Gardens as Creative Non-Fiction

Spring 2019
Evening and Weekend
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 42
12 Credits per quarter
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Taught by

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

--Marcus Tullius Cicero

This writing and field botany program will examine ways in which both gardens and writing embody intersections between human creativity and the facts--or “nonfiction”--of the environment.

In the writing portion of the program, we will be especially attentive to the following lines of inquiry and their implications: accurate observation, effective communication of sensory detail, and the creation on the page of the writer as a robust and multi-dimensioned narrator. We will draw on tools and methods of analysis from the fields of creative nonfiction writing and literature to undertake this work.  In the field botany portion of the program, we will engage with Evergreen’s Longhouse Ethnobotanical Garden, learning to identify and understand many of the plants; carrying out seasonal garden care; and examining how gardens—with their various contexts, intentions, designs, and dynamics—can function both as a metaphor for creative non-fiction and as a resource for writing it.

 One way we will link these two disciplines—writing and field botany—will be through the practice of creative nature journaling. Program participants will have abundant opportunity to develop the habits of mind of analytic, creative, and resilient thinkers, observers, writers, and “gardeners.” 

Books under consideration include  The Sweet Breathing of Plants  (edited by Linda Hogan and Brenda Peterson) and  Braiding Sweetgrass  (Robin Wall Kimmerer). Program participants must be willing to share their writing with all program members for their response, in person and in a program-only space online.



Spring 2019 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

(12): 30272

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

writing, education, and professions related to botany, ecology, and cultural studies

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$45 for entrance fees plus art and garden supplies


Time Offered
Evening and Weekend
Advertised Schedule

Wednesdays 6-9pm & Saturdays 9:30am - 5pm

Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 B1107 - Workshop