I’ve always wanted a garden with a spiral path, and I’ve always wanted a “moon garden” of all white flowers. Last June 1st, I broke the ground for my dream, and it’s been a labour of love since.
On the last day of March 2014, a very dear friend and her family were in a horrible car accident, and her beautiful, happy, sweet, and beloved six year old daughter was killed. It is the nightmare every parent fears most. After some weeks of feeling drained, powerless, and heartbroken, I decided I needed an outlet for it – I needed to do something.
I am a firm believer in dirt therapy. Just the act of touching soil, I believe, relieves pain, heartache, and sadness. Contact with the earth drains negative emotions from your body. I also believe in the therapeutic power of good old fashioned work. So, I sketched my garden, laid out the perimeter, then my husband helped me strip the sod away from the spot under the trees where I envisioned my garden. For weeks, I toiled away, sometimes nine hours a day. Under a layer of about four inches of soil, was nothing but rock – someone must have used rock to fill in a swampy or low spot in the yard at one point. I dug all the flower beds down about ten inches – all the rocks I pulled from the soil were used to define the edges of the walkway.
The earth absorbed my tears, sweat, and blood. I cried for dear Synia, I cried for my friend, I cried for my children who were grieving a friend as well. I cried for all mothers who have lost their children. At the time, my own son had made the decision to live with his father instead of with me, and I was feeling my own loss of a child – not the same loss as my friend had gone through, but still loss. I poured all of that into the soil, let Her take it all away.
By the time that the garden was ready for planting, my pain had been transformed. It was still there, but it had been blunted, dulled, and a sense of light and peace had begun to settle in my heart. Gardening, especially from seed, is such an inherently hopeful act. I had started a ton of seeds inside, and also had a smaller herb garden in another part of my yard, and so I transplanted all the seedlings and herbs into the new garden. With each plant I placed in the earth, I planted my love and gratitude. I placed crystals in most of the holes I dug to receive roots as a way to give back something to the Earth that had taken away my pain. The lower spiral part of the garden was planted with all edible and medicinal herbs, and the upper part of the garden under the apple tree was planted with all white flowering plants – my moon garden.
My daughter and I had a lot of fun choosing beach stones for the walkway. We took the truck to a local beach and spent hours making pictures with the rocks, then brought them back and laid them on a thick layer of cedar mulch in the paths. Also since, every time I hike on the shore I bring home a chunk of agate, quartz, jasper, or amethyst to line the paths with.
The altar was built just this spring from some large chunks of basalt gathered from the shore, topped with a large pentagonal slab of the stone. From the center of the garden, standing at the altar, I measured out a circle, and marked the four directions with special stones and solar lights. Vigils on the summer and winter solstices showed me where to mark the spots where the sun rises on those two days.
The garden is, as all gardens are, a work in progress. I have plans to expand it. This summer I’m working on making a nicer “sitting spot” near by. I’d like a small fire pit somewhere near and some type of a water feature to bring in a few more elements. It is a place of refuge, of solace, of magick.
In my garden (this year… some annuals may change from year to year):
Trees: apple, flowering crabapple, tamarack, maple
Shrubs: white and purple lilacs, forsythia
Herbs and Flowers: shasta daisies, impatiens, snowdrops, tulips, narcissus, white bleeding hearts, pansies, echinacea, lemon balm, mint, oreganos, thymes, sages, lavenders, strawberries, borage, calendula, summer savory, bee balm, anise hyssop, white peony, parsley, malva, chamomile, St. John’s wort, purple fern, poppies, heliotrope