The Hearth Keeper’s Magical Garden

The Hearth Keeper’s Magical Garden

“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.” 

~ Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Why have a magical garden?

If you like adding magic and intention to your homemaking craft, such as:

  • You like to cook with fresh, seasonal, organic, nutrient dense foods;
  • You would like to create botanical cleaning supplies;
  • You do rituals or magic with plants; and/or…
  • You like to decorate with flowers and other forms of nature

There is a lot of value in having plants available in your own gardening space.

You can control over the growing process and any chemicals used, and potentially save money by growing your own ingredients. It’s convenient to be able to go to the yard for a few ingredients. Deciding on a whim to toss a bay leaf and herbs in a pot of water. Then run out again when you decide some chives would be a great addition.

Availability

There’s no need to plan for these ingredients and make extra store trips. Then to try to keep them fresh, tossing out any that spoil. Most of them can be left on the plant until you’re ready to use them. This is perfect for me because I like to be flexible with what I’m making. It’s not practical to purchase massive amounts of everything for just-in-case.

Abundance

I’m also able to use far more, which packs some extra nutritional value and flavor into the food I make. If I were purchasing all these ingredients at the store, I’d likely use them more sparingly. I’d definitely be less likely to use them in boiling water when that water will be poured out. When I have an abundance of herbs in my yard, I feel free to add them to every layer of what I’m cooking.

Convenience

Whatever doesn’t get used, it can stay outside on the plants for the wildlife to enjoy. The bees and hummingbirds love when my thyme and chives go to flower. It’s important to me that my plants aren’t a source of guilt. Some days call for foraging and extra kitchen magic. Other days it’s an act of love to keep things simple.

Give offerings to the pollinators, the earth, and other nature

A pollinator enjoying one of my beautiful Yarrow flowers. Yarrow also has medicinal properties.

That brings up another excellent reason to keep a garden. You get to become a part of helping the pollinators. You can give to the earth rather than only consuming from it.

Why is it good to have a pollinator garden?

Pollinators are important managers in the ecosystem. They help the food and flowers to grow. A lot of people know that bees and butterflies are pollinators, even hummingbirds. A lot are surprised to know that flies, moths, beetles and bats are also pollinators. I’m not trying to attract flies, they are like my nemesis.

Loss of habitat is a real issue for pollinators. Urban development and agriculture are a couple big causes, and pesticides and pollution, and the native vs non-native competition. Humans have been hard on all of nature, and we’ve done a lot of damage for pollinators. Monarch butterfly population is declining and they may be added to the endangered species list soon.

What can you offer the pollinators?

What they need is native plants and flowers that provide nectar. Pollinators are very habitat specific, so choosing native plants can be vital to their survival. They also need habitats the keep them protected from the elements, and healthy sources of water. You can add sticks and stones to a birdbath. Then the bees have a safe landing place to get a drink.

In the front yard can get some attention

Placing your garden in the front yard can inspire others think about how they might work with nature, too. Check with your local extension office for programs to earn a sign proclaiming yours is a wildlife-friendly, pollinator, or native yard.

It’s a fun and beneficial goal that, if it motivates others, broadens your reach. I know it has the potential to do so because I got the idea from one of my neighbor’s yards!

I’ve been hearing of people in HOAs, with strict rules about what they can do in their front yards, taking up the cause and winning permission for their entire neighborhood to do some front yard gardening. Even if you don’t succeed in your neighborhood, using your voice may have at least planted a seed. If a bunch of us do it, they will start sprouting.

Some peppers growing with my pollinators (including plenty of Dandelions!) in raised beds made with drift wood we’ve collected from the beach. I enjoy a wild look to my yard 🙂

Keeping a garden can be an art form. It might be seen by more people in the front, but you can us the back yard, side yard, patio, or even window.

Mend the hurting soil

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”

― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

You might choose to grow traditional food gardens, but they don’t need to be placed in uniform rows in a tilled garden. In fact, taking a rototiller to your garden can do damage to your soil and the ecosystem in it, and planting the same plant together in rows is a missed opportunity for the alchemy of companion planting.

