m not sure the extremely private Edith would approve, but her lovely journal has been a blessing to many.
The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady is a delight for gardener/ nature lovers, and anyone who appreciates beauty. Her writing and illustrations are wonderful.
Of the month of March she says (in part~she has pages on March):
“Gathered some of the young crimson catkins of the black poplar. The last few days have been very cold and dry with a keen north wind, and any quantity of March dust in evidence. This morning I saw Frog spawn which had been brought in from a pond….
Cycled to Bushwood on a still, grey day with beautifully dry roads. March is going out like a lamb….the woods will be carpeted with primroses in a week or twos’ time, but I found quantities of primroses and sweet violets both blue and white on the banks of the fields and the roadsides. I found the first dog violet I have seen in blossom this year at the top of Dick’s Lane; the cowslips are only in bud yet, but everywhere the celandine made the ditches bright, and the strawberry leaved cinquefoil spangled the banks…I saw two robins’ and two blackbirds’ nests…and a number of sweet birds as I spun along between the hedges. A tiny greenish grey bird flashed across the road, I thought for a minute it was a warbler, but as it emerged into sight again I saw it was a golden-crested wren.
“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares, And take the winds of March with beauty.” ~Shakespeare