Domestic Garden Witch: Staying In Touch with the Locals
A mixture of plants native to my home here in San Luis Obispo - this garden can be seen at our local California Polytechnic University! Golden poppies, buckwheat, and century plants can be seen, just to name a few!
Native Plants, Stronger Energy!
In many gardening articles for witchcraft, we see descriptions for containers, methods of gardening (i.e. with crystals or blessed waters), and most definitely descriptions of what plants to grow and why (rosemary for protection, basil for prosperity, et cetera). And while many gardens hold a beautiful energy and are often deeply spiritual (such as with moon, faerie, and dragon gardens), I don’t often see articles which address native plants in witchcraft.
This stands to reason, as it is difficult to address every single ecosystem on the planet. But I do believe it’s possible to tackle the subject in broad terms. After all, there’s a certain benefit in getting in touch with your local flora!
One of the goals for many witches is to develop and strengthen the bond between human and earth. This makes gardening a natural interest for many witches, giving rise to green witchcraft, garden witchcraft, et cetera. We meticulously cultivate plants for food and aesthetic pleasure, as well as for health and spiritual reasons. However, this comes with a certain risk. When non-native plants are brought into an ecosystem, one of the worst case scenarios is that the plant thrives to the point of growing out of control, and becomes an invasive species. One need look no further than giant hogweed in Oregon as an example - the plant has no natural predators, thrives in the environment, and can choke out other plants in the area (and that’s not including the fact that hogweed’s sap is extremely toxic to humans).
Some prevent overgrowth and invasion by carefully maintaining their gardens and preventing the plants from seeding or pollinating. But one of the best methods to avoid the risk is to cultivate native species of plants. In terms of witchcraft, this is double bonus points, as it allows us to interact with and connect with our local plant species.
Growing native plants affords us a special opportunity to save money on gardening (no need for extraneous irrigation for plants that will thrive in your garden as is), but also to learn. In the process of collecting and growing local plants, not only can we learn how they are cultivated, but also what they can represent in our craft (golden poppies for wealth and prosperity; coast live oak for protection and wisdom; black sage for cleansing and health… just to name three natives here at home).
But as with any herb or witchy garden, it’s good practice to learn about the other uses of the plants in the area, as well as their history. We grow closer to nature by learning what it has to offer, and exchanging the gifts that it brings to us when we take care of it (another great example? coast live oak produces mass quantities of acorns - so many, in fact, that it became an incredibly easy to obtain food source for the Chumash and Salinan tribes who lived here; as such, coast live oak can also be associated with prosperity and health).
For those who garden with aesthetic in mind, there is a certain beauty in the native blooms for any region. As can see in the image above, the Central coast has vibrant flowers, from the golden poppies to the white-yellow buckwheat and the purple native lilacs. The variation in textures and growth give a natural and pleasing appearance to any garden, and allows us to landscape with our homes in mind.
The Fair Folk Love It!
Faerie gardens often make use of bright colors and varying species in order to attract such spirits to the garden. But in a world where more and more space is urbanized, and more species are introduced that were not part of the environment before, perhaps it is good to consider how local spirits may feel if we can help provide a refuge of sorts, in which comfortable plants can thrive.
In my practice, I’ve always cringed a little bit to think of growing some of the gardens I’ve seen for local spirits. Something in my heart was bothered by the thought of trying to invite local spirits into my garden by using non-local plants - like trying to invite someone over to your house by trying to offer them their least favorite foods, or foods that don’t seem that attractive to them. Since faerie gardens are meant to invite your local spirits to create a home, consider ways in which you can focus on the plants that they’d be most familiar with, to create a pleasant and comfortable environment for them!
There is more to be said of native gardens - this article barely scratches the surface. They’re environmentally friendly, inexpensive to maintain, are educational, and provide a solid connection with nature’s bounty right where you live. If you struggle to introduce special or unique plants to your garden, try your hand and your magic at working with native plants - you may be surprised as to the possibilities that they can open up!
May all your harvests be bountiful! )O(