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Garden-Inspired Writing

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There are many ways to express ourselves, and writing is one of the main ones. The written word can convey ideas in countless formats, styles, and combinations. How do you get youth excited about writing? The garden, of course! Filled with colors, sounds, textures, and scents, a garden provides boundless opportunities to use language to describe observations, make comparisons, and convey the beauty of flowers, leaves, landscapes, and more.

Here are some literary forms you might want to try with your young gardeners.

Journals

One easy way to get started is to have kids keep a garden journal. Not only can they note planting times and weather, but also how they feel that day, if there's something particularly interesting to them, or a question they want to research.

Poetry

Ranging in length from a few lines to an epic story, poetry is a form of literature that, in general, has a greater focus on the rhythm and cadence of the language. Because of this, it's often most enjoyable when read aloud.

Haiku. Originating in Japan, this form of poetry consists of three lines; five syllables in the first and third lines, and seven in the second line. With so few syllables, a haiku is usually simple and the words evoke a feeling. For example:

Touching basil leaves
Breathing in the vibrant scent
I dream of pesto

Rhythmic. Repeating the "ing" in every line gives this poem a nice flow.

My Dream Garden Poem

The trees love singing.
The plants like growing.
The leaves are dancing.
The grasses are swirling.
The flowers are sleeping.
   — By Anusha, 2nd Grade

Prose

Articles, short stories, and novels are types of prose. In general, the authors are less focused on rhyming or cadence.

Fiction vs. nonfiction. Although many authors naturally turn to their life experiences when writing, fiction refers to literature that is primarily created from one's imagination. Nonfiction, such as books about gardening techniques, is based on facts and events.

Biography and autobiography. These categories of literature are about people's lives — either someone else's (biography) or yours (autobiography). Sometimes an autobiography is called a memoir.

Turns of Phrase

Similes. One fun activity is to brainstorm similes. A simile (SIM-ill-ee) is way of describing something using the words "as" or "like." Similes are especially interesting when they contrast two very different things. For example:

  • Yellow flowers like little suns
  • Petals as soft as velvet

Metaphors. In contrast to similes, a metaphor doesn't say something is like something else, it says it IS something else. For example:

  • A sea of poppies
  • Maples dropping helicopter seeds

Idioms. These are phrases have been used to describe something for so long that they've come to be understood by most people. For example: 

  • Go out on a limb
  • Nip it in the bud

Alliteration. By using words that start with the same letter or sound, alliteration is a fun way to add liveliness and lighten the mood. For example:

  • A field of fuchsia flowers
  • Birds, butterflies, and bugs abound

Hyperbole. We all exaggerate occasionally, and hyperbole is simply high-octane exaggeration. For example:

  • I visit the garden a million times every day
  • That sunflower is taller than a telephone pole

Imagery. Evoke a picture in someone's mind. For example:

  • The hue of the berries called to mind my mother’s red lipstick.
  • Stately gladiola flowers guarding the entrance

Resources

Garden Adjective Adventure

Poetry in the Garden

A Place to Read is a Place to Grow

Read in the Garden