Anne Spencer: Garden as Muse

Staff
2 Min Read

As I began writing this article about the garden of poet Anne Spencer, it occurred to me that I had settled down to write in my own garden. Subconsciously, I was drawn there because my garden affords me the time and place to gather my wits. Gardens are like that—beacons of calm, meditation, and contemplation. They nurture our creativity, and they are for retreats and revelry alike. An invisible magnetic fi eld draws us in to find what we are searching for, even if we didn’t know we were searching. Like most writers, Anne Spencer was always searching for the right word, the perfect phrase, the melodic rhyme.

A Virginian by birth, Anne lived with her husband and former tutor, Edward Alexander Spencer, in Lynchburg, Virginia, her entire adult life. On the grounds of a former Confederate army recruitment station called Camp Davis, Edward designed and built their Queen Anne-style house. Later in the mid 1920s, he built a cottage for Anne to enjoy in the center of her garden. They named it Edankraal, a blending of their names and the word kraal, a South African word loosely translated as place.

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