A Canvas Cleared by Steel

Like Brooms of Steel
The Snow and Wind
Had swept the Winter Street —
The House was hooked
The Sun sent out
Faint Deputies of Heat —
Where rode the Bird
The Silence tied
His ample — plodding Steed
The Apple in the Cellar snug
Was all the one that played.

Emily Dickinson

March 19, 2009
1 Day to Spring
Forecast: 49 degrees and showers

Here is where my garden begins–the front of the house. (Southern Exposure) I can envision a little fence around the perimeter with some kind of climbing vine–maybe honeysuckle (?) growing over and making the yard a more private space. The piano sits in front of the big window, and I would like to be able to see outside–the two areas communicating to one another. There is a flowering plum there now.
The “Rock Heap”. If only these basalt rocks were gold–we’d be RICH. Instead, we harvest them for walls. The driveway is in a circle so we can get trailers turned around. Because of that, my husband has had to move this wall with the tractor, as we were running into it when hauling horses. That is where the “heap” look came from, and we need to rearrange them this Spring to make it look more tidy. Oh, we also need to bark and felt around it. And, there is another problem–we forgot to lay pipe down before we had the asphalt poured, so there is no way to get a sprinkler over to it. Hmmmm…..
One of two planters with Day Lilies.


The planters which will go out on the front patio. (Thyme)
The front patio my husband and I put it in the first summer. We took a break from finishing the basement and did this project in a weekend. We were getting tired of DIRT.
Eastern Exposure–side of house–EYE SORE. Look at all the things we need to cover up over there–and soften the rigidity of angles. I’m thinking Forsynthia–and Magnolia.
This is the back patio and where we really want to go WILD!! We want this space to be private and profuse.
And last, the little tulip I found growing in the yard refuse. We purchased a house, land, and a hole. And, filling up the hole or, really, CRATER, was much more difficult than we imagined. Neighbors brought their yard waste over and dumped it that first summer. The next Spring I found this beautiful friend growing in it. I hiked down and dug it up and brought it back to the house. I can’t wait to see if it comes up this Spring!! I’m really looking forward to seeing it again.
Is there something in your garden that you’re looking most forward to?

5 responses to “A Canvas Cleared by Steel

  1. emilydickinsonsgarden

    Also, if you’d like to comment on the opening poem, please do so. I chose it because of the first lines–“like brooms of steel/the snow and wind/had swept the winter street.” When I look out and see how barren everything is–it really brings those lines home. A steel broom–can you imagine the damage it would do? But that it was it looks like out there.

  2. What a great canvas you have to work with! I especially like your front patio – it looks so peaceful out there. And I hope your yellow tulip comes back – reminds me of Dickinson. She loved bulbs becuase, in a way, they represent immortality. She appreciated religious dogma about the Resurrection and she even wrote once, “Did you ever know that a flower, – once withered & freshened again, became an immortal flower, – that is, that it rises again? I think the resurrections here [in my garden] are sweeter, it may be, than the longer and lasting one – for you expect the one, & only hope for the other” (Judith Farr 25).

    As for me, while I do plant zinnias, I also have a hydrangea bush. Hydrangeas are my absolute favorite flower and I’m really looking forward for it to come up. And mine is blue – it is so pretty!

  3. Great poem! I think that is the magic of bulbs. Humans are conditioned to think once something goes down, it might stay down–but a bulb defies that expectation and produces hope.

    I really love Hydrangeas–and I have a perfect spot for some under the deck.

    My first experience with them was at my first home. I had one that didn’t really thrive (I think it got too much sun). But my neighbor had the most beautiful I’d ever seen–it grew up and over her porch (I didn’t know they could grow so large). She was an old violin teacher and loved music and her garden. She taught one of my children violin. When she died, the new owners didn’t tend any of it. But the memory of that Hydrangea coming up like that and greeting visitors–is the strongest I have of that flower.

  4. I love that little yellow tulip! I call those God’s surprises, things that come up unexpectedly. I lived on wooded porperty for 30 years, and each year, there would be a “little surprise.” This year, I look forward to trying a salad garden in big pots, along with the usual flowers I love. We can’t plant anything in the ground, but we do have a beautiful patio.


  5. I’ve been doing a lot of patio gardening as well these last couple of years. I think a pot is more like a poem. A single garden–like a back yard space–is a short story.–a fourteen acre garden is like an epic novel. I’m interested in what your usual flowers are. Do you plant some perennials in those pots?

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