Surrounded by colorful tulips, beautiful azaleas, and other exciting blooms, the students used School-provided iPads to take photos of the park and its natural offerings. Later, when they returned to Calvert, the boys and girls used these photos to inspire spring haikus – traditional Japanese poems that feature three short lines that do not rhyme.
As they learned about haiku structure and tone, the Eighth Agers used their photos from the park to shape their poems.
“Students brought their iPads and had the opportunity to explore the gardens, snapping photos of tulips, azaleas, budding tree leaves, dew on petals, and even rabbits and birds. Each student’s unique photography would later serve as inspiration for their spring poetry,” Calvert’s Eighth Age teachers explained. “Once we returned to the classroom, students could refer back to their photos, select a favorite, and compose a spring haiku using sensory details from the moment they captured.”
The world-famous Sherwood Gardens, which sits on six acres in Baltimore’s historic Guilford neighborhood, provided the perfect backdrop for this activity. The park, which has been featured in National Geographic and The Baltimore Sun, is known for its beautiful landscaping and abundant blooms.
Every year, the Guilford Association and nonprofit Stratford Green Inc. plant more than 80,000 tulip bulbs, as well as magnolias, azaleas, and more, to color the grounds. These flowers appear in a variety of inspirational shades – from soft yellows to bright pinks and purples – and drew “oohs” and “ahhs” when Calvert students explored the grounds in April.
Charlie M. '27 based his haiku on a flower bed filled with black Queen of Night and white Catherina tulips. Amid the monochromatic patch, he found a single red bloom and snapped a striking photo for his poem:
One sad little red flower,
Dreams woosh through my mind.
To inspire her poem, Renee J. ’27 captured an up-close photo of pink azaleas dotted with morning dew:
Pink and beautiful,
Raindrops glowing in the sun,
Small but beautiful.
Juliet B. '27 looked upward for her photos and based a haiku on one of the park’s many trees.
Tall as a giraffe,
Swaying in the gentle breeze,
Pretty, bright-green leaves.
Thank you to Sherwood Gardens and the Guilford Association for hosting this field trip and providing Baltimore with a beautiful green space!