If you live in an urban area, it’s very likely the soil is damaged and low in nutrients (1). If you want to mend your little section of earth, no-dig methods and deep mulching are a couple ways you can add organic matter and increase the health of your soil. Healthier soil will increase the nutrients in the food you grow, which is unfortunately depleted in the produce we get at the grocery store (2).

Raised beds are also a great way to introduce fertile soil to your yard. I’ve been making some raised beds along my pathways with large pieces of driftwood from our beach trips. We also have some wooden ones, some made up of cinder blocks, bricks… you can get really creative, just think of what you could use to hold up the soil. You can even use straw bales.

The alchemy and beauty of companion plant combinations

Did you know planting basil with your tomatoes will improve their flavor? It also helps the plant grow more vigorously. Instead of rows, you can place plants strategically as part of your landscape design. You can get creative with combinations that look good, as well as work well as plant companions.

Kale makes a beautiful addition to your edges, and zucchini or other melons have a unique sprawling look…and they take up enough space to keep the weeds down. Just be mindful not to stick your different kinds of melons too close together if they will cross-pollinate. I’ve created some strange melons that weren’t too lovely to eat.

My front door garden as of July, 2022. Stay tuned as this area grows and flourishes! I’ve got bay leaf, lemon thyme, pineapple sage, garlic chives, basil, raspberries, a strawberry tower (that’s at the end of its season here), and several other treasures. I don’t get too carried away removing dandelions. They are such a treasure for the bees. I also didn’t try to spruce it up before the picture, as I want to be real with you. It’s not about perfection.

If you do decide to stick with the traditional till method of gardening, consider using crop covers in between growing seasons to add nutrients back into your soil. My favorite is Crimson Clover. It is magically beautiful, the bees just love it, and the clover can be used in many ways—medicinally, magically, and even in food. The clover brings nutrients back into the soil. If you till, till it right back in to get the maximum benefit.

Level-up your food

Such an inspiring photo from Photostock

If you haven’t used flowers in your food, I highly recommend giving it a try. A salad is far more enchanting when it is filled with colorful flowers.

Nasturtiums a favorite of mine for this reason, and I love how they spill over the edges of beds and even climb up trellises. They make great companion plants, too, often drawing what would be a pest away from your crops. Last year my nasturtiums were stunning. This year they look a little ratty and eaten up, but that’s because they’ve been called to duty.

You are far more likely to add creative touches, like flowers and chives to your food if you have them growing all over your yard. Just make sure you properly identify them so you don’t inadvertently poison yourself!

Some fun things to forage for in your yard are garlic-scapes (the green part of the garlic plant, and harvesting them will improve the quality of garlic you’ll get), Mint, Dandelion, Burdock, Plantain, Rose Hips, Dead Nettle… I could probably go on for awhile, so perhaps that will be another post one day.

As mentioned above, growing your own food in healthy soil will increase the nutritional value, and the flavor you get from garden fresh produce is beyond comparison to most of what you’ll find at the store. I add vinegar and salt to my store-bought tomatoes to try to make them taste real. It still comes nowhere near what they taste like from my yard.

Grow your medicine

For medicinal purposes, I like to keep Mullein and Comfrey in my yard. They are some of my biggest go-to plants. I am not an herbalist or a doctor, and these are not FDA approved claims… but I find Mullein to be great for respiratory issues and ear infections; and Comfrey, also known as Bone-Mender, excellent for rapid injury healing.

You’ll want to do some good research before choosing to use, or especially consume these plants. It’s always advisable to talk to your doctor first and not just listen to someone like me. If you skip that step, you do so at your own risk. I like to share what I do and cool information I find, but I am in no way an expert.

Dandelions are often seen as a weed, but they have incredible medicinal value and are one of the first sources of food for pollinators. Some other great medicinals include calendula, mint, echinacea, St. John’s Wort, rosemary, lavender, yarrow, chamomile… this is another list I could probably keep going on and on with.

Consider keeping plants in the mint family in planters, as they spread and take over rapidly. I like to keep multiple types of mint in planters at my front door. I planted Lemon Balm directly into the ground, but I have a very large yard and don’t mind if it gets a little wild.

