18 November 2010

Dickinson's Garden

I love this time of year save for the lack of flowers in bloom. So I thought I'd share some images from a special exhibit, “Emily Dickinson’s Garden: The Poetry of Flowers,” which I saw last spring at the New York Botanical Gardens.

Emily Dickinson, the reclusive poet who famously spent her later years sequestered in her bedroom, was a well known gardener in her hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts. Dickinson loved flowers and could often be found in her garden, sometimes even gardening at night with the aid of a lantern. 

For the exhibit, Dickinson's imagined garden (no evidence of the original garden exists) was created inside the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory with a path running between the recreated facades of the Homestead, the Dickinson home, and the Evergreens, the home of Dickinson's brother Austin. Outside, a poetry walk included 35 of her poems and the museum displayed some of  Dickinson's letters and a reproduction of one of her famed white dresses.  

The creators of the exhibit turned to Dickinson’s writings, which include many references to her beloved flowers, to find flowers and plants to include. The rest of the garden was filled out with flowers that would have commonly been found in Massachusetts in the 19th century. 

Foxgloves and delphiniums, hyacinths and my favourite, hollyhocks, filled the conservatory (one very wise little boy pointed out to his mother that foxgloves can kill you. A future gardener if there ever was one). I could have stood in there all day breathing in their beauty. My only regret is that I missed the tulips and daffodils by a few weeks. The path that wove between the flowers led me to the tiny replica of Dickinson's bedroom where a small desk and chair were placed beneath a window just like the one she would have sat at, able to gaze out at the world.

I don't remember the name of these airy beauties above. Does anyone know what they are? There were so many lovely flowers I wish I had taken more photos to share with you dear readers (I'm afraid I went a little crazy with shooting the Hollyhocks). All and all, a great exhibit filled with enough colours to carry one through some grey months.

Photos of the New York Botanical Gardens by Michele.

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