Tag Archives: emily dickinson

A Narcissus is a Daffodil!!

My lone Narcissus, aka: Daffodil

See How she stands by herself, the others beneath her feet–brave girl!

On the American Daffodil Society’s website:

What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus?

None. The two words are synonyms. Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies. Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus, and its use is recommended by the ADS at all times other than in scientific writing.

 I was driving into my house and passed the Narcissus I planted last year in honor of Emily Dickinson, and I thought, you know those look exactly like my yellow daffodils.  Hmmmm….

So, I came inside and consulted the internet, and Voila! Just call me Einstein!  They are the same thing.

Therefore, it turns out, I planted a whole bunch of daffodils last year! I found a wonderful page on e-How: How to Plant an Emily Dickinson Garden. Check it out!

Another daffodil poem from Emily and then two more from William Wordsworth and Ted Hughes.

I dared not meet the daffodils,
For fear their yellow gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own.

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886)

“Daffodils” (1804)
I WANDER’D lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch’d in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

Daffodils

by Ted Hughes

Remember how we picked the daffodils?
Nobody else remembers, but I remember.
Your daughter came with her armfuls, eager and happy,
Helping the harvest. She has forgotten.
She cannot even remember you. And we sold them.
It sounds like sacrilege, but we sold them.
Were we so poor? Old Stoneman, the grocer,
Boss-eyed, his blood-pressure purpling to beetroot
(It was his last chance,
He would die in the same great freeze as you) ,
He persuaded us. Every Spring
He always bought them, sevenpence a dozen,
‘A custom of the house’.

Besides, we still weren’t sure we wanted to own
Anything. Mainly we were hungry
To convert everything to profit.
Still nomads-still strangers
To our whole possession. The daffodils
Were incidental gilding of the deeds,
Treasure trove. They simply came,
And they kept on coming.
As if not from the sod but falling from heaven.
Our lives were still a raid on our own good luck.
We knew we’d live forever. We had not learned
What a fleeting glance of the everlasting
Daffodils are. Never identified
The nuptial flight of the rarest epherma-
Our own days!
We thought they were a windfall.
Never guessed they were a last blessing.
So we sold them. We worked at selling them
As if employed on somebody else’s
Flower-farm. You bent at it
In the rain of that April-your last April.
We bent there together, among the soft shrieks
Of their jostled stems, the wet shocks shaken
Of their girlish dance-frocks-
Fresh-opened dragonflies, wet and flimsy,
Opened too early.

We piled their frailty lights on a carpenter’s bench,
Distributed leaves among the dozens-
Buckling blade-leaves, limber, groping for air, zinc-silvered-
Propped their raw butts in bucket water,
Their oval, meaty butts,
And sold them, sevenpence a bunch-

Wind-wounds, spasms from the dark earth,
With their odourless metals,
A flamy purification of the deep grave’s stony cold
As if ice had a breath-

We sold them, to wither.
The crop thickened faster than we could thin it.
Finally, we were overwhelmed
And we lost our wedding-present scissors.

Every March since they have lifted again
Out of the same bulbs, the same
Baby-cries from the thaw,
Ballerinas too early for music, shiverers
In the draughty wings of the year.
On that same groundswell of memory, fluttering
They return to forget you stooping there
Behind the rainy curtains of a dark April,
Snipping their stems.

But somewhere your scissors remember. Wherever they are.
Here somewhere, blades wide open,
April by April
Sinking deeper
Through the sod-an anchor, a cross of rust.

Ted Hughes

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Hyacinth in Spring

Spring comes on the World-
I sight the Aprils-
Hueless to me until thou come
As, till the bee
Blossoms stand negative,
Touched to Conditions
By a Hum.

Dickinson 1042

That has always been one of my favorite Dickinson poems. It’s a beautiful love poem–for a person (?), a flower (?), an animal (?)–fill in the blank with whatever you love.

