Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet” as Want to Read:
Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  20 reviews
“A visual treat as well as a literary one, Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life will be deeply satisfying for gardeners and garden lovers, connoisseurs of botanical illustration, and those who seek a deeper understanding of the life and work of Emily Dickinson.” —The Wall Street Journal

Emily Dickinson was a keen observer of the natural world, but less well known is the fact that sh—The
Hardcover, 268 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Timber Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-52
Average rating 4.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  27 ratings  ·  20 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet

3.5 Stars

This begins by going through the seasons, opening with Early Spring, and ending with Winter, but separated into more than the four seasons, alone. The author takes you on a literary walk through Amherst and invites you to stand in front of the Homestead, using your imagination to see it as it once was in the mid-1800’s. From here you could see Amherst College and imagine how this landscape appeared those many years ago. Before streetlights, or paved roa
Literary Soirée
This gorgeous book is a literary and gardening delight!

It uniquely reflects Dickinson’s life through her love of gardening, with lush photos and illustrations, as well as excerpts from her poetry and letters.

Even includes ideas for growing a poet’s garden, along with a list of the plants Dickinson actually used in hers. 5/5

Pub Date 01 Oct 2019.
Thanks to the author, Timber Press and NetGalley for the review copy. Op
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you love anything Emily Dickinson, then this book will further your love not only for her poetry, but also her life’s connection to her plants. This book was much more than I anticipated. It was divided into parts: Dickinson’s life as a gardener throughout the seasons and a visitor’s guide to the Museum and the Dickinson landscape. Each part was well written and extremely detailed. It was accompanied by many illustrations and photos which captured the beauty of Dickinson’s love of plants.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is an absolute delight. I received it as an e-book from NetGalley (many thanks) but it’s really one to own and treasure as an actual book, one to refer to again and again. I don’t read a lot of Emily Dickinson, although I do enjoy her work, nor am I a gardener, although I enjoy looking at flowers and plants as much as anyone, but this book is something special and I defy anyone not to take pleasure from it. Acclaimed primarily as a great poet, Emily Dickinson was also a keen gardener, ...more
Kelli Roberts
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a really lovely book! Anyone who is interested in Emily Dickinson, gardening, or New England/Massachusetts history will enjoy it. Combining photos and details about the plants in Emily Dickinson's garden and her care for them, snippets of her poetry, and a look into life at that time, it is beautifully illustrated and designed and gives a great deal of information. I have a great love of Emily, her poetry, and Western Massachusetts, and this is a perfect book to complement these interest ...more
I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

A new perspective on one of America’s most enigmatic literary figures

Emily Dickinson is among the most important of American poets, a beloved literary figure whose short, complex life continues to fascinate readers. But she was also an avid
Paisley Green
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't know what to expect going in to this book. I'm familiar with Emily Dickinson's work, but not much about her biography (except for a vague idea of her being an unappreciated recluse). This book totally exceeded my expectations.

McDowell not only delves into Emily Dickinson's garden, but how her interactions with plants and her study of botany, a "woman's subject," heavily influenced her writing. Organized by season, each section takes us through the kinds of plants and flowers Dickinson
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received and advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I can see I'm going against the grain on this one. It really just didn't appeal to me. What attracted me to the book was the gardening, not the poetry, and the fact that Dickinson lived in an area I am familiar with as my son went to college there. And let me say that I read the book in a less than optimal format on my laptop which skewed the layout. I think the actual hardcover must be a better, more visua
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Confession: I have been a huge Emily Dickinson fan forever. In high school, I dressed up like her on her December 10th birthday. Before I met a former boss, I learned she was an Emily Dickinson fan too, and low key stalked her until she hired me (We’re still friends; I wasn’t that creepy). And I planned to name a daughter Emily before the name became popular.

Sooo...I had to read this newly re-released book about Emily Dickinson’s gardening life. I knew I would be hypercritical, but! There was n
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will say that I am not a huge poetry fan, but I am a gardener who loves a good story. Marta McDowell's book, Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life, roped me in as a fan for life, so I was excited to receive an advanced reader copy of this book about Emily Dickinson.

