As springtime is here and garden-planting is nigh at hand, it is time for a literary garden post! Building Rivendell will be resumed next month.
Although Elise and I live in the city, we are blessed to have a decently sized garden. We primarily plant vegetables and herbs, but I endeavor to leave a bed for flowers. I commonly choose flowers that have significance and meaning for me, either from my travels or from works of literature. The result is a garden like unto a story itself, with each plant being a line from a different book or journey. This is what I call a literary garden.
As I plan our garden this year, I am reminded of Anne of Green Gables and her love of flowers. One aspect about planting a literary garden—one with flowers from one or more works of literature—is that it really doesn’t matter what flowers you plant if they remind you of that book. It need only be “in the spirit of the book,” as I like to say. For example, in planting a literary garden inspired by Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, any traditional colonial or cottage flowers will do. However, for simplicity’s sake, I will list below only a few of the flowers actually mentioned in Anne of Green Gables. I have included links to pictures of these flowers so you can plant them yourself. A convenient aspect of Anne of Green Gables is that Anne lived in Canada, so many of the flowers mentioned in the books can easily be grown here.
“Outside in the garden, which was full of mellow sunset light streaming through the dark old firs to the west of it, stood Anne and Diana, gazing bashfully at one another over a clump of gorgeous tiger lilies.”1
“Beyond Willowmere came Violet Vale—a little green dimple in the shadow of Mr. Andrew Bell’s big woods. ‘Of course there are no violets there now,’ Anne told Marilla, ‘but Diana says there are millions of them in the spring…It actually takes away my breath.’”2
June lilies (white narcissi)
“And you can pick a bouquet of them white June lilies over in the corner if you like.”3
Other flowers mentioned in Anne of Green Gables (I have not researched these) are columbines, Bouncing Bets, purple Adam-and-Eve, peonies, and, of course, the apple-scented geranium sitting on Marilla’s windowsill at Anne’s arrival.
Do you plant a literary garden? Elise and I would love to see! Please send us your photographs or post them on Instagram and tag @avalhouse.
1L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 12
2Ibid., Chapter 15
3Ibid., Chapter 10
Featured image credit to Scott Koehn