I'm on vacation this week, trying to get my yard and flower gardens in shape. I've been in a running battle with the mint plants and vines, which keep popping up around the flowers, no matter how deep I dig for the roots. Still, the gardens are taking shape, after a few anxious years -- there are few things more satisfying than to see the rewards. Now if this heat wave would just relent.
When I came in from gardening today, I noticed this NPR report about a New York Botanical Garden exhibition called Emily Dickinson's Garden: The Poetry of Flowers. Botanical garden president Gregory Long told NPR that Dickinson would tuck short poems into bouquets of flowers that she gave to neighbors and relatives. "The people of Amherst ... knew her as a poet because of these. Because nothing was really published in her life, or very, very little. So they found the poems, of course, very eccentric."
Garden designer Todd Forrest told NPR that it is filled with foxgloves, daffodils, zinnias and other flowers Dickinson might have planted around her home. "I know for a fact that this is the first time we've grown dandelions for a flower show. But dandelions were very important to her. In fact, she referred to herself more as a dandelion. She felt more comfortable and more natural in the fields with the dandelions than she would in the drawing rooms with the fancy folks around Amherst."
The exhibition, which includes many of Dickinson's poems, runs through June 13. You can read many of her poems at the Poetry Foundation, a great website.