2. The Homestead: Flower Garden 1

A photograph of a flower garden in early spring, with purple blossoms and red stems. A two-story yellow house with green shutters stands in the background. The sky is clear and sunny. There are distant trees with the faintest hint of green leaves.

As you survey the garden beds in front of you, imagine a summer morning. The day is sunny, but the dew hasn’t yet burned off the garden. A woman with auburn hair is kneeling on a red blanket, cutting the spent blooms off of the plants. She pauses, thinking, and perhaps takes out the stub of a pencil and a piece of scrap paper and writes down a few words. 

Welcome to Emily Dickinson’s garden.

The garden that Emily, Vinnie and their mother tended looked different from what you see today. Here is John Martin to tell you more about it:


"Gardens have fashions, and the formal beds in front of you were installed by a later owner in the 1920s. The Dickinson flower garden was in this general area, benefiting from the full sun and good drainage of this gentle slope.  It was an old-fashioned garden, tidy in the spring and overflowing by autumn. A summer house, a gazebo of sorts, with climbing roses gave a shady, private place to sit. There were trellises with climbing honeysuckle."

Vinnie trains the Honeysuckle - and the Robins steal the string for nests - quite, quite as they used to. (L266)

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Birds—robins, jays, hummingbirds—appear often in Dickinson’s poems. Here’s a poem about a hummingbird in the garden:

A Route of Evanescence 

With a revolving Wheel -

A Resonance of Emerald 

A Rush of Cochineal -

And every Blossom on the Bush 

Adjusts it’s tumbled Head - 

The mail from Tunis - probably,

An easy Morning's Ride -


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