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50 Ways to Use This Book

This is a Work-in-Progress. But soon each number will be populated with videos,

suggestions, how-tos, scripts, and more. 

Why? Because too many times, people told us, Botanical Shakespeare is pretty. 

It is! Thanks to Sumié's gorgeous illustrations.


But -- it’s not just a coffee table tome; there are lots of ways to use the information therein.

We thought we'd offer myriad paths to your own imagination & creativity:

Featured Way to Use This Book

Currently topping out list of 50 ways to use this book: Planting a Plot!

In your garden plot, plot out all of the plants mentioned throughout the plot of a particular play! 

We will be releasing growing information for all the plants in each play

until we have released the growing information for all of Shakespeare's plays.

...and then some!

1. Growing Shakespeare: Plant a Plot!

You’ve got 38 plays to choose from! & we even went beyond the 36 included in the First Folio of 1623 – our definitive go-to --& included Pericles and in the book. A Midsummer Night’s Dream has the most plants, at 51, but you could (technically) start with the play that has the fewest, Julius Caesar (but just Oak and Palm might not make for a very exciting garden/forest). Each month we’ll feature the growing info for one of the plays, till we’ve got ‘em all & then some!

2. [Theatrical] Have a Shakespeare Conversation!

A handful of the plants have quotes that can’t really stand alone, for example, “A Lemon.” (in Love's Labour's Lost)…

3. Shakespeare Contained -- Container Gardening a la Bard:


4. Memory Game (aka Name that Quote!) 

Dame Judi Dench actually played this game with her partner on her BBC program, My Passion for Trees. 


5. [Academic] Research:

We’d love to see some serious scholarly research on each of these plants, i.e., 47 of them are mentioned only one time. And why are certain ones mentioned in certain plays, by particular characters? For example: Marjoram appears in All's Well That Ends Well, King Lear, The Winter's Tale, as well as Sonnet 109 -- is there any connection?

6. Smart Up: Memorization 

We know Shakespeare sharpens the brain—learn a line or two every day to keep those synapses snapping.

7. [Theatrical] War of the Roses play:


See our Menu of Talks page

8. Poisons:

Know the deadly plants to make sure you tread carefully!


9. Aromatherapy:

Strewing herbs & tinctures: heal and destress with the Bard's plants. We used pine, rose, and rosemary in our Chelsea Flower Show booth. You can make your own infusions, or buy essential oils to scent your air with Shakespeare!

10. Find an Emblem:

Gourd (Pumpkin Gourd).jpg
Tower Gourd.png

11. Find a Motto!

Queen Elizabeth I’s was Semper Eadem, “ever the same”, which sounds a bit like a high school yearbook directive ("don’t ever change!"). Of course you should grow & change & evolve. But for her people who had been enduring almost 30 years of tumultuous religious flip-flopping (& its attendant violence), so her motto was a soothing promise of “steady as she goes”—a comfort to her people.

12. Lover’s Garden:


Plant all of the plants mentioned by each of Shakespeare's Lovers.You'll be happy to find that it's not just roses; you might get something as tasty asa pomegranate!


13. Salad (days) Garden:

Lettuce, cabbage, etc.

14. Spice Rack:

Rosemary, Garlic, Pepper, Parsely, Thyme, the list goes on... Spice up your kitchen or your decor with Shakespeare's spices (and their pictures!)

15. Make a Play Bouquet:

16. Map a Tree or Follow a Tree Trail:

We've partnered with the TiCL app to help craft and curate "Shakespeare's Trees" trails. You can use the TiCL app to follow ones we have already created, such as the one in Wandsworth Park in the UK, or make your own!

17. Mixed Nuts:


18. Color Clusters!

Feeling blue? Curious yellow?

