Gardening is inherently a witchy act. Connecting with the land, encouraging dormant seeds to life, and tending to the green world is everyday magic in its most raw form. If you have a strong bond with your garden, and want to cultivate it in a spiritual way, look no further. We have several suggestions on how you can create the witch’s garden of your dreams.
What Makes a Garden or Gardener Witchy?
When you garden, you bring extra life force to the area around your home. You help to create food for pollinators, which in turn allow us to grow food. You also provide homes for garden helpers like toads, snakes, and spiders, as well as fairies and garden gnomes. If you grow edible plants for yourself, then you care for your body—your temple—by feeding it healthy and nourishing plants.
Should you wish to heighten all of these already beneficial properties, then you might think about creating a witch’s garden. But what exactly makes a garden witchy? In my opinion, any garden created by a witch, or that which is created with the intention of using the plants for any type of healing or spell work, is a witch’s garden… even if it’s full of vegetables.
Medicinal herbs and health-promoting flowers are a perfect addition to a witch’s garden, but aren’t absolutely necessary. It’s more about the intention than the actual plants. That said, in this article we’ll talk about several different ways to add some striking visuals, as well as point out several plant varieties that would suit this type of garden well.
As always, start by sketching a rough garden design. Base this on your ideas of what you want your witch’s garden to look like, and what kind of plants you want to grow.
Just like every other kind of garden design, I always recommend focusing on plants that you enjoy, and will use. Don’t just choose plants because they’re “witchy”. Choose plants that you naturally connect with, use regularly, or are interested in developing a relationship with. You’re putting time, money, and energy into this endeavor, so invest in plants that are your true allies.
Another general rule is to position plants of like heights next to each other. If you’re thinking of incorporating poisonous plants into your garden (we’ll discuss those further down), be sure to designate a separate area for them that’s safe from children and pets. We don’t want any accidental poisonings!
When I think of my perfect witch’s garden, it’s a small plot of land right outside the door of a forest cottage. It has plants that produce and bloom all year round. In functionality it’s much like a potager garden; a design that’s not only practical, but also beautiful and ornamental.
My witch’s garden would also have a lot of whimsical aspects, including statuary. I’d include my beloved toadstools, chimes, and even fairy lights in the trees surrounding it. I would also set up a table and chairs, so I could spend time writing in my garden, or sharing a meal with family and friends.
Many spiritual gardens pay special attention to shape and layout. Some are cultivated in the shape of a circle, or crescent moon. I also like the idea of incorporating an herb spiral—maybe as a focal point.
2. Focal Point
A focal point is a “must have” in every garden. Statuary is a nice idea: you could choose a Green Man, a gargoyle guardian, or add an water element by putting in a small fountain or pond. Maybe set up a little bird bath surrounded by rocks, and nectar-filled flowers. This creates a little oasis for pollinators, many of which need the sun’s warmth to keep their little bodies going. Be sure to add some salted sponges, and put out some overripe fruit so they can recharge.
Pathways are an important element as well. In a witch’s garden it is nice to make them visually stunning by using stepping-stones or bricks. Paint symbols like runes or sigils on the stones, or connect with the earth element and create functional, compostable, and cost effective-pathways. Do this by putting down layers of cardboard and newspapers, with a nice layer of mulch on top.
It’s a nice idea to have the pathways meander through your garden, so you can meditate as you walk.
4. What to Plant
When deciding what to plant, research your gardening zone: this will help you determine which plants grow well in your area. Take into account the amount of sunlight your garden receives. Most herbs, flowers and vegetables require at least 6 hours of full sun a day, but others do well in partial shade. Make sure you understand your land, and what will grow best there. The best witch’s garden is one that’s thriving, and is in accordance and harmony with the lay of the land.
Think about some witchy color schemes, and incorporate some black and purple plants. Helleborus, Physocarpus opulifolius “Diabolo”, Black Laced Primroses, or Black Beauty elderberry are great additions. Black roses and hollyhocks are also common plants in a witch’s garden. If you live in a tropical zone, consider adding Tacca bat flower (Tacca chantieri). This exotic flower looks just like a bat in flight.
Don’t forget to add some dark-colored edibles to the garden, too. Purple vegetables are wonderful to incorporate, as are dark leafy greens, black tomatoes, and blue pumpkins.
Another idea is to add several varieties of night-blooming flowers that aren’t only ghostly white, but also fragrant. Aim for moonflowers, night-blooming jasmine, Nicotiana alata, and datura. Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumpet is a small tree with large hanging flowers that only open for a week at a time in conjunction with the full moon.
Most witchy gardens incorporate herbs. Again, think about plants you already use, and enjoy. If you like brewing your own tea blends, be sure to incorporate chamomile, roses, nettles, and lavender. Do you prefer multipurpose kitchen herbs that are also used in spell work? Consider adding sage, rosemary, and thyme. Like the folk song.
Should you wish to incorporate some witchy-sounding herbs, try mugwort, snakeweed, or butcher’s broom. If you need more inspiration for what kinds of herbs to grow, check out these herbs, and their magical correspondences.
It’s always nice to add beautiful flowers to a witch’s garden, including some edibles. I have a love affair with roses, and love to use their petals in my kitchen witchery. They’re invaluable to any sort of garden, really, and all rose petals are edible. For a witch’s garden try some of the older varieties which smell fantastic.
