The Gardens of Emily Dickinson

Posted Mar 21 2017, 7:34 pm


SPRING has surely sprung…and since we’re on that wonderment of nature, I’d love to chat about Emily Dickinson! Yes, THAT renowned poet with a unique expression that still seems fresh even today.

However, during her lifetime (December 10, 1830 to May 15, 1886), she was known more for her beautiful spring gardens than her remarkable talent with the written word. Indeed, as other Victorians at the time, Emily was fascinated with the language of flowers as well as their symbolic meanings — and she liberally used them as metaphors throughout her poetry. 


Her private gardens were breathtaking, and her knowledge of each bloom within quite intimate. Granddaughter of the cofounder of Amherst College and daughter of a respected lawyer and one-term congressman, Emily was educated at Amherst (Mass.) Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. She spent virtually all her life, the later years growing increasingly reclusive, in her family home & gardens in Amherst, or at The Evergreens, the poet’s brother, Austin’s, home — which today still preserves an integral part of Emily Dickinson’s private world. Both locations are an impressive “time capsule” of this remarkable woman and her impact in the 19th-century . By 1870, though, Emily was dressing only in white and declining to see most visitors.


Regardless her reclusiveness, she loved the gardens of her world and treasured every bloom. Of her nearly 1,800 poems, only 10 are known to have been published during her lifetime. Her complete works were published in 1955, and she has since become universally regarded as one of the greatest American poets.




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