There are so many ways to use Botanical Shakespeare—we have lots of suggestions in 50 Ways to Use This Book, but we're excited about what everyone else is coming up with and we'd love to post how you're using it, too.
Here are some examples of innovative ways teachers are using the book.
A few suggestions from us!
Check out the planting information for a given play: cultivate characters & plots;
Try a scent garden or bouquet—what does A Midsummer Night's Dream smell like?
Put lovers in container pots.
Grow your own Shakespeare Salad!
Rebekka Boysen-Taylor, middle school teacher at Palouse Prairie School in Moscow, Idaho has used this book to inspire both art projects & gardening plots!
Rebekka says: "Each year students create collages inspired by [A Midsummer Night's Dream] and our garden will inspire papercut artwork of the plants they choose."
Fascinating! We're just amazed by the beauty and originality here.
"Students are taking their jobs as garden designers seriously and receiving this resource was such an exciting addition to the work. Here are a few pictures of their designs. We are currently working on finding grant money for the project, planning to prep the site, and consulting with a landscape designer to help students combine their designs into a final plan," Rebekka explains.
Liz Bengels of Berta Dreyfus Intermediate School on Staten Island, NY: "I wanted to emphasize that it's nice to have a book whose beauty in terms of spatial arrangement, design, color, etc. serves as a perfect complement to Shakespeare's beautiful arrangement of words, thoughts, and feelings.
...I think I was trying to encourage kids to see how the arts are interconnected (the artist [Sumié Hasegawa] was a concert pianist if I remember correctly [yes!]) and how all arts are enriched by curiosity and the kind of patient attention to detail that Gerit applied to her research."
Above: A student's interpretation of a fashion design of a botanical dress, created with sketching and leaves.
From Liz: "Thank YOU for giving the world such a beautiful book. ...There are a few books that really help transport me into tranquility and peace of mind–yours is one of them–a true delight."
Leslie Bartlett and her students at Duarte High School in Duarte, California
are embarking on their Shakespeare adventure.
She plans to use the book as an integral part of their investigation into Shakespeare's creative process. We can't wait to see what they come up with! (She also requested
the War of the Roses 10-minute play!)
"I learned about your book when I attended the Huntington Voices Teacher Institute at the Huntington Library. The head gardener for the Shakespeare Garden spoke so highly of your book, I went right out and bought it. She plans to completely revitalize the Shakespeare Garden using your book as her guide. I plan to use it as an introduction to Shakespeare’s descriptive writing and I believe it will serve as a wonderful tool to help students
better understand and embrace Shakespeare."
A middle-school teacher came to my talk in Palm Springs (at Just Fabulous) & brought the crepe paper cowslips she'd have her students make every year when they studied
A Midsummer Night's Dream, to give them a more hands-on experience of the play – even before the book came out! But this is what we're talking about – making the words present through growing plants. You can do that with any of the flowers: Here's a tutorial from our friend Young Kim on how to make beautiful crepe paper roses.