The Diva Who Grew Her Own Exotic Kingdom

Hanna Puacz was a Polish teenager when Russia's tsar made her into a star. With her new name Madame Ganna Walska, she became a celebrity in Europe known for her marriages, her love of plants, and her Sisyphean pursuit of a career in opera.

Madame accepted numerous marriage proposals and in total had six husbands, including a Russian count, a yogi, a playboy conman and the inventor of an electromagnetic “death ray”.

When she wasn’t playing ‘femme fatale’ and enjoying the high life that her first marriage had introduced her to, a good chunk of her time was spent in pursuit of a career as an opera singer.

The only problem was– Madame Walska couldn’t sing– or at least, if she could, no one was aware of her talent due to a crippling case of stage fright.

Madame Walska moved to the United States to avoid World War I, and in 1941 started building her legacy in the form of a garden in California known as Lotusland. Home to 3,000 plant species, Lotusland features Walska's extravagant sense of design, combining French statuary, Buddhist temples, discarded glass, giant clams, and topiary. She dedicated her life to the garden until her death at age 96. Read about Madame Ganna Walska and Lotusland at Messy Nessy Chic.

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