Garden Witchery Magick from the Ground Up by Ellen Dugan
2004 COVR Award 2nd Runner Up.
How does your magickal garden grow?. . .With violets, rosemary, and yarrow to attract faeries; an apple tree for love and health; and a circle of stones in some tucked-away corner?
Whether you live in a cottage in the woods, a home in the suburbs or a city apartment with a small balcony, a powerful and enchanted realm awaits you.
Discover the secret language and magickal properties of the trees and flowers, herbs and plants found growing around you, and learn how to create your own witch's garden.
Written with down to earth humor by a Master Gardener who is also a practicing witch, this creative and encouraging guide will inspire gardeners of all ages and experience levels.
It includes a journal section that makes it easy to keep track of your progress, practical gardening advice, personal stories, and garden witchery lore and magick. Inside, you'll get the dirt on:
moon gardening and astrological timing
beginning to advanced witchcraft
floral and herbal spells
"witch crafts" (sachets, wreaths, charm bags)
creating sacred space
shade, moonlight, and sun gardens
enchanted houseplant and container gardens
magickal herbal correspondences
Table of Contents: Garden Witchery: Magick from the Ground Up
acknowledgments . . . xiii
introduction . . . xv
I: What Is Garden Witchery? . . . 1
The Legacy of the Wisewomen, 5
Gothic Plants and Their Magickal Alternatives, 6
Ye Olde Medieval Gardens, 8
Garden Witch Magicks, 10
The Magick of House Plants and Fresh Flowers, 10
2: Backyard Magick . . . 13
Meet Your Magickal Yard, 15
Garden Witchery Quiz, 17
Answers . . . and More Questions, 17
Common Magickal Trees, 23
The Poem of the Nine Woods, 28
Topping Trees, 29
Enchanting Backyard Plants, 30
Ground Covers, 31
Gathering Guidelines Harm None, 32
3: Flower Magick . . . 35
Flower Colors and Magickal Correspondences, 38
Flowers of the Month, 38
Flowering Herbs of the Magickal Garden, 41
A Witch's Dozen of Flowering Magickal Herbs, 42
4: Florigraphy and Flower Folklore . . . 49
Miss Mary's Floral Vocabulary, 52
Cottage Flower Folklore, 54
The Language of Cottage Flowers, 55
Flowers for the Lady: Goddesses and Associated Plants, 57
Flower Fascinations: The Art of Simpling, 59
5: Enchanted Specialty Gardens . . . 71
Shady Sorceress Gardens, 71
A Witch's Dozen of Shady Plants, 72
Types of Shade and Plant Suggestions, 75
Flowers and Foliage for Moonlight Gardens, 77
Shady Characters and Poisonous Plants, 80
Poisonous Garden Plants, 83
Samhain/Harvest Pumpkin Garden, 85
Bewitching Container Gardens, 89
House-Warding Plant Combinations, 91
6: Moon Gardening, Magick, and Astrological Timing . . . 95
Easy Moon Gardening, 96
Moon Signs Are for Specializing, 98
Moon Signs for Gardening, 100
Four Full Moon Gardening Celebrations, 102
Easy Esbat Mooncakes, 109
Moon Goddesses and Gardening, 110
Magickal Days of the Week and Their Planetary Correspondences, 113
Planetary Correspondences for Backyard Magick, 114
Garden and Moon Lore, 116
7: Faery Magick . . . 119
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 120
Faery Mischief and Graveyard Dirt, 123
Faery Plants and Garden Plans for Sun and Shade, 129
Faery Times and Places, 130
Faery Magick and Kids, 132
Faery Spells, 135
8: Garden Witch Crafts . . . 139
Charm Bags, 140
Dream Pillows, 145
Recipes for Spellbinding Sachets, 146
Yarrow Love Charm, 148
Tussie-Mussie in a Teacup, 149
Bedazzling and Bejeweled Bath Salts, 151
Magickal Herbal Wreaths, 153
A Garden Witch's Book of Shadows, 156
At-a-Glance Plant Correspondences, 158
At-a-Glance List for Crystal and Stone Magick, 159
Magickal Color List, 160
9: Sabbat Celebrations for Families . . . 161
Ostara/Spring Equinox, 166
May Day/Beltane, 169
Midsummer/Summer Solstice, 171
Mabon/Autumnal Equinox, 175
Yule/Winter Solstice, 180
10: Garden Magick from the Ground Up . . . 185
Nature, the Ultimate Sacred Space, 186
Setting Up Your Sacred Space, 188
Blessings for the Garden, 189
How Does Your Magick Garden Grow?, 190
Digging In, 192
Hitting the Books, 193
Creating Your Own Style of Garden Witchery, 195
Circle of the Trees, 196
Writing Your Own Herbal Spells and Charms, 197
Garden Witch Spell Worksheet, 198
Congratulations, You're a Garden Witch, 202
Final Thoughts, 203
gardening journal . . . 205
glossary . . . 237
bibliography . . . 245
index . . . 249
Excerpt: Garden Witchery: Magick from the Ground Up
Who bends a knee where violets grow a hundred secret things shall know.
