Writing Prompt Story Starter: Gardens

story starter

We’re going green for this week’s Story Starter . . .

During lockdown, we’ve come to appreciate gardens and outdoor spaces even more than before.

At the time of writing, with many of us remaining ‘shielded’, gardens have provided a very welcome space where we can get some fresh air and be together, safely.

And gardens are our writing inspiration for this week!

Flowers have provided inspiration for writers, poets and artists throughout the ages – Wordsworth and his host of golden daffodils; Robert Burns and his red, red rose; Sylvia Plath and her tulips. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden”.

In the music world, Lakme’s Flower Duet. The Waltz of the Flowers, from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker”. And in the art world – Van Gogh’s Sunflowers”. Monet’s gardens. The prints of William Morris. Klimt’s Flower Garden.

Fiction Team’s Tracey is our gardening guru, and she kindly sent me over this image of a rhododendron from her garden. Isn’t it beautiful? I’m afraid I don’t have green fingers, but Tracey often says that life begins the day you start a garden”, and that it’s never too late to begin!

Green is the colour of inspiration

So, how can gardens inspire your writing this week?

Gardens in all kinds of homes, of all shapes and sizes. Window-boxes. Allotments.

Gardens in stately homes. Manicured lawns. Topiary.  Capability Brown.

Going back a little, kitchen gardens. Physic gardens. Botanical gardens. Kew.

The Chelsea Flower Show. Garden centres. Open again now, thankfully!

Famous gardens – the Tivoli gardens at the Villa d’Este, with its opulent fountains; Alnwick’s Poison Garden, full of toxic and potentially poisonous plants; the gardens of Versailles.

Rose gardens, such as La Domaine de Manon, Grasse, where blooms are grown for Dior perfumes.

And more homely plots – lawns as football pitches! Wartime gardens, digging for victory.

The people behind the gardens – gardeners, parfumiers, florists.

Hope this helps your writing ‘come up roses’ this week!

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Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!