You can keep things growing to make jelly, jam, tinctures, and salves. Lavender is one I commonly use, as is Chamomile, Calendula, Poppies, Rose Hips, and Rose petals.

Magic

If you’re using an ingredient with magical protection properties in your house cleaning because you find it has power, imagine how much more powerful it will be if you also start that ingredient yourself from seed, and then lovingly nurture it and form a relationship with it before you work with it.

You can speak your intentions into your seeds. Show gratitude to your plants and ask permission before taking from them. You can find magical ways to nurture them. I sometimes talk to my plants about what we are doing…such as that I’m taking some of their leaves to help a friend heal their lungs after Covid.

You can use your plants to smoke cleanse your rooms, or make a simmer pot to add intention as well as a pleasing aroma to your space. Homemade candles, including spell candles, can contain plant matter. You can also create sprays with intentional properties, and even combine them with other ingredients so that they double as your household cleaners.

Be a magical host

You can place plants in meaningful places. A lot of people believe in placing Rosemary at entrances and gates for protection, and Lilac to clear away negative energy. I love having Lilac on either side of my front door and knowing it greets my guests before I do.

Offer your guests some lavender lemonade on your patio while taking in the scent of your fragrant, climbing roses.

You can also place sprigs of herbs around your house to freshen things up and add a beautiful touch of nature. These herbs can be used for their magical properties if you use some intention. Another great idea is to add essential oils in various places, such as inside toilet paper rolls and the toilet tank, on dryer balls, on curtains, and under pillows… but you may still like to “garnish” it with a sprig of the plant, itself.

Add special touches to your home and gifts for your friends

We can’t forget the charming soft touches to our homes. Growing your own flowers gives you access to so many beautiful flower arrangements and other decorative nature pieces for your home.

One of my favorite things, after cleaning an area of my house until it sparkles (or good enough), is to add a vase of flowers or other forms of wildlife to the space. It elevates the room and brings joy. It also says “I love you” to my family and home, and reduces the chances that clutter will be placed in those decorated areas.

You can also make wreaths. You can make usable herb wreaths for your kitchen. Lavender wreaths are lovely, and people appreciate them as gifts. Wreaths of Holly or fir branches are festive during the winter months. You’ll have plenty of seasonal wildlife for your mantle, altar, and to gift to your friends. Consider growing mini-pumpkins and colorful corn for autumn decorating.

Being able to gather things on a whim is excellent if you love to make beautiful care packages and gifts for friends. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store, but I love the abundance of growing them in my yard. There’s some for all the rooms, and plenty to share with friends, too.

Home freshening and other household uses

I mentioned above that you can add plants to your cleaning supplies. I also mentioned magic. If you are a believer in magic, it can open up the opportunity for more fun and give more meaning to the process of cleaning.

If you don’t believe in magic, but you think pretending would make things a little more fun, I say go for it. Be like a child. Anything to take some of the boredom of those repetitive tasks away.

You can freshen a room with a bowl of salt and add rose petals and lavender buds or float some flowers in a bowl of water to draw negative energy out of the room. You can make room sprays using herbs, flowers, and oils. Windows… the eyes of your home, can be washed with a solution of vinegar, water, and you can add a sprig of fresh Rosemary for protection.

Sprinkle dried herbs on your floor before you sweep them up… the herbs you use can draw in or out energies and offer different intents, depending on which ones you use. I like to add salt or baking soda to the mixture. This also helps my ADHD brain when sweeping, as I can more easily see the goal and tell if I’ve missed a spot.

Then follow with a magical wash using essential oils or other ingredients of your choice. You can even use moon charged water for a special touch. Growing plants in your own garden space increases the chances of having an abundance of them at your finger tips, so you’ll be free to go wild.

A garden is beneficial to a magical hearth-keeper

Growing things brings abundance. If you’d like to be able to forage your yard for supplies, food and treasures, starting a garden is something that can bring you a lot of joy. Even if you only start in a window or patio garden, any little bit that you grow can be very rewarding and useful.

Do you have a garden space? What ways does it benefit you?



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Discover more from The Enchanted Hearth

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Verified by MonsterInsights