What Is Garden Witchery?
For some folks, garden witchery conjures up images of lush, enchanted gardens where butterflies dance and children play. Wind chimes sing in the breeze and fountains trickle and splash. In this magickal place, the witch who lives there strolls about under sunny skies or dappled moonlight, gathering plants for her spell work and for their fragrance. Fantasy? No.
All of those things are possible in a city, suburban, or rural yard. The gardens described for you in the introduction are real. I was describing my gardens. Suburban magickal gardens are a reality. You can do it. All it takes is hard work, determination, and time. Let's add two more very important magickal ingredients to this mixture: you and your imagination.
Use yours for a moment to visit me in my magickal gardens. Just come as you are. Let me assure you that I do not waft around the yard in ritual wear. Nor do I expect you to. How will you find me? I can usually be found working in the gardens, toting around a five-gallon bucket full of gardening supplies. I am typically crawling around on my hands and knees, attired in sturdy clothes and sunglasses. Its more than likely Ill either be planting, weeding, or dead-heading the gardens. I'm probably grubby and having a great time. Sorry for the lack of mystique. There is no big drama here. I am a very down-to-earth type of witch. I have often been accused by my friends of being a cross between Martha Stewart and Samantha Stevens. You know, I can live with that.
Come on around back and sit with me under the shade of one of the old maples in the backyard. Let's plop down in the grass and chat. I suppose you have lots of questions . . .
That great big chartreuse plant? That's a Sum and Substance hosta. Yeah, he is a monster. You like the silver gazing globe? Thanks, my kids gave it to me for Mothers Day last year. That fragrance?
Ah . . . what does it smell like to you? Sort of an orange-floral? It could be the monarda, or is that scent you're noticing a captivating combination of soil, sunscreen, and bug spray? Why, that would be me.
So, you're here because you want to learn about magickal gardening? I have plenty to tell and to teach you. But first, Id like you to look me in the eyes. Our eyes meet and hold. I smile and let out a contented sigh, and we both begin to laugh. Now let me see your hands, don't mind any garden soil that is still on mine . . .
I grasp your hands and turn over your palms to give them a steely eyed stare. No, I'm not looking for a green thumb. I'm looking to see if you have an open and loving heart, determination, and strong hands. That's what it takes to be a garden witch. The heart, I am sure, is just fine. As for the hands . . . trust me. If you are seriously determined to get into gardening, you will have those strong, capable hands soon enough.
A garden witch is not unlike a kitchen witch in that they both practice a hearth and home type of magick. However, don't let that fool you into complacency! A kitchen witch or garden witch on their home turf is an awesome magickal force indeed. Stay with me here, we are still talking about an advanced magickal system. Nothing winds me up faster than those who would sneer down at the home based family-oriented type of witches.
Practicing a down-to-earth, practical style of witchcraft is both enjoyable and fulfilling. There is nothing wrong with raising your family and quietly living the natural magician's life. How do you imagine the wise women of old lived? It's a pretty safe bet that they practiced alone and discreetly. (In the old days, it was safer that way.)
The solitary path is one that many modern witches find themselves walking today, some by choice, others by chance. It can be discouraging working by yourself without the benefit of a coven for support and advice. It can also be illuminating to go it alone. Use this time to expand your knowledge and understanding of the earth's magick. Go ahead, get out there in the yard and plant some herbs. Stir up a little herbal magick in the kitchen, its fun! You don't have to have an entourage along to expand your skills. You simply need yourself. Often the most important and powerful magick performed by a witch is done privately.
