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 OltonWarwickshire, 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 course, Amazon has some used copies available.  And the journal was the basis for atelevision series released in 1984.
Of the month of March she says, in part, she has many more 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.
…March has been a very cold month, but dry on the whole.  There were two or three bright genial days in the first week that were like a foretaste of summer.”
Of the many lovely quotes she includes is this one by Shakespeare:
“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares, And take the winds of March with beauty.” 

10 comments

  1. Mary Marvella // March 9, 2011 at 12:53 PM  

    You never know where you will find a treasure! Beth finds so many she must know where to look. Thanks for sharing this one.

  2. Pamela Varnado // March 9, 2011 at 1:23 PM  

    Beth, what a treasure you found. And what an insight into the life of Edith. Her journal entry reminds that no matter how hectic life is, it's important to take a moment and just allow the blessings from nature to center and calm me. I believe Edith would be pleased to discover that her words and pictures inspire people a century later.

  3. Nightingale // March 9, 2011 at 1:23 PM  

    A treasure indeed, and a very interesting post.

  4. Beth Trissel // March 9, 2011 at 2:14 PM  

    Yes, thanks so much guys. I love these rare delightful finds.

  5. Judy // March 9, 2011 at 4:50 PM  

    What a beautiful, beautiful book. Thanks for sharing. I don't think ebooks will ever take the place of the written and illustrated word.

  6. Beth Trissel // March 9, 2011 at 5:21 PM  

    They won't take the place of something like this. I trust there's a place for both print and ebooks.

  7. Autumn Jordon // March 9, 2011 at 8:41 PM  

    Beautiful. You were so lucky to find this book. I love reading actual accounts of the past.

  8. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 10, 2011 at 12:33 AM  

    Beth, what a perfectly lovely book! I want one, I really do. And the lady did the artwork herself? It's a pity she kept it hidden away, but what a joy for us that it was found.

  9. Mary Ricksen // March 10, 2011 at 1:02 PM  

    Amazing that you have that book! I wish I had one too!

  10. Joanne // March 12, 2011 at 1:30 PM  

    Beth,
    How lovely, and what a delightful place to find such a charming book.
    Maybe Ebay or paperbackswap.com might also carry it.