Emily Dickinson's gardening life The plants & places that inspired the iconic poet

Marta McDowell

Book - 2019

Emily Dickinson was a keen observer of the natural world, but less well known is the fact that she was also an avid gardener--sending fresh bouquets to friends, including pressed flowers in her letters, and studying botany at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke. At her family home, she tended both a small glass conservatory and a flower garden. In Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life, award-winning author Marta McDowell explores Dickinson's deep passion for plants and how it inspired and inf...ormed her writing. Tracing a year in the garden, the book reveals details few know about Dickinson and adds to our collective understanding of who she was as a person. By weaving together Dickinson's poems, excerpts from letters, contemporary and historical photography, and botanical art, McDowell offers an enchanting new perspective on one of America's most celebrated but enigmatic literary figures.

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
Portland, Oregon : Timber Press 2019.
Edition
Revised edition
Language
English
Item Description
Originally published by McGraw-Hill in 2005 as Emily Dickinson's Gardens : A Celebration of a Poet and Gardener.
Physical Description
267 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), maps ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 234-248) and index.
ISBN
9781604698220
1604698225
Main Author
Marta McDowell (author)
  • Preface to the revised edition
  • Introduction
  • The turning of the year
  • Early spring : A gardener's home and family
  • Late spring : The education of a gardener
  • Early summer : A gardener's travels
  • Midsummer : A gardener's ground
  • Late summer : A hedge away
  • Autumn : A gardener's town
  • Winter : Requiem for a gardener
  • A poet's gardens
  • Planting a poet's garden
  • Visiting a poet's garden
  • An annotated list of Emily Dickinson's plants
  • Afterword
  • Sources and citations
  • A note on the botanical artists
  • Acknowledgements
  • Photo and illustration credits
  • Index.
Review by Booklist Reviews

McDowell specializes in the relationship between writers and gardens and landscapes, having previously written about Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beatrix Potter. Here she explores Emily Dickinson's life as both a radical (if domestic) poet and a skilled and devoted gardener, and how these two passions entwined and influenced Dickinson and her family and circle. In this richly illustrated volume, McDowell delicately unwinds the jungle that was Dickinson's psyche and chronicles one year in the life of her garden. Throughout, McDowell illuminates the interrelatedness between Dickinson's pursuit of botany and gardening, her focus on her family, and her never-ending desire to write. Dickinson admirers will find much that is new and affirming here, while this will also delight all who love plants and readers who enjoy unusual approaches to biography. McDowell traces Dickinson's responses to the plant world, changing seasons, kinship, and community, while also providing a list of the plants in the poet's now-legendary garden. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A revised edition of the illustrated exploration of how gardening and plants inspired the works of Emily Dickinson reveals the roles of winter hyacinth bulbs, saved seeds and pressed flowers in shaping cherished poems.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

“A visual treat as well as a literary one…for gardeners and garden lovers, connoisseurs of botanical illustration, and those who seek a deeper understanding of the life and work of Emily Dickinson.” —The Wall Street Journal Emily Dickinson was a keen observer of the natural world, but less well known is the fact that she was also an avid gardener—sending fresh bouquets to friends, including pressed flowers in her letters, and studying botany at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke. At her family home, she tended both a small glass conservatory and a flower garden.   In Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life, award-winning author Marta McDowell explores Dickinson’s deep passion for plants and how it inspired and informed her writing. Tracing a year in the garden, the book reveals details few know about Dickinson and adds to our collective understanding of who she was as a person. By weaving together Dickinson’s poems, excerpts from letters, contemporary and historical photography, and botanical art, McDowell offers an enchanting new perspective on one of America’s most celebrated but enigmatic literary figures.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From New York Times bestselling author Marta McDowell, an illustrated exploration of how gardening and plants inspired Emily Dickinson, one of the most beloved poets of all time.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

'A visual treat as well as a literary one, Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life will be deeply satisfying for gardeners and garden lovers, connoisseurs of botanical illustration, and those who seek a deeper understanding of the life and work of Emily Dickinson.' 'The Wall Street Journal Emily Dickinson was a keen observer of the natural world, but less well known is the fact that she was also an avid gardener'sending fresh bouquets to friends, including pressed flowers in her letters, and studying botany at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke. At her family home, she tended both a small glass conservatory and a flower garden.   In Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life, award-winning author Marta McDowell explores Dickinson's deep passion for plants and how it inspired and informed her writing. Tracing a year in the garden, the book reveals details few know about Dickinson and adds to our collective understanding of who she was as a person. By weaving together Dickinson's poems, excerpts from letters, contemporary and historical photography, and botanical art, McDowell offers an enchanting new perspective on one of America's most celebrated but enigmatic literary figures.