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Emily Dickinson's Life

Decent Essays
In the sophisticated world of plants, as well as the wildflowers, trees, and shrubs that made up Emily Dickinson's Amherst, provided the poet with a constant source of inspiration and companionship. Emily Dickinson gardened throughout her life. At age eleven, she announced to a friend, "My Plants grow beautifully" (L3). In her middle years, she was able to tend plants year-round in the glasshouse her father added to the Homestead. Dickinson once said, "My flowers are near and foreign, and I have but to cross the floor to stand in the Spice Isles” (L315). A letter written just a few years before her death reminds us that Dickinson had to work to make such magic happen, "I am very busy picking up stems and stamens as the hollyhocks leave their clothes around"…show more content…
Dickinson's mother is generally credited with instilling in both Emily and her sister Lavinia a love of gardening. Mrs. Dickinson was also known for her ability with sensitive plants, receiving a commendation from the local paper, the Express, for her "delicious ripe figs," a "great rarity" in New England (Years and Hours, Vol. 1, p. 359).
Emily Dickinson also learned about plants in botany courses at both Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. During her school years she assembled a broad herbarium (a book of pressed plants) that included more than 400 specimens, each labeled by the poet with its Latin name. The herbarium, now in the collection of the Houghton Library at Harvard University, demonstrates Dickinson's intimate familiarity with her natural surroundings.
In the Homestead garden, Emily, Lavinia and Mrs. Dickinson grew a great variety of flowering plants: shrubs, climbing vines, annuals, perennials and bulbs. Although the exact location of the flower beds is
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