The Domestic Garden Witch: Don’t Blink
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!
Gardens as Shrines
Okay, so unless you’re a fan of Doctor Who, it’s unlikely that you get the title. That’s okay. And if you do get the title, you get brownie points! Regardless, the container garden that we’re looking at today is one that I see on rare occasion, but I wish I could see a bit more often: using statues or statuettes as a gardening medium.
In this case, it’s a bit less of what the container is made of and more of what the container depicts. But before I get to that, the garden is simple to create. Simply take a statue that has some sort of surface that can be planted in (the picture above is from a DIY site that featured this same type of project, and they used a faerie holding a cupped leaf as the container part of the statue). Using an appropriate drill bit for the container material, add drainage holes and then plant as usual! Gardens like this can vary depending on how deep the planting surface is, but generally succulents benefit most because the majority of statuettes such as the one above are designed to double as bird baths, and so have a shallow bowl.
A Living Offering
The beautiful part of this type of garden, as I mentioned above, is not the type of material the container is, but what the container depicts. When someone says the word “shrine” it can often bring about mental images of small altars dedicated to a deity, or of the little Shinto altars in Japan, or even of the little altars set up to attract business in some small shops (there’s a nail salon near where I live that has an adorable little Hindu shrine right as you walk in, and in all the time I’ve been here, I’ve never seen them struggle).
But many pagans today follow faiths that bring them very close to nature, and encourage finding a balance. Despite this, it’s not uncommon to see altars that are built or set up somewhat apart from nature. They may be made of natural objects or have natural materials placed on them, or may be built in a natural area, but there’s still often some sort of line between where nature ends and human interaction begins. This type of container garden is a great way to try to bridge that gap!
Depending upon your path, select a statue that can be dedicated and devoted to a particular deity. Then plant foliage and decorations that are linked to that spirit in some way. For instance, a very common garden decoration is the image of the Green Man. A container with the Green Man image can be planted with ferns or other forest-type plants in honor of the Green Man or in honor of Cernunnos (the god I usually associate with the Green Man in my path).
Not only can this be a discreet way of honoring the gods, it is also a very respectful way of doing so, as it provides a continual offering as you tend the plants that are growing in the shrine. Water the plants with waters that have been blessed, and every time you tend to the plants, you can turn it into a sort of meditation on which you interact and commune with that god.
But gods are not the only spirits such gardens can be dedicated to. As in the picture above, you can dedicate a shrine to the Faeries of the area. Consider using plants that are pleasing to their eyes, and care for those plants while also leaving the occasional offering for the small folk!
A very common statuette to find is usually of saints. If you follow a tradition that is linked to the saints in some way, you can do the same project in honor of that saint!
So next time you look at that empty statue bowl sitting just outside your apartment door, consider ways in which you can turn it into a magical shrine that is ever-present, right there at home!
May all your harvests be bountiful!
Blessed Be! )O(