April 6, 2009
Weather–Sunny & warm

I’ve been shopping.

group-of-pots

These are new members of my family–Daffodils, Hyacinth, Tulip, Raspberry, Blueberry, Dianthus, Forsynthia, Snowflake….

group-of-pots-2

Hyacinth–Marta says they were in Emily’s Early Spring Garden. (p.14)

And, Judith Farr writes in her book, “Flowers were her children, friends, and counterparts. They had souls and played a role in the Christian mystery of death and resurrection. Thus, when a neighbor, Mrs. Adelaide Hills, sent her hyacinth bulbs during a dark February when her own plants were dead or dormant, Emily envisioned the “sleeping” Dickinson garden as the scriptural kingdom of the dead, arisen and transfigured on the Last Day. ‘The Snow will guide the Hyacinths to where their mates are sleeping, in Vinnie’s Garden.'” (p. 23)

–Marta McDowell believes the reference to Vinnie is that Vinnie planted them.

hyacinth

Here are my new pink Hyacinth–the spike says they grow to about 12″ and need about 12″ wide. They need part sun and a medium amount of water. “Wonderfully fragrant blooms provides a treat for the senses.” I can’t wait to plant them!

We’re getting our top soil delivered in the next day or two. We need a lot of it.

Here are some other flowers I purchased. Daffodils.

daffodil

Dianthus.

dianthus

Forsynthia bush (not the tree–which I also need). But I love the yellow of Forsynthia–these shrubs will be great.

forsynthia-bush

Red Tulips.

tulips

Yellow Tulips.

yellow-tulips

And the fruit bushes were chosen by Shiloh, my little Pastry Chef–who loves to bake–and recently, bake pies.

blueberry

raspberry

Last Saturday we had our Palisades Park Fundraiser, and I was in charge of getting door prizes. I purchased a small Hyacinth, Daffodil and Tulip–as well as other prizes. The flowers were the first things to be chosen as names were drawn. In fact, they passed on more expensive prizes for the flowers. What does that say about them? Something good, I think.

Have you adopted a new flower, shrub or tree lately?

Snowdrops in Spring

New feet within my garden go–
New fingers stir the sod-
A Troubadour opon the Elm
Betrays the solitude

New Children play opon the green-
New Weary sleep below-
And still the pensive Spring returns-
And still the punctual snow!

Emily Dickinson (79)

March 25, ’09
Degrees 40’s
Yesterday we had snow.

My books arrived and, oh my goodnes, I LOVE them. I’m just getting started, and have read the “Early Spring” section of Emily Dickinson’s Gardens by Marta McDowell. We’ll follow along with her on this blog the early Spring plantings of Emily. If you’d like to add other poems of hers (or others) that you think might refer to the flower we’re highlighting, please do so in the comments–we’d love to read them.

Today’s flower, in Early Spring, is the Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis). They were the first flowers to bloom in the garden. They are a bulb flower. Here is a picture:

snowdrop

Information from theplantexpert.com as follows:

“The major benefit of planting Garden Snowdrops is their early arrival. They can show up weeks before crocuses do, and will often poke through a covering of snow. In the South, snowdrops may even bloom all winter long.

A snowdrop plant looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem. This accounts for the Latin name Galanthus which means “milk-white flowers”.

Since they are small, you probably need to plant a large number to make a dramatic effect. However, in a rock garden, or planted among other early-blooming plants like Snow Crocuses, an odd number of snowdrops here and there can be just as effective.

Under the right circumstances (see Notes) snowdrops will naturalize very well, and a planting of them can last a lifetime. They are well worth the investment. As an added benefit, snowdrops (like other members of the Amaryllis family) are normally avoided by deer and rodents.

Flowering time: Very early spring

Plant height: 4 – 6″ (10 – 15 cm), although some cultivated varieties grow up to 10″ (25 cm) tall

Minimum planting depth: 3″ (8 cm)

Hardiness zones: Suitable for zones 2 – 9, although they do best in zones 4 – 7

Colours: Clear milk white, usually with emerald green tipped inner segments

Shape/form: A single, nodding, bell-like flower, about 1″ long with 3 lobes, and shorter inner segments, hanging from a stiff, slender, leafless stalk; 2 – 3 very narrow leaves grow from the base of the plant

Alternate names: Common Snowdrop, Milk Flower

Latin name: Galanthus nivalis

Notes: Good for rock gardens, under trees and shrubs, at the fronts of borders or in front of flowering shrubs, in lawns, or along woodland paths

Prefers moist, humus-rich soils, sun-dappled shade, and cooler climates, as in zones 4 – 7

Naturalizes both by self-seeding and bulb offsets

Example varieties: Garden Snowdrop (white), Flore Pleno (double white flowers), Viridapicis (green markings on tips of both outer and inner petal segments), Sam Arnott (larger flowers, with distinct heart-shaped green markings), Atkins Snowdrop (taller than most, with long, shapely petals)”

Have you planted Snowdrops in your garden? Will you this year? What is your exprerience or memories of them?