Some magickal folks hear the words kitchen witch and their brains just shut down. Oh, they might give you a patronizing smile and a pat on the head. Then they'll inform you how they've come a long way from their days of kitchen magick. Don't let them intimidate you.
Growing your own magickal plants and herbs and using them properly becomes a complex part of a major magickal working. It is true that working advanced magick requires more time, study, and effort on your part. That time and effort you put out to elevate your skills is well spent. It separates the novice from the adept practitioner.
Magickal herbalism in itself is considered to be a major magick. Major magick is defined as those that require a higher level of knowledge and expertise. It may take months before your plants are ready to harvest. Magickal herbs have their own energies and correspondences to be considered as well. It requires discipline, patience, and competence to use plant energies effectively. Think about it.
So many witches are in a rush to learn a new spell or a new technique that they often overlook the obvious. Its not about the spells, it's about the magick, your magick. Each person is drawn to a specialty in magick, or a favorite type of magick, if you will something that just clicks for them. For some of us, its herbs and gardening.
If you had to assemble herbs for a healing spell and you wanted a lot of magickal oomph, what do you think would be most likely to deliver it? Some dried lavender that you ordered online? Who knows what sort of chemicals could have been sprayed on the plants? Or how old the herb is? Or how many people handled it?
Instead, consider some homegrown lavender or yarrow that you would have tended yourself. Well take this a step further and add that you harvested in a correct phase of the moon that corresponded with the results you were trying to achieve. Astrological timing plays a large part in garden witchery. These magickal herbs and flowers that you've grown can be further enhanced by the correct use of astrological timing. These will be discussed in detail in chapter 6.
There is nothing quite like making or growing, for that matter a magickal tool yourself. As you know, a self-created magickal tool or object becomes twice as powerful from absorbing the energy that you expended in the making of the item. So the same can be said for cultivating your own magickal flowers and herbs. As you sow, raise, and then harvest your herbs and plants, your energy has seeped into the plant every time you touched it. Now all that energy is waiting to be programmed or released.
Garden witches and natural magicians can be city dwellers working in community gardens as easily as suburban Pagans doing the weekend warrior thing in their backyards. The point is that you will be working in the garden, whether its in pots and window boxes on your balcony, in the backyard, or on the farm. It doesn't matter where. It is the quality of the plants, not the quantity of them, which counts. Connecting with nature is our goal here. Sound good? Great! Roll up your sleeves and get ready to dig in.
Herbs and garden plants play a meaningful part in the folklore and tradition of every culture. Their arcane and phenomenal powers to heal the mind and body fascinate us and confirm human kind's connection to the natural world.
A garden is a place that encourages and lures people to unearth the magick, mystery, and unexpected surprises that nature will reveal to anyone who wants to take a closer look. The garden does and will talk back, teaching us about success as well as failure. What do you imagine you could learn if we were to settle down in the grass, be still, and listen closely to Nature as she teaches us? You would discover many secret things and learn a myriad of valuable lessons. That's a good place to start, just don't stop there. Now, how much more information, do you suppose, would be divined by getting out there and actually getting your hands dirty?
As gardeners, be it magickal or mundane, we cultivate more than just herbs and flowers. We are cultivating a sensitivity and appreciation for the environment. By tapping into the magick of the earth, you increase your abilities and strengthen your magickal expertise. To walk with power means you move in tune with the powers of nature, the powers of the Earth herself. This is a very important step toward becoming a responsible magician and a jubilant guardian of the Earth.
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies, For all their broomsticks and their tears, Their angry tears, are gone.
The Legacy of the Wise women
The history of herbalism begins at the dawn of time, when our earliest ancestors discovered that certain plants had a specific effect on their health and well-being. Other plants were found to comfort, had pleasant aromas, produced a colored dye, or were good to eat. It is no surprise, then, that plants were thought to possess powers either for good or evil, and then became objects of reverence and worship. The trees especially, as they lived for much longer than a single humans life span. Most of the plants that were considered magickal were used for medicine rather than for foodstuff. As magick and faith, biology and medicine, botany and philosophy all initially existed together rather than being thought of as separate sciences, rituals began around the harvesting and use of plants and herbs. To be the most effective they were picked at certain times of the year or prepared during specific cycles of the moon. The custodians of this knowledge were the first witches, the wise women.
The legacy of the wise women instills love and reverence for the Earth. From these lessons we learn the hidden meanings of the folk names of flowers and the legends of the trees, the uses of astrological timing, the portents of nature, and the creatures of the garden.
