Author bio

Marta McDowell

Publication

“Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet”

Hometown

New Jersey 

Bio

Marta McDowell lives, writes and gardens in Chatham, New Jersey. She shares her garden with her husband, Kirke Bent, their crested cockatiel, Sydney, and assorted wildlife. Her garden writing has appeared in popular publications such as Woman’s Day, Country Gardening, The New York Times, and the British journal Hortus.  If you visit the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, you can stroll the grounds with a landscape audio tour that Marta scripted. She was an advisor for the New York Botanical Garden’s 2010 show, “Emily Dickinson’s Gardens: The Poetry of Flowers.”  Marta was the 2018 Gardener-in-Residence at the Emily Dickinson Museum.   Marta teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden where she has been twice awarded “Instructor of the Year.” A popular lecturer, she has been a featured speaker at locations ranging from the Chicago Botanic Garden to the Smithsonian Institution to the Beatrix Potter Society’s Linder Lecture at the Sloane Club in London.  She worked with Chicago Botanic Garden’s Lenhardt Library on exhibits about Beatrix Potter (2016) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (2018).

About “Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet”

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 gardener and plant lover. In Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life, Marta McDowell traces Dickinson’s life as gardener and reveals the many ways in which her passion for plants is evident in her extensive collection of poems and letters. The book follows Dickinson through an entire year in the garden. You’ll learn that she forced hyacinth bulbs in winter, saved seeds in the summer, and pressed flowers to include in her correspondence. You will also find tips on how to plant a poet’s garden and an annotated list of all of the plants Dickinson used. Packed with contemporary and historical photography, botanical illustrations, excerpts from Dickinson’s letters, and some of her most cherished poetry, this revealing book is a must-read for Dickinson fans.