Magazine article The Antioch Review

Glorious Gardens

Magazine article The Antioch Review

Glorious Gardens

Article excerpt

When the weather is agreeable my wife and I end the workday with a stroll (martinis in hand) through her garden. Just before the sun sets she tells me about new plantings, about some freshly blooming species, about her thoughts for further encroachments (beds) on the lawn or in a sunken garden. We talk of other matters, of course, but it is the garden that focuses our attention. Gardens mean a great deal to her and feature prominently in her paintings. To millions of others across the globe they have an equally potent pull and have cult status in certain cultures (England, Japan). I myself was garden-deprived growing up; I have no powerful memories of secret places, but do have an uncanny ability to forget (almost immediately) the name of any plant. I have come to recognize this as both a curse and a blessing since it enables us to continue our nightly conversation fresh every day.

Few American writers have made better use of their gardens than Emily Dickinson. As Judith Farr has shown in her brilliant The Gardens of Emily Dickinson (2004), she cultivated "several gardens" during her fifty-plus-year life in Amherst. Dickinson was by avocation a gardener, a rare poet of both the external and internal landscape ("the garden unseen") and she asked before her death--as Farr notes--"to have her coffin not driven but carried through fields of buttercups to the West cemetery, always in sight of her house."

All this is by way of preface to a small collection of essays about landscape gardening that lead off this issue. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.