Traditionally, the witch was a solitary practitioner, a seer and the village wise woman or cunning man. From their modest gardens they produced herbal amulets and charms for the common folk. Local practitioners birthed babies and cast their spells. They whispered herbal treatments to their clients and performed spells for love, healing, prosperity, and an abundant harvest.
How do we know what sort of Craft these wise women practiced? What varieties of plants did they actually grow? There really is no easy answer, but I have a good idea where to look for clues. We must try to find the truth between the much-maligned historical figure of the witch and her modern counterpart of today.
Gothic Plants and Their Magickal Alternatives Historically, witch plants carry a sinister reputation, such as belladonna, foxglove, and deadly nightshade. Hemlock, monkshood, and the yew with its berries are all beautiful plants and all extremely toxic. Unfortunately, witches were often accused of being poisoners. Yikes!
I have read gardening and herb books that only list those types of plants as witch plants. How very narrow-minded and unfair of them. Well, you're thinking, who would grow such plants today? If you walk into your local nursery with a list of plants like that, they are going to get real suspicious. Once I had someone do that to me. After I stopped gaping, I wrote down a reading list for her and then we had a nice little chat (my kids would tell you that means a lecture) about magickal plant alternatives to gothic witch garden plants.
Yes, many common plants and shrubs are poisonous. Some you may not even know or suspect, like azaleas, morning glories, and lily of the valley. If you have children or pets, I urge you to be cautious with your plantings. Do your homework. I contacted the Missouri Botanical Garden for a list of poisonous plants. They sent me their list and a list from the Missouri Poison System. Call the Master Gardeners in your area for advice. Master Gardeners usually are based out of a University Extension Office. These offices operate individually out of their own specific counties. Check the phone book for a University Outreach or Local Extension Office. Ask if they can mail you some information.
Also, in chapter 5, there is a quick index of poisonous garden plants for you to refer to. Tradition and Craft history are fine, but you want to use a big dose of common sense as well. Sure, we all want an ambiance of tradition, and want to know what those old witch gardens were really like. What sort of plants did they contain? Remember those alternatives I mentioned? Believe it or not, we get our answers from those clues at an unlikely source: medieval gardens.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied and luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and eglantine.
Ye Olde Medieval Gardens
Medieval gardens weren't that different from our magickal or mundane gardens of today. Remember that these were working gardens. They fed the family. Fruit trees provided the cherry, pear, plum, and apple, favorite medieval fruits. Vegetables such as beets, radishes, beans, cabbage, and carrots were cultivated.
Herbs such as angelica and lavender were planted for medicinal, aromatic, and seasoning values. Angelica is an archaic and highly aromatic herb that was believed to possess angelic powers and was once worn as an amulet for protection against evil spells. It has the astrological correspondence of the sun. Angelica stems and seeds were used as flavorings, and the stalks were candied and eaten. This plant was also utilized for its aromatic properties derived from its flowers and leaves, both for perfume and potpourri. Magically, you may draw upon the natural energy of angelicas blooms and leaves for healing and protection spells.
Lavender was cultivated not only for scent but for medicine. Its oil is a strong antiseptic with antibacterial properties. It was used to treat all manner of cuts, scrapes, infections, and colds. The scent of lavender has traditionally been employed to help ease headaches and to mask unpleasant odors. Lavender was and still is a popular flower for potpourri and cosmetics. Lavender has the planetary correspondence of Mercury, and it may be worked into any enchantments designed for love, happiness, and peace.
The rose is a symbol of love and of secrets. Traditionally, a white rose has the ruling planet of the moon. A red rose belongs to Jupiter, and a damask rose relates to Venus. In olden times, rose petals were used to treat a plethora of ailments. The petals were added to salads, crystallized, and made into syrup, preserves, and vinegars. The petals were also added to soaps and cosmetics. Rose water was added for flavoring in sauces and sweet dishes. The oil was applied to chapped skin and, of course, for perfumes.
Other common varieties of medieval herbs were mullein, fennel, yarrow, mint, tansy, rosemary, parsley, sage, dill, and thyme, all of which, I am happy to point out, are today used as magickal herbs. Some types of medieval flowers that were (and still are) popular include the iris, lily, poppy, peony, columbine, delphinium, and the violet.
