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Blooming Books: Literary Inspired Plantings

submitted on 8 December 2023 by
It has often been said that books and nature go hand in hand. And as someone who has spent a significant chunk of his life with his nose buried in the pages of books, I can attest that there is a certain magic in finding a quiet, secluded spot outdoors to enjoy a good read. But have you ever stopped to consider how the world of literature might be inspired by the very plants that surround us? Let us embark on an imaginative journey through the world of plants and literature, with some helpful guidance on how to grow and appreciate your very own literary-inspired garden.

Shakespeare's Herbal Stage

Let us begin with the Bard himself, for Mr. Shakespeare was undoubtedly a master of weaving plant-life into his plays. In fact, over 180 different plants make an appearance in his works, often serving metaphorical or symbolic purposes. Take, for example, the famous rose from "Romeo and Juliet." If you fancy growing this classic symbol of love in your own garden, I recommend the 'William Shakespeare 2000' - a beautiful, deep-crimson rose with a strong and delightful fragrance. For more of a challenge, you could try growing some rue, as seen in "Hamlet," which has a rather distinctive and bitter taste. Just be sure not to confuse it with the mandrake root, which has been known to produce rather unpleasant side effects when ingested!

Potter's Whimsical World of Plants

For those of you who may have spent your childhoods believing that magic was real, the wondrous world of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series will surely be of interest. Many of the plants found in these books have real-world counterparts that can be grown in your own literary garden. For a bit of whimsy, try cultivating a fanged geranium, which is actually a variety of scented geranium with pointy leaves. The magical properties of these plants remain unconfirmed, but I can assure you that they make for a lovely addition to any garden. And while you're at it, why not plant a small patch of lavender, which was used by Mrs. Weasley to cure her son's nerves (though I would suggest not taking any medical advice from her).

Woolf's Bloomsbury Blooms

For those of you more interested in the literary salons of the 20th century, consider the works of Virginia Woolf. Woolf herself was an enthusiastic gardener and had a particular fondness for roses. Create your own Bloomsbury-inspired space by planting a variety of roses, such as the 'Virginia Woolf' - a pale pink, fragrant rose that will be sure to add a touch of elegance to your garden. To further enhance your space, consider incorporating some of the other plants found in Woolf's works, such as the luscious wisteria from "Mrs. Dalloway" or the vibrant azaleas from "To the Lighthouse."

Thoreau's Wild Wilderness

For those of you who aspire to live a life more in tune with nature, look no further than the works of Henry David Thoreau. His time spent in the wilds of Walden Pond is well-documented, and there is no shortage of inspiration to be found in his writing. Grow your own Thoreauvian retreat by cultivating some native wildflowers, such as the purple coneflower or the black-eyed Susan. And if you're feeling particularly adventurous, why not plant a small grove of trees, as Thoreau himself did, to provide some shade for your afternoon reading?

An Ode to Keats' Grecian Garden

Lastly, let us not forget the Romantic poets who found much of their inspiration in the beauty of the natural world. John Keats, for example, was particularly fond of the Grecian landscape, as seen in his famous poem "Ode on a Grecian Urn." To create a Keats-inspired garden, consider planting some Mediterranean plants such as lavender, rosemary, or olive trees. And for a more dramatic touch, try incorporating a Grecian urn or two as a focal point for your garden.


There you have it, my fellow book lovers and green-thumbed enthusiasts. The world of literature and plants are as interconnected as the roots beneath our feet. By cultivating a garden inspired by the works of Shakespeare, Rowling, Woolf, Thoreau, and Keats, you are not only creating a beautiful space to enjoy your favorite books but also honoring the rich tradition of nature and literature. So go forth, and let your imagination bloom alongside your literary garden.
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