Tag Archives: Emily Dickinson’s Garden

Catching Up After A Five Year Hiatus

Notifications kept coming in, but I was remiss in updating my blog.  I hope to remedy that today.  So much has changed in five years.  I’m still alive–yay!  All of my landscaping has matured–yay!  And, I’m in a position to labor in my gardens again–yay!

I want to keep this post somewhat simple and let the photos speak for themselves.  I will just say that as I planted and tended my garden through the years, some things thrived and others did not.  I did create a “poetic space” that was / is very meaningful and inspirational to me, and that I’ve featured in much of my poetry at my blog bitsofpoetry.com.

Like Emily, I’ve cursed my cats for destroying the beautiful birds and, in fact, I made an outdoor/indoor cat enclosure for them this year to save my garden birds.  There were also the years, where like Emily, I focused my attention on recording the wild flora–attending botany walks and always packing along identification books and camera–the modern day version of her herbarium.  I think of her often in what I do.

Here are some comparison photos from around the house.

Back when there was no grass, trees, or flowers and I still had my sweet dog, Elsa.

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Now.

front of house 2018

Originally, we planted a flowering plum in front, but it died.  Aspen are native to our area, so we replaced many of our trees with aspen, like this one in front.  They all flourish here, as do lilacs–but more on those below.

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The roses on the front fence, looking out to the barn last night.

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Also along the front fence, my white tulips.

Here is the before of the front (left) space before the railing was removed.  The railing was purely decorative, and served no functional purpose, so we removed it and opened it up.

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Today, we plant new things every year, but some of it has volunteered itself or remained.  The lilac tree grows in an old metal tub a friend dropped by my house, and which I intend to paint white.  The thyme jumped out of its container and started to grow in the bricks.

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lilac front of house

The center rock planter was completely redone. Here is the before picture.

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I’m going to weed it this week and add red bark, but I’ll show you a few of the flowers that grow around it. (That is another aspen in the center)

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Honeysuckle loves it under the aspen and has crowded out the original clematis.

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Two varieties of peonies also grow very well there.  They were started from bulbs.  You can read about my bulb dreams in this post.  Many of my bulbs survived.

Here are the pictures and an excerpt from that original post so long ago:

The promise of a bulb holds the same hope as a new pet, new love, new career, even a new baby. We project ourselves into the future each time we plant one. It’s hard to foresee what circumstances may thwart our plans: a too-cold winter, a colony of voles, the tractor that scoops up the earth and the bulbs hidden deep beneath; like life, it’s hard to predict what will happen after we plant our dreams.

Yet, some, if not most, make it. The tulip bulb that was accidentally dug up and thrown in the pit and, I thought, gone forever, bursts forth in a clump of compost. The bulbs planted in soil that was too hard, spring up from the ground later than the others, when the April rains have finally softened a space for them to poke through.

There are some that don’t make it, it’s true, but the joy for the ones that survived—returned to you, in a way—rewards our original hope. We just had to wait, have patience, and believe that our loyal labor of love would be rewarded.

Like my snowflakes.  They survived and thrived.  Here they are in spring 2019.

This bleeding heart comes back every year.  It’s lovely.  2019.

bleeding heart

Besides these plants, there are daylilies, daffodils, tiger lilies, lavender, and many other little surprise, some of which I can’t even remember planting.  Unfortunately, all of my crocus were crowded out.  I’ll have to replant some in fall.

This little front planter has gone through various transformations, but this spring I went all out for day lilies, daisies, and geraniums.

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They need a little more growing time to really pop.

The side of the house was monstrously bare. My dream was forsythia and purple sand cherry.  Well, that came true very quickly and the side of the house is now a jungle of yellow forsythia in spring.  The electric company did cut a little of it back, but it’s growing back fast. I love to cut branches of it in the spring for flower arrangements.

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The back planter. Where you see concrete, it is now a sun room with a deck over the top and roof.  I’ll show a variety of those pictures so you can see the transformation.

Here is the front driveway after we’d planted flowering plum.

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And here they are this spring.

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So many changes.  Of the trees we planted, the flowering plum, weeping willow, aspen and lilacs, thrived.  We used lilacs to create a fence barrier between our property and our neighbors, and also growing up over the deck.  The breeze carries their perfume to us during the spring.

lilac back of house

There is a lot to catch up on after five years, and I hope to do a few posts on individual flowers and planters very soon.

Happy gardening!

I’ll leave you with a poem by Emily Dickinson about the lovely lilac.

The Lilac is an ancient shrub
But ancienter than that
The Firmamental Lilac
Upon the Hill tonight —
The Sun subsiding on his Course
Bequeaths this final Plant
To Contemplation — not to Touch —
The Flower of Occident.
Of one Corolla is the West —
The Calyx is the Earth —
The Capsules burnished Seeds the Stars
The Scientist of Faith
His research has but just begun —
Above his synthesis
The Flora unimpeachable
To Time’s Analysis —
“Eye hath not seen” may possibly
Be current with the Blind
But let not Revelation
By theses be detained —

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.

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

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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.

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Dianthus.

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

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Red Tulips.

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Yellow Tulips.

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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?

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?