I always hated flower photography. Then I saw the floral art of British artist Cate Davies. She turned my head around. We equate flower photography with guys in safari vests sporting huge zoom lenses, stalking the local gardens. Or the garden club member who just got a new macro lens for their … [Read more...] about The dark beauty of botanicals … haunting flora in fine art prints by Cate Davies
Witch's Garden Feature
Welcome to a guide to magick herbs and herbalism – witchy plants, white and dark, potions and poisons for the cauldron, as well as goodies for kitchen witches
The Witch’s Garden is a guide to the old ways, old magick and herbal medicine. Learn more about the gardening and gathering practices of our ancestors, be them the wise or cunning women of Europe, or early settlers and Native Americans of the American continent. And follow along with our own zone seven witch’s garden, as I try to nurse a collection of witchy plants through the year.
A notebook of thoughts, ideas, experiments failed and successful in growing a witch’s garden. Since witches are often nocturnal creatures, we also go into moon gardens, and a fair amount of cottage gardening as well.
See what’s blooming in the witch’s garden. Photos and dates for a witch, moon or cottage garden in the U.S. Zone 6
An incomplete as hell herbalist, the science and folklore of the plants, how to grow, how to serve to cure or to kill. Company can be so bothersome, but sure, come in and have a nice cup of tea?
Cowslip is staple of British folklore, herbalism and literature ... And I serve the Fairy Queen To dew her orbs upon the green. The cowslips tall her pensioners be. In their gold coats spots you see; Those be rubies, fairy favours; In those freckles live their savours. I must go seek … [Read more...] about Celebrating the Cowslip on May Day morning in the witch’s garden
You can't overestimate the importance of bees in a witch's garden, for our stinging friends help to pollinate. Just behind them in usefulness in this task are butterflies, and to attract both, plant a bit of Cleome in your herb garden. Additionally, many beekeepers love Cleome as it is an … [Read more...] about Cleome Serrulata: A Native American addition to the witch’s garden and table, and a friend to bees and butterflies
Top: Meadowsweet, right, growing along a path by the river Avon, Barton Country Farm, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. I have a soft spot for Meadowsweet. Standing in a field of it along the river Avon one July some years ago, trying to rekindle a dying love, I do believe it showed that there is more … [Read more...] about From the witch’s garden, Meadowsweet, a love potion as well as a balm for aching hearts
Top: Poppy Field by Cate Davies. Click here to view larger or purchase a print. I’m standing in the Tate Gallery, years ago, staring at the painting by Sir John Everett Millais of Ophelia. I know the story, and the story of the model, Elizabeth Siddal. It was the Pre-Raphelite movement in painting, … [Read more...] about Laudanum from the Witch’s Garden: The opiate that drove the romantic poets to enlightenment and insanity
Top: The last rose of the season Dear H., It’s time again, to start putting away the garden for winter. It’s been a couple of months since you left, and I thought you’d like to see how things turned out. The kid and I were in a shop and came upon Halloween decorations. There was a skull that … [Read more...] about A last look around the moon garden and the witch’s garden before the autumn’s chill does its work
Dear H., We are creatures of the night, are we not? It’s like the song says, “the days are okay and the sun can be fun but I live, to see those rays, slip away.” A moon garden is a spot where we can watch as these spirits come to life in our own little corner of the world. Spring, summer, fall … [Read more...] about Why a moon garden?
I admit I had doubts it would do it. The USDA lists our plant hardiness zone as 6b, which isn't exactly this plant's natural habitat. But it did it. There was a single bloom which last four or five days, and as it was dying off the whole trees burst into bloom. The first bloom would wilt during … [Read more...] about Why a moon garden #3: Brugmansia tree bursts into bloom and lights up the moon garden
Dear H., I was sitting in the garden part of the garden this evening, and I remembered I had a couple of these little bottles of absinthe. It was getting late and I was feeling tired. The absinthe reminded me of you, and how at a moment like that we’d come alive. Those were some of our most … [Read more...] about The Witch’s Garden reborn: Taming the feral beast for a new spring
In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.” Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary Belladonna has such a lovely name, that it comes as a surprise to the origins of the plant. Typically, the berries of the Belladonna … [Read more...] about Atropa Belladonna: From Witch’s flying potions, to the beauty of the women of Venice, to death from the sweet berries of deadly nightshade
And where the marjoram once, and sage, and rue, And balm, and mint, with curl'd-leaf parsley grew, And double marigolds, and silver thyme, And pumpkins 'neath the window climb; And where I often, when a child, for hours Tried through the pales to get the tempting flowers, As lady's laces, … [Read more...] about Tanacetum vulgare: Once a necessity for British gardens, Tansy has been used for abortions as well as immortality, and goes good with eggs
No more a rake and no more a bachelor I was wedded and it whetted my thirst Until her womb start spilling out babies Only then did I reckon my curse First came Eziah with his crinkled little fingers Then came Charlotte and that wretched girl Dawn Ugly Myfanwy died on delivery Mercifully … [Read more...] about Foxglove digitalis: From witches’ thimbles to witch’s hats, a flower to lure fairies and whose magic in folklore brings both life and death