Her research is thorough and she intertwines the author's life, writings, and gardens beautifully. As the book is dividend among the seasons, I would prefer to read it in multiple sittings, perhaps with rain and a cup of tea,
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
An absolutely gorgeous book, filled with historic illustrations of the flowers Emily and her family grew, selections from her dried flower collection, and both historic and modern photography of Amherst and the Dickinson Homestead. The book is sectioned off into "seasons," a very creative way of organizing the narrative of Emily's life to go along with the seasons her gardens went through. The author peppers the text with Dickinson's poetry and selections from letters that discuss her love for n ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Three books in one! This fascinating account of the life of Emily Dickinson portrays her life long obsession with her gardening and all that she could grow in it. This is accompanied with some of her beautiful garden-inspired poetry and a list of all the plants and flowers cultivated by the Dickinsons. Following the introduction the book is divided into two sections: The Turning of the Year, taking you through the garden in each season starting with Spring, and A Poet's Gardens giving advice on ...more
Carol Dass
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, netgalley-read
I have to say that reading this book inspired me to get a book of her poems to read. This book has delightful illustrations. Also, the book has great value just in the historical information it gives about Emily. Many of her poems were linked to flowers and to nature. One of the most fun parts of the book was the chapter about planting a poet’s garden. I would love to do that!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a fan of her poetry, I was intrigued to read about a different side of Emily Dickinson. This book does that well. I enjoyed reading about her letters and her poems dealing with different flowers, and I also liked hearing more about her family. Images are wonderful here, and I also liked how the book is set up with the different seasons as showing progression. An enjoyable book for fans of her poetry and also for fans of horticulture. Highly recommend this book.
Denice Langley
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm always looking for background stories on my favorite authors and this one sounded very interesting. I love gardening and flowers so thought I'd see how my tastes compared to Emily Dickinson's. The book is very entertaining with lovely gardening sets. This is one book you'll return to many times.

I really hate it when the publisher decides to only make the galley available as a digital download.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Emily Dickinson and I love gardening this means this book was a sort of Heaven send.
I loved the mix of poetry, text, gardening advice and the lovely pictures.
It must be great in hard cover format and a perfect present.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book, a delight for poetry lovers and gardeners alike. The illustrations are lovely. The research is vast and well presented. Most striking is how well the author’s language matches Dickenson’s, picturesque, lyrical and concise. I will definitely add the hard copy to my collection when it’s released.

Thanks to the author, Timber Press and NetGalley for the review copy.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, ng
Gardening and poetry--who could ask for anything more? The visuals in this book help to truly put an image to some of Emily's more intriguing figures of speech. It also gives a glimpse into what life was like in 19th-century New England. The author has clearly done her homework.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the digital ARC!
Andrea Engle
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2019
Part Dickinson biography, gardening manual, Amherst history, and slim volume of poetry, McDowell’s book is a delight ... beautifully illustrated, with a respectable bibliography ... inspires one to visit the poet’s home in Amherst ...
Oct 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Really interesting interweaving of Dickinson's writing with her botany, and the material culture of the homes she lived in and the gardens she tended.
Megan Schlicht
rated it really liked it
Nov 17, 2019
Tom Crowley
rated it really liked it
Nov 06, 2019
rated it really liked it
Sep 01, 2019
rated it liked it
Oct 16, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Oct 16, 2019
Megan Shaner
rated it liked it
Oct 18, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Nov 02, 2019
Kim K
marked it as to-read
Apr 01, 2019
marked it as to-read
Apr 01, 2019
marked it as to-read
Apr 24, 2019
marked it as to-read
Apr 30, 2019
added it
Jun 01, 2019
Audrey Zarr
marked it as to-read
Jun 03, 2019
Chris Wolak
marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2019
Jessica Doyle
marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 11, 2019
Morgan AC Mott
marked it as to-read
Jun 12, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 12, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 12, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2019
Rina Horenian
marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 19, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 24, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 29, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2019
Lisa Bilich
marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2019
marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2019
Athena Lathos
marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2019
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World
  • The Body: A Guide for Occupants
  • Christmas in Vermont: A Novel
  • The Whispers of War
  • The Dutch House
  • Cilka's Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #2)
  • First Time Embroidery and Cross Stitch: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide - Learn By Doing * Step-by-Step Basics + Projects
  • The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family
  • The Truth is a Theory
  • The Dead Girls Club
  • Dear Edward
  • The Light in the Hallway
  • Pet
  • Horizon
  • Mexico City Blues
  • Guitar King: Michael Bloomfield's Life in the Blues
  • What Kind of Girl
  • Let It Snow
See similar books…
I live, garden and write in Chatham, New Jersey where I share my garden with my husband, Kirke, assorted wildlife and approximately 10,000 honey bees. You will often find me at the New York Botanical Garden, where I teach landscape history and gardening courses. My new book, All the Presidents' Gardens, is coming out from Timber Press in October 2016. (I'm excited!) When I'm not gardening I like to read a ...more