The Domestic Garden Witch: Bonsai!
So maybe you’re a college witch with limited space and money, limited to the one window in your dorm. Or, maybe you’re a witch without extensive backyard space who wants to start up a magical garden. Perhaps you’re a kitchen witch who wants the freshest herbs right at her fingertips.
For many witches, having a garden seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. After all, plants and magic go hand-in-hand. Plus, when thinking of a witch, it’s hard not to think of a cottage in the woods with a little vegetable garden out front. Unfortunately for the majority of us, our cottage in the woods is a tiny flat, and our garden out front is a windowsill with limited space.
This is when it comes time to embrace your craftiness and bring your garden indoors! Not only does it place your garden in a convenient location, it also allows you to freshen the air, recycle what would otherwise harm the earth, and embrace your witchy green thumb!
Mini Trees, Patience and Meditation
When it comes to container gardening, we often jump straight to pots with flowers, herbs, maybe even little shrubs. Or even to terrariums and the like. But rarely do we consider incorporating bonsai into our lives. This could be because these miniature trees, as beautiful as they are, seem fairly daunting to cultivate, or possibly because many view them as expensive ornamental plants.
The truth is, however, that the art of bonsai is one which is not only very DIY but also a very helpful exercise in patience and meditation. And it is currently undergoing a bit of a revolution. Traditionally, bonsai has a lot of fairly strict rules regarding the shape and type of pot used, what plants can be used, and the proper ways to shape and trim the plant. However, in more recent movements, various pot shapes and types are being used, as well as varying plants (especially native species) so as to embrace a more personalized view.
You could either acquire traditional materials, or you can create your own container using a ceramic bowl or other type of dish. Select plants that suit your view and personality. And be aware that bonsai is still an art that requires some effort in order to grow a successful plant.
You’ll need a container with a drainage hole, gravel or volcanic rocks for drainage, plants, metal wire, and bonsai soil (either premixed or you can make your own by mixing peat clay, potting soil, and fine volcanic gravel). Place a gravel layer in the bottom of your container, and fill the rest with your potting mix.
Remove the starter plant from its container and gently remove the soil from its roots, and rinse them so that most of the soil is removed. Trim the roots, leaving the larger roots. Starting from the top of the plant and traveling down to the roots, wrap the wire around the stems of the plant. Run the remaining wire down through the mix and gravel and out of the drainage hole. This will anchor the plant and provide a training frame - alter the shape of the wire to shape and train the plant’s growth. Plant it in your container and provide ground cover on the soil either in the form of moss or gravel. Water and mist daily.
Training your plant is part of what makes this a meditative experience. Avoid over-trimming, but remember to prune large leaves and extraneous branches. As the plant gets a bit stronger and naturally grows to the shape you’ve established, you can carefully remove the wire. Keep in mind that it can take decades to get a bonsai to look like the stereotypical gnarled trees that we typically see in the media.
How Can I Witch This?
The possibilities for incorporating bonsai into your practice are nearly endless, both from the standpoint of container material and decoration and from the standpoint of tree choice. But the kind of magick I want to focus on here is “slow burn” spells.
Slow burn magic centers around working a spell that is low-energy, but takes effect over a long period of time and in much more subtle ways. Great examples of this are spells that are geared toward helping keep a house cleansed and protected over extended periods of time, nurturing a spell for health or self-confidence, et cetera.
So in addition to adding decorations or crystals, and choosing plants which correspond to your intent, shape your tree with intent, love, and compassion. These trees invite care and nurturing, while adding an appealing and cleansing atmosphere to any room. When grooming and shaping the tree, hold your intent in your mind, and also request help for realizing that intent from the plant as you care for it.
In addition, bonsai can be a great way of inviting faeries or other nature spirits into the home, much like a faerie garden. This is a form of aesthetic spellwork that can help encourage long lasting and positive effects in your home!
May all your harvests be bountiful! )O(