Garden Haiku

Haiku, more than just poems

Haiku are Japanese poems that don’t rhyme.
They have three lines. The first line has 5 syllables, the second has 7 , and the last one has 5 syllables again. They are about things you see around you, and about observing the seasons.

Haiku in the garden are valuable. They help us to slow down, to be still and quiet for a moment, and feel the season. They are the beginning of a conversation with the place where we grow – for some folks a vehicle for meditation; for others, a bit of seasonal fun.

autumn haiku
early Autumn Haiku

My niece is a busy bee. She is a thinker, a writer and a doer – a real little dynamo. Sometimes she has trouble slowing down, and that can be tricky to curb as we get older. Time to intervene 😉 A new little haiku journal and a few quick pointers, and she is away. Already, we have some real gems of writing and quiet spells amongst busy fulfilling days.

spring haiku
Spring Haiku in our garden

Here are some haiku tips for young poets in the garden:

Count the syllables (word sounds) on your fingers
Take opportunities to sit in nature and notice things amongst the quiet that remind you of the season.
Write not type so as to give the moment tactile expression. It can be in a journal or just a note.
Write in pencil so you can change words if you’d like. Pencil also lasts forever and won’t hurt your book.
Just three lines can help you imagine a whole scene. A good haiku helps you guess the season and the feeling of the moment.
Read the lines out loud to hear the syllables.
Express how you feel, within yourself, or in the world.
Share your thoughts, by reading them to family, tying them on tags to a tree in the garden, or sending in the mail, oldeschoole.

Haiku is a beautiful skill for life.

Summer haiku
Summer Haiku

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The Sago on Tuesdays seasonal journal, called Atlanticus 3565

The essential seasonal Journal

Your seasonal journal is essential if you’d like to grow, make, cook and live seasonally. It is time to start observing. Sure, take the four common seasons as a starting point, but be prepared to quickly adapt and change them based on what you experience happening – you can give your seasonal adaptation names, or even better, do some research of indigenous seasons in your area and match them to how it feels where you live.

If you are keen on crop rotation, then a seasonal journal such as this which will last years and years is essential to keep track of alterations, experiments and observations. We made a start with great beginner information from our favourite Organic Vegetable Gardening book, and track changes and details in this seasonal journal, year on year.

Garden bed layout in the journal

We dedicate a section of our journal to each month, rather than calling it a season, so if the climate as a whole moves and evolves, we can track that movement across the year. Start your journal in any month you like. It isn’t a diary as such, but a perpetual record that tracks each week in each month. Your weekly notes can be one line, or a whole page – it doesn’t matter.

July, Week 1

HERONS BEGIN NESTING – no eggs yet, but renovating the nest

~ weekly notes

This particular seasonal journal is made by the SAGO ON TUESDAYS bookbinder.
It is called the Atlanticus 365, and really is perfect for this purpose. This journal will hold about 10 years of continuous notes, and is made from very simple materials that last a lifetime and beyond – linen thread, laid-line paper, and local hide leather – and is designed to be repaired, not replaced. It opens flat and has a gentle ease to allow things to be pasted in without becoming bulky.
One day my kids will use it to learn about how we make and grow, as I have from my dad. Hopefully, they will have their own garden, and a journal too.

Lots of great detail can help to shape and grow your garden..

  • What is blooming? fruiting? seeding?
  • How is the weather changing and when does it begin to get lighter, darker, warmer, wetter.. What months are you wary of frost, of burn, of heat..
  • When do your local birds arrive, and then move on; how do they use your garden?
  • What pollinators do you notice – bees, hover flies…
  • When do pests and diseases take hold? What adjustments and home remedies can you use to gently move them on rather than spray.
  • Are you inspired to draw?

~ you could write a haiku ~

This is not only your record of making and growing, but also a legacy of love with your garden, and the place where you live. It will develop over the years as you do – your knowledge, tips and tricks, the wisdom of friends and older folks who have done it all before in your area, and perhaps indigenous folks who have known your place for longer still.

The disappointments and the celebrations, the messy writing and the crossings and jottings.. embrace them all. Future generations won’t care that it is not your best writing, only that it is written in your hand.
This is your essential seasonal journal, and is one of the keys of success to making, growing and closing the loop at your place.

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