Whether you only have a window sill with a pot plant on, a small city terrace, a playing field or several acres, you can always work with the magic of your garden. I think the kitchen extends into the garden anyway, so a Kitchen Witch will often be found pottering around in amongst the plants.
Being in regular contact with your garden and what you grow, even with your house plants or a few pots of herbs, can help you to connect with the spirit of nature and recognise the subtleties of the changing of the seasons and your garden can also provide you with food and magical ingredients.
Magical gardening does take time, focus and attention. You can’t just plant something and leave it in the hope that several months later it will have grown, flourished and be covered in fruit or flowers (OK on the odd occasion it does happen but not often!).
My gardening memories date back to my childhood. My dad is and always was a keen gardener, organic before it was fashionable to be so. He has always had an allotment and a greenhouse which provide a bounty of wonderful fruit and vegetables. Apparently even as a toddler I would disappear down the garden with him and come back covered in mud.
In my early teens I experienced food production on a large scale as I lived on a farm for a few years. Then in my late teens I had the opportunity of working for a specialist glasshouse company. Both of those life events added to my love of the garden, food and nature’s bounty.
Once I owned by own house, the garden became key. It is my sanctuary, a peaceful place to escape to and a space in which to create magic.
For the past twenty or so years we have lived in the same house; it is on the edge of a large city and only has a small walled garden, but it is ours and we have packed it full of as many plants, flowers and herbs as we can cram into it. We even have a very small (i.e. teeny tiny) grow house just big enough to over winter a few pots and grow some seeds.
Even on my busy days I try to step out into the garden, if only just for a few minutes to relax and connect with Mother Earth.
Your garden, whatever size it is, opens up a whole new world of magic for you to delve in to. Warning: Gardening is addictive and will improve your health, spirit and mental wellbeing.
Not only is a garden your direct line to a natural source of energy, it can also provide you with a whole shopping trolley full of free magical and often edible ingredients. Whether it is in the form of fruit and vegetables or flowers, petals and seeds.
Let’s open the magical box
You may imagine you need to have a beautiful picture box garden laid out in front of a thatched cottage to have a witch’s garden but really that isn’t the case. You can style the garden in any way that suits your taste, size of garden and your budget.
Many hours and much money can be spent in garden centres and whilst they are brilliant sources for plant and design inspiration you can spend more money than you need to. Oh…and a lot of them have a café…with cake.
Plant nurseries often tend to be cheaper than garden centres but ask around. Lots of family and friends will probably be willing to share cuttings and seeds with you. And once your garden has a few plants in you can propagate more from those you already have.
Gardening does take time and effort. You will need to dig, plant, weed, dead head, water and keep things generally tidy. Even a small garden can eat up the time, but it will be worth the effort. Just bear the time factor in mind when designing your garden and choosing your plants.
Watching something grow and flourish under your care is incredibly rewarding. Add to that once you establish plants in your garden the wildlife will follow.
Our garden last summer had so many bees flitting about it was deafening. In fact, I think we got in their way, they seemed incredibly annoyed if we were trying to tend to a plant they were interested in. Along with all the butterflies, birds and of course the wide variety of insects. You may even find other creatures such as toads and hedgehogs begin to visit.
Gardens have gone through many changes over the years and come in many shapes, sizes and varieties. Immaculate green lawns with flower borders, back gardens turned over to vegetable plots during the war, concreted over with large patios or decking and all other designs in between.
The plants within though, have long been used for medicinal and magical use.
I think it is worth doing some historical research on garden design before you plan yours out. History can provide inspiration and insight.
Garden magic covers not only plants, trees and flowers but also using pebbles, shells, stones and any other manner of natural items to work magic with. Including those incredibly annoying spider webs that have a habit of colliding with your face when you walk outside. (Spider webs are very useful ingredients in witch bottles).
Don’t think you have to limit your garden to just herbs or fill it with ancient or deadly plants. Each and every type of plant contains magic of some kind, even the humble blade of grass and the wayward weed.
A weed is just a plant growing in the wrong place…
Videos I have included some guided tours of my tiny 'edge of the city' garden over on my YouTube channel. You will also find videos on magical plants and some blog posts about them within this blog too.
Information taken from Kitchen Witchcraft: Garden Magic by Rachel Patterson