You know the violet, that great little flower that pops up in your lawn and flower beds in the spring? Unfortunately considered a weed today, the violet has the following magickal properties: love, happiness, and faery magick. The sweet violet is a herald of spring and a Venus plant. It has been cultivated for its perfume and color, and is added to cosmetics, drinks, and syrups. To the ancient Greeks, it was a symbol of fertility. Among the more popular perfume scents used in Victorian England, the violet was venerated by the old herbalists, who all spoke with great affection for this beguiling little purplish-blue flower.
Today, you may gather violet blooms, wash them gently, and toss them into salads. Or pat them dry, dip them into fine sugar, and freeze them. They may be used to decorate cakes, or you may put the fresh blooms inside of ice cube trays. Fill them up with water and freeze for a fun way to accent cold drinks at a garden party. Violets are often a child's favorite flower and are worth saving a small section of your garden for.
Take another look at that listing of medieval herbs. Many types of medieval herbs are readily available today as improved modern varieties. So where do you find them? Try checking out a nursery or garden center. It is just that easy. Magickal plants are everywhere.
Garden Witch Magic's
Today, garden witch magic's include working with natural objects such as trees, flowers, plants, stones, and crystals. The garden witch or natural magician lives their lives by celebrating the magick of nature, attuning to the rhythms of the changing seasons, growing their plants and herbs, and giving out magickal advice for specific needs. The garden witch's magickal gifts are handmade and homegrown.
What sort of garden witch skills will you be learning? Why, I thought you'd never ask. Of course well include practical tips for magickal gardening and suggestions for magickal plants. You'll find several lists for enchanted herbs, trees, and flowers that are easy to grow and that you can achieve new-gardener success with, as well as ideas for magickal plants that will thrive in sunny gardens and recommendations for mysterious, bewitching shade gardens.
Well discuss faery magick I want to share some advice and some anecdotes. Well cover astrological timing, a kicked-up variety of color magick, and the language of flowers, including a whole chapter on flower magick. There will be theme gardens for you to sample, such as faery, tussie-mussie, and children's Samhain gardens.
Well want to refresh your understanding of aromatherapy, so you'll find little gems of aromatherapy information sprinkled throughout this book. I want to give you some ideas for witchy-type garden crafts and tools that you can easily make and use, along with houseplant magick and fresh flower spells . . . as a matter of fact, lets get you started right now.
The Magick of House Plants and Fresh Flowers
House plants and fresh flowers perform wonderful magick. Add a little of that old garden witch magick power and ta-da! A potently enchanted present! Among the common house plants that have magickal correlations are the African violet, for spirituality and protection. The spider plant absorbs negativity. Ferns are protective. Ivy is for fidelity and fertility. The aloe plant is lucky and wards off accidents in the home. A ficus tree has many magickal correspondences, including love and good luck, and it guards against your family ever going hungry. (Unless, of course, you have teenagers.)
Perhaps you know of a couple who is trying to conceive. The gift of a blooming cyclamen along with instructions to keep the plant in the bedroom would be very appropriate. Cyclamen promotes fertility, happiness, and lust perfect for the hopeful parents-to-be.
Is a friend suffering through a breakup? A small clay pot that you've planted full of sunny-faced pansies will brighten things up. Pansies are sacred to Cupid and have the folk name of hearts ease they are a sure cure for those that ache through the disappointment of a romance gone sour. You could paint magickal symbols on the container if you like pentacles and yellow crescent moons. Try adding symbols for friendship and healing or, better yet, ones of your own designs.
We all know what the red rose symbolizes: lust, love, and romance. Did you know the magickal correspondences change with the many different colors of the rose? This inventory is adapted from the traditional language of flowers for my own garden witchery. Study this list and see what else you can add to it.
.....: Peace, love, and new beginnings
......: Joy and happiness
......: Vitality and energy
....: Innocent love and friendship
......: Power and passion
.....: Romance and steadfast, mature love
The garden witch utilizes her* knowledge of color magick and magickal aromatherapy in designing spells of her own creation. For instance, giving a few red carnations to a friend who is ill is not only thoughtful, its downright magickal. Why? Red is a healing color and the scent of carnations is an energy booster. Fresh carnations come in a wide variety of colors, are easy to obtain and, most importantly, are an inexpensive magickal flower. Its up to you to decide whether to give the plant or flowers as is and let the natural scent and energy of them do their work, or whether you choose to magickally enhance them. Please remember to make sure the person receiving such an enchanted plant is open to the idea. If you give purposely zapped flowers or plants to a non magickal friend or person that is unknowing and unaware, that's manipulation, folks.
