Creative Writing opportunities
The Plantation Garden could be used for a wealth of creative writing opportunities.
For younger children, you might explore the elves and fairies ideas in the mythology / folklore section, while older children could use this as a starting point for writing / stories about Little People living in the gardens (see the extracts and clips from The Borrowers, Truckers, Honey I Shrunk the Kids etc).
The rediscovery and restoration of the garden in the late 70’s / early 80’s could be used to inspire some writing about someone finding their own secret garden, exploring descriptive writing and building up of atmosphere / suspense. There are extracts and clips from the Secret Garden and Tom’s Midnight Garden about discovering a garden. If you would like to explore either of these books further, there is a wealth of clips, resources and lesson plans which can be found online.
You could also explore building atmosphere and suspense through looking at ways of describing a spooky / dangerous garden / forest, or a peaceful / tranquil or magical / enchanted garden. For a malevolent / spooky forest, exploring alliteration, you can find video clips online, such as the section of Snow White where she is running through the forest which appears to come alive around her and grab at her as she runs through.
Perhaps as part of your writing, as in Tom’s Midnight Garden, there could be an element of going back in time and seeing the garden in the late 1800’s.
The plan of the tunnels under the Plantation Garden could also be used to inspire some creative writing – discovering a secret entrance. Perhaps this could lead to the land of the fairies and elves, linking in with work on the mythical creatures, or something entirely different. See the examples of writing / stimulus which could be used for this.
There is a lot you could do with an exploration of mythical creatures and folklore, and books, stories and films which they have inspired.
For younger children, explore the idea of the Fairy Doors and think about the items that can be found in the Plantation Gardens that the elves and fairies could use – their clothing, bags, umbrellas etc. Setting up the Fairy Doors for the children to discover could be used for some great drama opportunities. You can also create an outfit for them, or design the King or Queen of the Plantation Garden to sit on the ‘Elf Throne.’
Exploring the extracts and clips from The Borrowers and Truckers might also give some ideas for how the Little People can use everyday items in a very different way and would be good stimuli for writing for older children. You could also have fun with some creative writing from a different viewpoint – what would the world be like if you were tiny? Exploring the clips and extracts will give you plenty of ideas for this. The above clips / extracts could be used to think about some of the dangers of being so small, along with the extract from Gulliver’s Travels which could be used with older children.
The Little People could perhaps live in the secret tunnels that exist underneath the gardens, coming out at night when the ‘Big People’ have all gone home. This could be linked to the writing on discovering a Secret Garden, or finding the Secret Tunnels underneath.
As well as the creative story / descriptive writing, drama and art opportunities, you could create your own mythical creature to live in the gardens and produce an information page about them. These could form part of a class book, or be added to the others on the website!
Poetry at the Plantation Garden
There are plenty of opportunities for writing poetry inspired by the Plantation Garden, exploring a range of forms and themes.
Perhaps the easiest poem to ‘write’ is the Found Poem. These examples have been created by collecting together some comments from the Trip Advisor website by visitors to the garden.
You could write cinquains, haikus, tankas, or acrostics. For children who might find it more difficult to write their own acrostic, they could use words that they find in the resources for the Found Poems.
Poetry could explore the gardens using all of the senses and would lend itself well to figurative language, using metaphor, simile and personification. Although not a poem, the idea of personification as a descriptive tool to build atmosphere is explored in the Secret Garden writing opportunities.
There are plenty of examples of personification poems and plans that can be found online. City Jungle is good for looking at how you can create a specific atmosphere through the personification you choose. There are three examples of a personification poem on the website for the Plantation Garden which could be used for children to base their own on.
Have a look at the links for more examples and ideas. There are examples of children’s poetry inspired by the garden on the gallery pages.
RSPB outreach opportunities for schools:
RHS Plants and gardening – resources, lesson plans, activities and guides:
Norfolk schools outdoor education activities:
Woodland Trust – Nature Detectives: