Tall Old Elm Trees at the Bottom of the Garden

by Charles Dickens, The Personal History of David Copperfield

The evening wind made such a disturbance just now,
among some tall old elm-trees at the bottom of the garden,
that neither my mother nor Miss Betsey could forbear glancing that way.

As the elms bent to one another,
like giants who were whispering secrets,
and after a few seconds of such repose, fell into a violent flurry,
tossing their wild arms about,
as if their late confidences were really too wicked for their peace of mind.






Today is the birthday of the English Victorian era author and social critic Charles Dickens, born on this day, February 7, 1812.

Charles Dickens' personal garden was called Gad's Hill Place. Every day, Charles Dickens cultivated the habit of walking the circuit of his gardens at Gad's Hill Place before writing his stories.

We know from his oldest daughter Mamie that Dickens's favorite flower was the Mrs. Pollock geranium - a tricolor variety that dates back to 1858. The Mrs. Pollock geranium was bred by the Scottish gardener and hybridist Peter Grieve. It's considered a classic geranium with sharply lobed leaves that sport three colors: brick red, gold, and grass green.

You've heard the saying, "not your grandmother's geranium"? Well, Mrs. Pollock could very well have been your second or third great grandmother's geranium. Dickens loved to wear geraniums in his buttonhole - and he had a steady supply. He grew them into large beds at gad's Hill, and he also grew them in his conservatory.

As featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

Words inspired by the garden are the sweetest, most beautiful words of all.
Tall Old Elm Trees at the Bottom of the Garden

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