When looking for fresh ingredients for garden witchery, hit your own backyard first. See what you can find. Be creative. The wise women of old, sometimes referred to as hedge witches, utilized the components that were available to them: their gardens and the native plants and trees in the forests around them.
Unlike us, they didn't have access to the wide variety of plants and flowers that we often take for granted. If you don't have a certain plant, perennial, or tree, and its one that you'd like to own, you may find yourself taking a trip to the local nursery or garden center. For fresh flowers out of season, try the florist. Use whatever is available to you and within your budget. You don't have to spend a lot of money to practice garden witchery. The path of the garden witch is a valid one. There is no reason why a sincere, modern practitioner should shy away from it. When all is said and done, a garden witch must be confident in her own abilities and possess a strong link to the earth and divinity. If you want to flex your magickal muscles and learn advanced magickal skills, this could be just what the witch doctor ordered.
* When I say her, it's because I'm writing this book from my perspective no disrespect intended for the guys. Many of the best gardeners that I know are male, like my husband and father-in-law (you should see their vegetable gardens)!
Garden Witchery for Summer and Autumn
Date: 2004-08-16 By: Ellen Dugan
As we roll into the last weeks of summer and anticipate the cooler days of autumn, an amazing amount of natural magick and garden witchery supplies become available to us. These materials can easily be found growing in the backyard Witch's garden, or thriving in pots and containers set around the porch or patio. Magickal plants are much more common than most people realize. Take a closer look at the plants, flowers, and trees in your neighborhood - there is an incredible array of natural supplies that can be incorporated into your own style of garden witchery.
At this time of year, the garden is just starting to wind down from its summer display. The culinary herbs, blooming annuals, sunflowers, black-eyed-Susans, roses, butterfly bushes, and coneflowers are still holding on and will continue to thrive through the hottest days of late summer. In just a few more weeks, the emphasis will shift in the garden, and it begins to look more blowsy, casual, overgrown and wild. In the fall garden, there is a focus on texture - from ornamental grasses to showy seedpods on the faded coneflowers and black-eyed-Susans, which the birds will make good use of. Then, the deeper more jewel-toned colors of the berries, changing foliage, chrysanthemums, and sedum will begin to take center stage.
Why not save yourself some time and money, and take a look at what is available to you in your own backyard? Garden Witchery is fun, and it's a great way to connect to the earth. Plus I'll let you in on a little secret; it's much easier than you think. Put exotic and hard-to-find plants right out of your mind. This type of earthy magick is simple and works with common garden plants, trees, perennials, and annuals. Here is a great example. You know those pots of annuals you've had growing on your porch all summer? Chances are they are filled with flowers you could easily use in earthy spells and charms.
Do you have any geraniums growing out there? You can work with red geraniums for a fast and simple floral spell to promote protection. And while we are on the subject of geraniums, the other different colors of this annual flower have their own magickal correspondences too. For instance, white geraniums will promote fertility. Bright pink geraniums encourage passion and love, and coral ones increase vitality and energy. If you've got a shady spot and have been growing impatiens, (some folks call these flowers Busy Lizzy), add those tender blossoms into spells and charms to help speed things up. The folk name for impatiens is "touch me not" - so handle those blossoms carefully because they bruise easily. Go on, gather a flower or two from the garden and incorporate them into your spell work.
To get you inspired, here is a Garden Witch's list of favorite late summer and autumn bloomers that you can slip in to your seasonal magick and witchery.
