ZenGarden.club kicks off with our first

Nutshell Narratives - Haiku that tells a story - 2019-01

We are proud to announce the winners of our first Nutshell Narrative Writing Contest!

Grand Prize: Silent Night – by Amy DeMatt (Adult)
Grand Runner Up: Two Weeks – by Jon Giles (Adult) 

Congratulations to Amy and Jon and to all twelve top winners!  The three winners for each flower prompt are listed below, followed by the complete short list for each prompt, in alphabetical order.

We hope you will enjoy reading all of the stories by our short listed winners.
You can also click on any title below to read the entire story.

Special thanks to the judge for our first writing contest!  David A. Ross is a Teaching Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  David read each qualifying story and selected all the winners and the short lists.  He explained his criteria for judging – “I was looking for concise and effective language, on the one hand, and some little ray of poetry or genuine feeling, on the other hand.”   All the top winning stories include a comment which helps explain why they were selected.  Thank you, David, for giving your time and helpful insight to all our writers.

Let’s do it again!  Our second short story writing contest has begun.

We’re giving advance notice to all our members, so that you can get a head start on writing new stories for the Early Spring version of our Nutshell Narratives contest.  The deadline for entry is Wednesday, May 15th at 5 pm.  You’ll see all the guidelines and the prompts here:

New Contest

We frequently send emails with updated information about contests, opportunities, and trending items. It’s very important to us that all our members get these emails in a timely manner.
On March 26th we sent an email to all members. If you have not received this email, please see the check list of possible reasons.

If you win a contest, we need to be able to contact you!
If you did not get our regular email, here are some possible reasons:
  • It went to an email you don’t check very often. Be sure and check the email you used to SignUp on ZenGarden.club.
  • Emails can sometimes go into your spam box. Please check your spam, and if it’s there, mark it as “Not Spam”.
  • Google emails can sometimes go into your Promotions folder. Please check that folder as well.
We are now inviting members to submit their own suggestions for Nutshell Narratives flower prompts!
Prompt Suggestions
Contest is closed.
Congratulations to all of you who sent in such excellent stories.  We received 66 entries, from all over the world.  The last two entries came in just as the countdown timer hit zero!  You can see the final entry count for each flower prompt below.
Stay tuned for frequent updates on this page.  We will keep you posted on the status, as our judge selects short lists and winners.
In the meantime, keep writing!


 — Some haiku are verbal, lyrical photographs of a brief moment in time.  Others seem to tell a story, in the fewest possible words.  Our first contest is based on a collection of story-telling haiku that each have a flower as a focal point. 


We invite  you to create a short backstory or descriptive commentary that fits the “nutshell narrative” of any haiku on this page.  Use your imagination, and see what stories or meanings you see in these few words!

Deadline: Wednesday, March 20th, 2019  5 pm ET.  Please read the guidelines below before entering!

Here are the four story-telling haiku for our contest.  Pick your favorite and start imagining!

“Amaryllis” entries: 17

Red Amaryllis
Basking in the winter sun-
Someone is singing!


“Rosemary” entries:  14

Double rainbow –
New parents plant rosemary,
Smiling through their tears.


“Freesias” entries: 18

Snowstorm …
Just one bouquet of freesias,
To last until spring.


Ginger Lily” entries: 17

One ginger lily
Perfumes the entire garden.
Whispers in the dark…

(“Ginger Lily”)


Japanese haiku were traditionally written using three lines, with a syllable count of 5-7-5.  When poets began writing haiku in English, they initially also used the 5-7-5 form.  Over time, however, haiku poets in North American became aware that 17 syllables in English can contain a lot more information than 17 syllables in Japanese!  This awareness led to the use of “free-form” haiku.  You’ll notice that some of the haiku on this page are traditional style and some are the newer free-form style.  Free-form style still contains three lines and most often still uses a short-long-short pattern.

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