Happy First Day of Spring Account

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

Emily Dickinson, 812

Today I’m doing an inventory of my trees–to see if they’ve made it through winter.

The Poplars have bark damage–maybe from the cats–maybe from the deer when they were rubbing off their antlers. Yet, they’re still budding. My question is, what do I do to help them now? Will they survive stress? Will they continue to grow at the rate of the others?

poplar-bark-damage
The buds of the same Poplar.
poplar-with-bark-damage-3

My Flowering Plum, in front of the house, also has bark damage. This one’s survival is so important. I chose it from the others because I liked its shape–the way it spread out and would give the window area privacy.

fp-bark-damage-front-of-house
Its buds.
fp-in-front-of-house-bark-damage

The FPs along the driveway are alive. I noticed that there is one growing much slower than the rest. Are its roots hitting rocks? It also has bark damage from over a year ago.

stunted-fp-first-day-of-spring-bark-damage
The runt.
stunted-fp

Here is one we planted last Fall. It was pretty mature to begin with and had a huge heavy root ball. We broke it during transplant, but it, too has survived the winter.

fp-broken-root-ball-first-day-of-spring-09

The Weeping willows have survived.

And this one, the little Willow–the tiny one we planted 18 months ago which barely grew–and then we transplanted last Fall to make room for the new ones–it appears to be alive as well. We thought it was dead last Fall. Could it really have survived?!? Look at the profusion of buds. Wow!

willow-we-took-for-dead-2

willow-we-took-for-dead

The new Willows–much larger–but only planted last Fall.

weeping-willow-2

Here are three more in back–a Birch and two pines. They are alive. I’m so happy!! I love Birch trees. I hope to put in more this year.

birch-2

birch-1

This is not a tree, but they are coming alive–Day Lilies.

day-lilies

My quest this week–find and buy 3 Forsynthia and 1 Magnolia.

Have you done an accounting of your garden? Are your trees coming alive today–this first day of Spring?

Emily’s Garden of Possibilities

I dwell in Possibility–
A fairer House than Prose–
More numerous of Windows–
Superior–for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars–
Impregnable of Eye–
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky–

Of Visitors–the fairest–
For Occupation–This–
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise–

Emily Dickinson J 657

I’m starting this blog in honor of Spring, flowers, Nature–and Emily Dickinson. I’ve ordered two books which should arrive any day which I want to use as inspiration as I plant my own garden on our fourteen acre “ranch”. Emily Dickinson’s Gardens, by Marta McDowell

The Gardens of Emily Dickinson, by Judith Farr & Louise Carter

Anyone who would like to join in this discussion of creating a poetic place to “be”–is surely welcome.

My hope for myself is to explore Dickinson’s poetry and life through this process. I’d also like to incorporate many of her flowers and symbols into my own space. I admire her–her individuality and courage to see and speak the world in her unique way–I want my garden to be a reminder of this.

I’m starting from scratch. When we purchased our home, it didn’t have a single tree, flower or shrub. I have a completely blank slate.

These are my plantings to date:

2 Day Lilies–planted in planters in July of ’07 (right when we arrived)Emily thought these flowers symbolized her, but I didn’t know that until recently.
4 bushes of Thyme
2 Weeping Willows (actually 4, but 2 died)
1 Weeping Birch
1 Tall Birch
7 Flowering Plums
3 Flowering Cherries (one was trampled by one of the horses and is now dead)
3 Poplars
3 Pine trees (can’t remember their names–will check the tags)
I’ve also planted annuals, but they’re gone–well, except for the ones that burrowed underneath the bricks–the Petunias–they came up again last year all on their own.
And last, Tomatoes–because I love fresh tomatoes.

What’s in your garden? What’s going to be new in your garden this year?