Late Summer Flowers
Aster (aster hybrids.) - Also known as Michaelmas daisies, asters come in gorgeous shades of blue, white, pink, and purple. The aster is sacred to most of the Greek pantheon, and attracts butterflies to your yard. According to flower folklore the aster conveys the message of variety, delicacy, and patience. Incorporate asters into spells and charms to enhance loving vibrations and healthy emotions. Adding these beautiful flowers to your garden brings love and contentment to your entire household. The aster prefers a sunny location and likes moist, well-drained soil. USA cold hardiness zones 4-9
Black-eyed-Susans (Rudbeckia) - These drought-tolerant perennials thrive in sunny spots and are a wonderful addition to any garden by providing bold splashes of golden color from summer through fall. In the language of flowers they symbolize justice. So they would be ideal to add to any spells where this was an issue. The seed heads of the black-eyed-Susans are attractive to songbirds, so don't cut these back in the late fall, let the birds have them. USA cold hardiness zones 4-9
Coneflowers (Echinacea) - Purple coneflowers encourage health and will strengthen any spell work. These native flowers are tough and drought tolerant. They attract butterflies into your garden in the summer, and goldfinches to your yard in the fall and winter. Those finches love to snack on the thistles in the cones. When the flower petals whither in the fall, leave the seed heads standing for the birds. Just about the time I think I should cut them back because the flowers have faded, the bright yellow goldfinches find the seed heads. Coneflowers will perform well in full sun to part-shady conditions. (However, the more sun they get, the taller they will grow.) USA cold hardiness zones 3-9.
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) - Incorporate these dusky purple blossoms into charms and spells that call for wisdom and knowledge. This perennial has a wonderful sage scent and the long lasting purple blooms attract pollinators such as the honeybee. The foliage is a bluish-green, and this branching perennial may grow up to 6 feet in height. Russian sage performs well in full sun and is best planted in the back of the border - give it lots of room to grow. USA cold hardiness zone 4-9
Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) - This annual flower has been honored as a symbol of the sun for thousands of years. Magickal uses include, truth, fame, recognition, and granting wishes. Sleeping with a sunflower beneath your pillow will tell you the truth of any matter. The annual sunflower is easy to grow and will require lots of fertilizer, they are heavy feeders. The height of the sunflower will depend on the variety. Anywhere from 2 to 10 feet in height. Sunflowers will not winter over, but save a few of the seeds and plant them next spring if you like. Birds love the sunflower seeds for a snack, so after they fade in late summer/ early autumn, save and dry the seed heads for a winter treat for the birds.
Zinnias - These are easy annuals to grow from seed. These colorful flowers attract lots of butterflies into the late summer sunny garden. In the language of flowers, the zinnia symbolizes faraway friends. A great flower to use in any floral fascination (spells worked with fresh flowers), or spells designed to begin a new friendship or to help cool off feuding friends. Zinnias are available in a rainbow of colors. This makes coordinating your color magick with your flower fascinations a snap.
Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata) - In the language of flowers, the clematis stands for the beauty of the mind and ingenuity. Work a tiny blooming cluster or two this fall into enchantments that call for a little cleverness and resourcefulness. This free-flowering vine blooms in tiny snow-white clusters of fragrant blossoms in the autumn months. The 15-25 foot vines are aggressive and grow quickly, so keep it trained on an arbor or fence. If it starts to get away from you, it can be clipped back to a manageable size in the spring. This plant blooms on new growth, in the fall. USA cold hardiness zones 4-8
Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema hybrids) - These blossoms are affectionately known today as mums. The name of this flower comes from the Greek words chrysos meaning gold, and anthos meaning flower. These golden flowers of the fall are classics for the autumn garden. In ancient times Greeks would wear garlands of chrysanthemums to keep away those dreaded evil spirits. For the modern Garden Witch, the mum is a fabulous, protective fall flower that wards the home and keeps away wandering ghosts. Since they are available in a wide range of jewel-toned colors, you can match the color of the mum to specialize your floral spell work. In the language of flowers, the mum brings cheer, plus the different colors of the chrysanthemum all have specialized meanings. Red mums mean, I love you. White signifies truth, and yellow means happiness. For the other available jewel tones I would go with energy and bounty for the orange mum. A happy hearth and home for the bronze colors. The amethyst-colored mum could be added to spells worked to promote power and protection. The chrysanthemum grows best in full sun, and likes well-drained, rich soil. USA cold hardiness zones 4-9.
Morning Glory (Ipomoea) - The morning glory is an old-fashioned, fall-blooming annual vine. It is available in a wide range of colors from white, pastel shades of pink, and blue to true blue and deep purple. In the language of flowers, the morning glory greets the new day. Also any truly blue flowers are sacred to the goddess Aphrodite. For flower fascinations, use the blue blossoms for love, peace, and for promoting mental health. The morning glory is associated with the planet Saturn, which means that foliage, vines, and blossoms can and be incorporated into protection spells. Try the deeper blue and purple colored varieties to safeguard your home or property. Morning glories grow well in full to part sun. Be sure to keep them well watered during the hot, dog days of late summer.