Other nice edible flower varieties include violets, and saffron crocuses. Add some snapdragons too: not only do they have a mythic connotation in their name, but when dried, they look like little skulls.
8. Poisonous Plants
There are some beautiful flowers that are also highly poisonous, like monkshood, foxglove, belladonna/nightshade, and datura/devil’s trumpet. These are usually associated with spellwork, but they shouldn’t be planted unless you have special interest in them, and I don’t recommend planting them if you have children and/or pets. You may also need to check local regulations to see if there are any legal issues involved with growing them.
If planting both edible witchy herbs and poisonous plants, please ensure that the edibles are clearly separated from the toxic ones, and are labeled to avoid any unfortunate outcome.
There are many trees that have magical properties, like apples, hazels and rowans. Definitely consider growing some as well. They provide a wonderful border, and many produce delicious edibles, too!
10. Gardening With the Moon
Many people like to plant and garden by the phases of the moon. Even the Farmer’s Almanac recommends it, and this is a really nice way to maintain a witch’s garden.
Here are some general tips:
- Always plant during the new or waxing moon phase.
- Plant trees during the waning moon, as they are perennials and must develop strong roots to remain alive.
- Flowers, or those herbs specifically valued for their blossoms, like lavender or chamomile are best planted during the waxing moon.
- Harvest medicinal roots during the dark (new) moon, as they’re most potent at this time.
Consult an astrological almanac to find the phases of the moon and associated daily astronomical signs.
11. Ritually Prepare the Soil
When planting a witch’s garden—especially when getting ready to harvest—it’s important to do it with the intention of giving back. One of the ways to do that is to prepare the soil with some compost, or well-rotted organic material. In this way, you give the plants what they need first, so they can give you what you need in return.
To solidify this harmonious relationship, you can carve the rune Gebo, which looks like an X, into garden beds or decorative pots. Gebo symbolizes gifts and the law of reciprocation. Then ask the land, and spirits of the land for their blessing on your new venture.
Remember to fertilize your garden with organic fertilizers every couple of months. I like to use fish emulsion: it’s stinky but plants love it, and you’ll love how it helps your garden grow!
Decorations are a nice touch as well. As I mentioned above, my perfect witch’s garden would have lots of whimsical elements. You might like strategically placing glow-in-the-dark orbs, lanterns, or chimes in yours. I also like the idea of stringing small twinkling lights in the trees or shrubs.
It’s also a nice idea to create an altar with a meditative space as well. This can be something as simple as a couple of nice rocks: one for the altar, and one to sit on. Or, you can make it elaborate with outdoor furniture. In one of my gardens, I planted an area with flowers and herbs that reminded me of my ancestors. Some were associated with specific people (their favorite flower or herb) and others with my heritage, like globe thistles for my Scottish roots.
13. Rain Barrel
It’s nice to have a rain barrel near the garden for watering purposes. Every full moon, be sure to pull a large bucket full of water out, and let it charge in the moonlight. Then you can use it as part of a daily ritual practice (see below). Learn how to set up and use a rain barrel, here.
14. Protect Your Garden
Doing a protection ritual around your garden is an important step. I did a protection ritual twice a year around my garden and homestead, and even though we lived in an area over run with deer, full of coyotes, and with a resident bear in the woods that my neighbors saw often, none of them ever disturbed my plants or livestock.
My ritual was a simple one, using salt water and a birch twig with leaves. I usually performed this ritual at Mabon, or the Autumn Equinox, and again at Imbolc. The Autumn Equinox marks the time when those of us in colder climates begin to spend more time indoors. It’s a good time to re-establish positive energy, and dispel any stagnant or negative energy that may have accumulated.
It’s the reverse at Imbolc, which is when the earth begins to stir in anticipation of spring. I would dip my birch branch in salt water, and then use it as a wand to sprinkle the water as I walked. This created a boundary around the homestead as a whole, then also around the gardens, and outbuildings, and then our house.
15. Land Spirits
The spirits of the land—known to some as wights, to others as fairies or gnomes—are important to remember when tending your witch’s garden. I tend to view the spirits of the land in distinct groups, but won’t go into that cosmology here. Suffice it to say, when these beings are remembered and tended in addition to the garden, your plants will thrive.
That’s why I build fairy houses, and set toadstools out in my various gardens to let the little folk and other spirits know they’re welcome. I often leave offerings of cream, honey, or shining shimmering objects, like the twinkling fairy lights or glow-in-the-dark orbs. This is to thank them for keeping my plants disease-free, and safe from the harm of natural disasters like hail, windstorms, and the like.
16. Rituals for your Witch’s Garden
Your witch’s garden should be a magically charged place. You’ve created it with intention, augmented and ritually charged the soil the plants grow in, and asked for the blessings of the land and its spirits.
Therefore, your garden is the perfect place to perform any kind of ritual, especially if you’ve set up an altar and meditation space.
Each day, go out and survey your space. Touch the plants and see that they’re free of disease or harmful pests. Thank them for keeping you and your family nourished and cared for. Close your eyes and literally smell the roses and other aromatic plants.
If you’re harvesting plants, thank the plants before you take them. Do so again when you use them for their final purpose, whether it’s spell work, cooking, or creating a home herbal apothecary.
Once a month, after the night of the full moon, water your garden with the charged moon water. Your plants receive the moon’s energy on a daily basis, but the roots don’t get a direct hit. By watering them with full moon-charged water, they’ll take in that increasing energy to promote them to act in kind.