Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet

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"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.

"Offers an excuse (if one is necessary) to linger yet again over the observations of a poet who, as Dickinson herself proclaimed, 'was always attached to Mud'...wandering through this book, we can smell the hyacinth that bloomed on the poet's windowsill in winter, hear the thrum of hummingbird wings, smell the cooking odors from the kitchen and imagine Dickinson pruning, staking, digging -- and listening and watching." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Delightful...Part biography, part poetry, and a whole lot of gardening inspiration." -- Pages and Cup

"Marta McDowell invites the reader to enter the seasonal world of the enigmatic poet, providing an intimate portrait of her gardening universe...an elegant reminder of how gardens and landscapes nurture the creative life." --The Mercury

"Marta McDowell brings Emily Dickinson to life as a gardener, one who was as enchanted and passionate about the plants and flowers of the Homestead's gardens, the wildflowers of the field, and those she grew in a little conservatory... It's a gardener's life, one who happened to be a poet." -- Growing Interest

"In these pages, you are beside Emily Dickinson's elbow--feeling the dense heat of summer, noting the gay attire of the scarlet runner beans, learning the skills of an ultra-observant plantswoman, finding the poetry in nature." -- Tovah Martin, horticulturist, lecturer, and author of The Garden in Every Sense and Season

Marta McDowell lives, gardens, and writes in Chatham, New Jersey. She consults for public gardens and private clients, writes and lectures on gardening topics, and teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, where she studied landscape design. Her particular interest is in authors and their gardens, the connection between the pen and the trowel.

Timber Press

1.19" H x 9.25" L x 6.88" W

268 pages

hardcover