Pansies (Viola) - These cool-temperature-loving flowers are sacred to Eros/Cupid. Pansies have many folk names including, kiss-me-at-the-garden-gate, love-in-idleness, Johnny jump-ups, and heart's ease. According to legend, the god Eros accidentally shot one of his love-inducing arrows into the pansy, causing it to smile. The happy face of the pansy has been grinning ever since. These sassy, multi-colored flowers are incorporated into garden witchery spells and charms for easing a broken heart and for spreading cheer. Pansies are wonderful in the garden or tucked into pots and containers for seasonal color. If planted in the ground in the fall and then mulched with leaves in early winter, pansies will bloom again the following spring. Here's a fun Garden Witch tip; during the fall months look for the 'Trick or Treat' variety. These pansies are a mixture of orange, black and purple colors, and absolutely enchanting to add to your garden just in time for Halloween/ Samhain.
Pineapple sage (Salvia rutilans) - This tender perennial is a wonderful blooming herb. In the language of flowers, the pineapple sage represents hospitality. So work the scented foliage into charm bags to promote a happy home vibe for your place. This fabulous herb starts out as tiny bedding plant and then grows into shrub size by the autumn months. The pineapple sage's blossoms probably won't appear until after the autumn equinox, but once they do, those red tubular shaped flowers will attract lots of hummingbirds. Pineapple sage is classified as a tender perennial, which means it will not survive most cold winters. However, I feel that the show the hummers put on is well worth the cost of re-planting it each year.
Sedum - One of my favorite varieties of sedum is the Autumn Joy. Folk names for this plant include Betty's bustle, but most folks know this autumn classic as Stonecrop. In the language of flowers, the sedum announces, welcome and tranquility. Incorporate the sedum into charms and spells that encourage a peaceful marriage and happy home. The waxy, succulent looking foliage of the sedum bears clusters of flowers that start out pale green and eventually turn to a rosy pink. Bumblebees and butterflies adore these autumn flowers. As the nights grow colder the flower color will eventually turn to deep mauve and then to burgundy-brown. This plant makes for great architectural interest in a winter garden, when covered in snow or ice. Sedums are very easy to grow, long lived, make great cut flowers, and are drought tolerant. The plant thrives in full sun and grows 18-36 inches in height. USA cold hardiness zones 3-9.
Would you like to learn more about herbalism and the magick of flowers? Well, go outside and get your hands dirty right now! Tie up some pretty flowers and gorgeous foliage into enchanting Tussie-Mussie bouquets. Stuff bewitching flower petals and fragrant herbs into charm bags for protection, love, and prosperity. Oh, and be sure to set some of these enchanting flowers in vases and jars around the house, so their magickal energy is spread throughout your home. Work with fresh flowers and foliage, straight from the garden, and conjure up some seasonal spells and charms of your own design this year. Happy Magickal Gardening!
For more information about flower fascinations, the language of flowers, charm bags, and Tussie-Mussies, and even more garden magick ideas - refer to my book, Garden Witchery: Magick from the Ground Up.
Ellen Dugan, the "Garden Witch", is a psychic-clairvoyant and a practicing Witch for twenty years. Ellen is a Master Gardener and teaches classes on flower folklore and gardening at a community college. She is a regular contributor to Llewellyn's Almanacs, date books, and calendars, and is the author of the following Llewellyn books;
Garden Witchery: Magick from the Ground Up,
Elements of Witchcraft; Natural Magick for Teens
7 Days of Magic: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for the Bewitching Week
Cottage Witchery: Natural Magick for Hearth and Home
Autumn Equinox: The Enchantment of Mabon
Future titles from Ellen include "The Enchanted Cat" (March 2006) and "Herb Magic for Beginners" (May 2006) and "Natural Witchery" (2007). When she's not keeping up with her family (two of the kids are in college now and one is still in high school), Ellen likes to unwind by working in her perennial gardens at home with her husband.
Ellen wholeheartedly encourages folks to personalize their spell craft: to go outside and connect with the spiritual side of nature and get their hands dirty and discover the wonder and magick of natural world that surrounds them.
Garden Witchery is a book you can pick up on a beautiful day, lean against a tree and never put it down. Even of you do not have a single plant of your own you will feel as if not only do you have the largest and fullest garden, but you will know what all of the plants are best used for, and how to nurture them.
Great add to any gardener's library.
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