The Domestic Garden Witch: Hangin’ Out
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!
Another Indoor Succulent Garden, Josh?
Yeah, yeah, it’s another succulent garden. Bite me. But this goes to show how easy and inexpensive succulents are, frankly! They’re an ideal type of garden for those on a budget or who are limited on time and space. In fact, I’ve often said to my boyfriend (who claims that he has no green thumb whatsoever) that the only way to not have a green thumb is to end up killing succulents. Especially since they’re low maintenance.
I’ve always had a love for hanging gardens. I’m not entirely sure why, but somehow, they always bring a bit of life to a garden. Perhaps it’s because it’s a great way of simulating a three-dimensional landscape in a world where everything is either standing or flat, or perhaps its just the fact that it’s refreshing to see green at or above eye level. Regardless, this project is a great weekend craft for the college witch who wants to bring some magic into his or her home.
Unlike our previous container gardens, this is one that generally has to be crafted from scratch or with a starter frame. A frame can easily be any wooden picture frame, or you can create your own if you’ve access to power tools.
1. Place the frame front-side down. On the back, fasten a wire mesh (such as chicken wire) to the inner edges to cover the opening of the frame. Around the edges of that opening, fasten strips of wood, about a quarter-inch thick, to provide depth to the opening. Then, seal all of that up with a flat board of wood. What you should end up with is a frame with some depth, like a shadowbox frame, with a wire mesh where the picture would usually be.
2. If desired, now would be the time to paint your frame.
3. Once the frame is dry, lay it backside down. Add moist potting mix through the mesh and into the box. Continue doing so until it is packed down and won’t fall out of the box.
4. Take some cuttings and begin planting them in the soil through the wire mesh. If needed, cut the wire mesh to accommodate some larger cuttings. Continue doing so until the wire mesh and soil are mostly covered. Spray with water and carefully hang in an area that receives plenty of light.
Magic In the Wood
Our previous container magicks have taken a look at metal, seashells, and even the magic of recycled items. But it would be a shame if I were to miss the magic that wood can bring to a container garden. After all, there are entire traditions of magic that focus on different woods and trees (those who participate in druidry definitely would know this, especially as Ogham places particular emphasis on trees and wood).
In working with container gardens, the wooden planter box is usually an easy go-to for buying or building, but the type of wood is usually overlooked. Every time my family built a planter box, the only concern was that it was a hardwood (that way it didn’t rot quickly, and could stand up to the weather and usage). But different trees embody different aspects of magic. So from a witchy standpoint, we can add to the magic of our gardens if we incorporate that into our container gardens!
Now keep in mind that these are going to be general correspondences and descriptions. Depending upon where you live, a tree or wood may have different characteristics (for instance, hawthorn may be linked specifically to magic and protection in Europe, but here in California, the oak is usually more linked to that).
First is the usual hardwood here in California: redwood. Sturdy, tough, and depending on the source, often a rather beautiful reddish pink color, redwood is an easy go-to. Typically, redwood or sequoia can be linked to wisdom, protection, stability, and strength.
Pine is another frequent go-to. Though its color isn’t as striking, it’s qualities of protection, wisdom, prosperity, and strong association with life are great qualities to implement in a garden.
Oak varies from place to place, and from species to species. Here on California’s Central Coast, it’s hard to go too far without seeing a Coast Live Oak, which grows easily here and has a strong feeling about it that makes it seem that it’s constantly watching and constantly protecting. Oaks are nearly always linked with wisdom, and in some cases are so strongly linked to magic that they merge with magical characters (no joke… in some stories about Merlin, he became an oak tree upon his death). Regardless, oak brings protection, wisdom, knowledge, and masculine energies to one’s garden!
Birch is easily recognizable for it’s lightly colored wood, and for its bright white bark. But while it makes for a sturdy wood, it can also reflect aspects of flexibility. For this reason, it can be used in making a box that will encourage adaptation, creativity, and intuition in your garden.
Those are only four examples, and are some of the easiest woods to get a hold of in your local hardware store. Consider the type of wood you’re using when creating a planter. What aspects does it represent for you? And how can you bring its magic into your garden?
May all your harvests be bountiful! )O(