A Witches’ Garden
After a couple of false starts and one fatal climatic bitch slap from Nature to remind me who is really in charge here, those seedlings who have survived are either in pots or in the ground, and are looking reasonably content.
I am inviting some old friends from the sinistral branches of the plant family back into my living space – my beloved Solanaceae among them: Hyoscyamus, (in Manx, lus ny meisht, one of my favourite Gaelic plant names), Dwale, (lus ny h-oidhche), Daturas of temperate and tropical inclinations; as well as some of the brighter magickal plants: Borago, (borraigh), and most welcome, Verbena off., (vervine). Vervine, if you have not encountered it, is a plant of entirely unassuming appearance. Neither great in stature, nor showy in flower or leaf or fruit, the plant nonetheless projects a palpable aura of power, an intelligence which has entranced me since childhood. It has been many years since I have grown this holy plant, for blessing and protection. It will bloom from now until its guardian star, Sirius, appears in the sky.
The Mandragores, sadly, have been slow to adapt to our new abode. Persistent infestations of aphids throughout the winter have taxed our resources, and adding insult to injury, those aphids which fed on them with impunity absorbed sufficient amounts of their poisons to kill any of the natural predators which I introduced into their growing area. Outdoors now, Nature is balancing out the situation and hopefully the plants will achieve sufficient vigour to bloom this year. All have been moved into long pots, and will provide roots for the making of flying ointments this fall.
In the course of my practice since moving here nine months ago, I have wandered the woods and fields around my home and encountered an abundance of flora for magick and for medicinal use. I will collect Spruce tips and Gale, (lus roddagagh), for beer brewing in the week to come, Meadowsweet for flavouring mead later in the summer, Lus y chiolg for the Sun, and Bollan feaill-eoin for the Moon. I will also be brewing braggot, an old beverage of fermented malt and honey, in a trial of the recipe I plan to brew this autumn for Sauin, using henbane seeds. It was this recipe, and the scarcity of henbane seed, that kindled the urge to order and plant seeds this spring.