Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Witch's Field Garden Awakes

We've just begun to get the gardens ready for the season, trimming away that which was dried and dead from the winter, but which I always like to leave for the birds and small animals to cull seeds from, as well as to provide nest materials in early spring. I'm most fond of our field garden behind my studio, the one David and I have spent innumerable hours tending over the last few years. I've carefully chosen the plants that we grow there, plants that serve several purposes: medicinal flowers and herbs, those with magickal properties that have been used for centuries and those that allow us to xeriscape garden for environmental reasons, doing our share to help save Mother Earth and conserve resources. These photos show the garden just starting to wake up. By the time we're in the heart of the season, there will be little mulch and soil showing and the plants will be several feet high and sporting a variety of vivid colors. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite plants we grow out there:

Yarrow. This is a protective plant and when worn stops all fear and brings courage to the wearer. The flowers can be made into an infusion and when drunk will improve one's psychic powers. It can be used to exorcise evil from a person, place or thing.

Bergamot. This plant brings clarity to any situation. It attracts butterflies and the red varieties will draw hummingbirds to your garden.

Hyssop. This is the most popular herb used for purification. It can be used in any magickal applications for this purpose and can be worn to cleanse a person. It can also be used to purge a home of negative energy. This plant will also attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to your garden and the flowers and leaves can be steeped into an anise tea or used in any dish that you'd like to infuse with the scent and/or taste of anise. This is a plant that smells wonderful and whose scent can be enjoyed on the breeze while you toil.

Heliopsis. The herbal member of the sunflower and daisy family and also a plant native to American soil. They bring luck to those who grow them and will in theory guard a garden against pests. I haven't noticed this last attribute working, but they are beautiful and I adore them.

Coneflower. This is actually echinacea, which if taken regularly stimulates the immune system and can help to reduce cold symptoms. I love them for their glorious colors from purple to an almost neon pink and orange and couldn't imagine having a field garden without them.

Valerian. This is a purifying and protective plant. It can be worn in a sachet to protect one's person or in the house to guard against that which can threaten the home (even lightning!). It can be used in love charms, drawing men to a woman in droves as well as for what it's best known for today: used as a sleep aid and a muscle relaxant. And the best part of it is that witches from centuries past would refer to dried and ground, powdered valerian as "graveyard dust", which is really very cool.

Catmint. Aside from making your cat go berserk and get really wasted, catmint promotes beauty, happiness and love. Use it in love sachets with rose petals, and hang it in your home to attract good spirits and positive energy. It's said that if you give the catmint to your cat personally, you will forge a psychic bond between the two of you. This is also another plant that smells simply amazing in the garden and can be enjoyed while you work.

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