Blues and Violets.jpg

19. Smart up: Why and How the Bard Makes You Smarter

Everybody's worried about memory loss these days (dementia, Alzheimer's), but studies show that learning a little Shakespeare, knowing it, even seeing it surpasses even sudoku for keeping your memory sharp. Plus -- it exemplifies the Renaissance tenet of learning through delight. Guess what... you'll have fun honing that gray matter! See how the Bard makes you smarter.

20. Create a Play Perfume!

21. Women’s Empowerment: Individuals or a Bouquet:

Juliet, Portia, Rosalind, Titania, Beatrice, Margaret, Hermione & more: there are a lot of amazing, smart women in Shakespeare. To remind youof their heroism, resilience, leadership, and alacrity, have a little bouquet nearby, something to remind you that she has your back and will inspire you to find the right words at the right time whenever you need them. Let these amazing women grow in your mind, in your heart -- and in your garden!

22. Triumphal Bouquet:

Celebrate someone's promotion, graduation, or award with a triumphal bouquet a la Henry the Fifth.Want to show someone you love them? Send them a sonnet bouquet.

23. Rose Garden:

From Alnwick  Castle to a Florida front yard... The rose has been the enduring symbol of Shakespeare , thanks to the famous Romeo & Julie quote. The American Rose Society calls it the queen of Flowers, apt because Queen Elizabeth’s emblem was of course the Tudor Rose, but she added in Eglantine because it was the sweetest smelling rose. 

24. Deep Dives:

Just one plant opens up a world of wisdom, for instance the MARIGOLD. We'll be expanding on each of Shakespeare's plants: stay tuned!And -- if you're an expert in one of Shakespeare's plants, let us know! We want to interview you.


For now, check out this article on the health benefits of ROSEMARY.

25. Beauty Routines a la Shakespeare:

Rose water, cakes of roses, vermillion lips -- how you, too, can become the glass of fashion and the mold of form. (Hamlet)

26. Word Clouds:

Plants by Category Word Cloud.png
Plants by Character Word Cloud.png

27. Shakespeare Therapy!

Shakespeare had lots to say about all aspects of the human condition. Sometimes this will have to do with plants & sometimes not but the Bard’s words are always good for an emotional boost as well as our brain/ body focus. After all, as he says so often: It’s all one.

28. Go Exotic:

Coloquintida? Cork? Arabian Tree anyone?

Arabian Tree (Acacia).jpg

29. Forest Bathing:

The Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku, or forest bathing, when surrounded by Shakespeare's trees, combined with memorizing and reciting the text about those plants combines for a holistic brain/body boost!


Watch our video on the subject with the Woodland Trust, and check out pictures of our 

forest bathing booth from the Chelsea Flower Show 2018!


30. Bring Back Corsages & Boutonnières!

31. Veggie Up:

Imagine if you vegetable has something to say in your garden or on your plate! Shakespeare makes jokes about the carrot, warns about onion and garlic, and thinks peas are the ‘dog’s breakfast’ – but we know better now.

32. Speak the Speech: (aka Soliloquize!)

From "I know a bank..." to the Duke of Burgundy’s eco-STEM speech, having some Shakespeare trippingly on the tongue will keep your brain sharp and ensure you’re never at a loss for words. T-shirts here.

Z Composite D - Midsummer.jpg

33. Make Flower Crowns:

"She never had so sweet a changeling;

And jealous Oberon would have the child

Knight of his train, to trace the forests wild;

But she perforce withholds the loved boy,

Crowns him with flowers and makes him all her joy.”


“How sweet a thing it is to wear a Crown"

34. Make a Living wall a la Shakespeare:

You can make a living wall of your own using Shakespeare's plants!

35. Shakespeare Ice Bowl!

36. Tea Time:

Chamomile, nettle, fennel... The tea craze didn't start in England until the 18th century, but there is a number of plants in Shakespeare to have a tea party with -- and it's healthy, too! The secret ingredient: poetry.

37. Shakespeare’s Herbal remedies:

Blog post coming soon! In the meantime, check out how Rosemary Water helps you live longer while keeping your memory sharp!

