Friday, August 09, 2013

“Garden Inspired Writing Retreat” Being Piloted at Botanical Center Starting Sept. 5

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Experience nature and be inspired by the beauty of the gardens at Nathanael Greene and Close Memorial Parks in Springfield as part of the Greene County Extension’s “Garden Inspired Writing Retreat.”

The same program, “Garden Inspired Writing Retreat,” will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon on the first Thursday of each month this fall: Sept. 5, Oct. 3, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5. The cost per person, per session, is $20.

Advance registration for the program is required and can be done in person or by mail with a check to the Greene County Extension Center. It is also possible to register using a credit card on the Greene County Extension website:


The retreat will be led by University of Missouri Extension specialist David Burton, who is also a journalist and published creative writer. Burton will guide participants on a journey into the natural world with creative writing exercises in the gardens.

“This retreat is for anyone who wants to be more creative whether you like journal writing, poetry, fiction, non-fiction or news writing,” said Burton, the county program director of Greene County Extension. “I would anticipate that some people will want to make this a regular event and may register for more than one of the first four sessions being offered.”

Burton adds that no prior writing experience is needed. However, attendees are advised to bring a lawn chair and their own writing tools.

“I’m writing a story myself that involves Virginia Creeper and there is just something about writing on that short story in the middle of a garden that brings the story to life,” said Burton.

Participants will visit at least three different areas of the park and be given writing prompts that will encourage creativity and sharing. Burton can also provide individual assistance and review.

"Regular writing retreats help you stay motivated, inspired and productive. Our brains and bodies need regular rest breaks. Writing retreats like this one to the garden, are to creativity what a good night’s sleep is to physical well-being. You and your writing both will benefit," said Burton.


Gardens and writing have been joined together for centuries and our language reflects that inner-connectedness. Consider: “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” wrote Shakespeare speaking through Juliette to Romeo.

We refer to our garden beds, and the garden of evil (23rd Psalm). You can plant the seed of an idea. If it takes root, it might bear fruit. But an idea that has been “nipped in the bud” has no chance.

Our culture venerates flowers, uses them to symbolize holidays, protects some by law, and imitates their scent in both perfume and canned air freshener.

"Just being in the garden can spark creativity," said Burton. "But having the experience with other writers triples the power of being outside and writing. Attendees at this retreat will experience that collective creativity at various places in the garden."

This Greene County Extension program is being conducted in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center.

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