38. Sing a Flower Song or Have a concert:

See our Menu of Talks page for our concert series!

39. Get Crafty:

Make a broom from broom (See our Menu of Talks page), a pomander (Love's Labors Lost), or a willow basket a la Friar Laurence.

broom 2.jpg

40. Seasonal Shakespeare:

Roast a crab (that would be Apple!); have a May Day celebration; celebrate the solstice & Midsummer’s Eve

41. Your Just Desserts:

It’s Gooseberry, Fool! Recipes with Shakespeare’s fruit; Shakespearean Fruit salad!Come back to check out our new Recipe page - coming soon!

42. Teaching Tools: Hands-on Shakespeare

A teacher in Palm Springs brought me crepe paper flowers from MSND that she had her students make while studying the play. Such a brilliant idea! We'll have more coming in this section.

43. Wearing Botanical Shakespeare:

Adding layers of meaning to what you wear! There's other ways of getting your Bard on besides dressing up like Juliet. A strategically placed broach, a boutonnière. Build a botanical wardrobe that has meaning. See: Women's Empowerment and Smart Up: sections -- poetry in motion!


44. Farming Shakespeare: We’ve yet to find a whole Shakespeare farm, but we love this woman who’s trying to bring Medlar back into the mainstream. Jane Steward, of Eastgate Larder, is determined to bring the medlar back to our table:

45. Punning with Plants:

What do you Rue?  Are you in a Rush?

46. Shakespeare Sense/Scents: Garden & Scent bouquets:

Lilies & roses & violets, oh my!

48. Send a “Message” Bouquet:

Yes, we also wish there was a florist who had all the Shakespeare flowers on hand & could assemble & send on demand, but till then it’s DIY!

49. Save the Plants! 

Ash dieback, Elm disease, the anxiety about the London Planetrees & xylella...  12 plants in Shakespeare are on the Red List of threatened species. Join a conservation movement. Plant trees! There’s literature, history & poetry at stake. Listen to the topic discussed on All Things Considered.

50. Go See a Garden!

-Brooklyn Botanical Gardens’ Shakespeare garden enjoys 900,000 visitors per year. 

-Washington, D.C.’s Folger Shakespeare Library has an Elizabethan garden which is currently being renovated. 

-Golden Gate Park in San Francisco has an intricate gate of Shakespeare’s Flowers opens to a brick path leading to a chart that identifies many of flowers and plants that grace the pages of Shakespeare. This garden was initiated in 1928 by Alice Eastwood, the esteemed director of botany at the San Francisco Academy of Sciences. Visitors have been known to come with their collection of plays on hand to more fully immerse themselves in the world of Shakespeare, soaking up the lyrical tranquility the garden offers.


Shakespeare gardens throughout the United States; cites include: 

Brookfield Shakespeare’s Garden, Brookfield, CT; Bethel Public Library, Bethel, CT; Brookyn BotanicalGardens, NY;  Shakespeare Garden in Cedar Brook Park, Plainfield, NJ; Misericordia University, Dallas, PA; Evanston, IL; Cleveland, OH; Portland, OR; San Marino, CA;The Elizabethan Herb Garden, Mellon Park, Pittsburgh, PA; Wessington Springs, SD; Illinois State University; Kilgore College, TX; Northwestern University, Chicago; St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI; University of Massachusetts; University of the South, Sewanee, TN; University of South Dakota; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY; University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; Shakespeare Festivals in Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Utah; Shakespeare & Co. in the Berkshires of Massachusetts; the Elizabethan Garden at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., & internationally at Johannesburg Botanical Gardens, South Africa; Vienna, Austria; Regensburg, Germany; University College of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC, Canada. And of course numerous locations throughout England including Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Globe Theater, Bankside, London. 


-If you know of a Shakespeare garden that should be on here, PLEASE let us know! Send snaps!-

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