A recent post by Dana at The Druid’s Garden on the Principles of Sacred Gardening got me itching to get out into the garden, get my hands in the dirt and start planting things!
Alas, this weekend’s rather got away from me, and while I may get some things done today it won’t be as much as I’d hoped, but that’s OK. It allows for thinking time, time to plan what to grow, and where.
The first thing I’m planning, as I wrote in a previous post, is to turn the lawn into something both more beautiful and more useful. A good sized mix of meadow flower seeds ought to do the trick, liberally scattered over the whole lawn (once I’ve gone up and down with a fork to pierce plenty of seed-holes of course). Is anything better than a flower and grass meadow swaying gently in a Summer breeze? Better for wildlife than a close-cropped monoculuture, that’s for sure!
My priority for the garden this year is wildlife. That means thinking about what I plant, and just as importantly, thinking about what I “weed”. Wildflowers, dandelions, nettles, may look untidy but they are incredibly helpful for wild creatures from small insects to birds, and goodness knows wildlife needs all the help it can get at the moment.
When planting, choosing native plants where possible is a good bet. They will take less looking after, being adapted to the soil and climate of a region, and be familiar to local creatures. Look for a variety of plants which flower at different times, creating a year-round buffet for bees and other pollinators.
As well as planting, I’m thinking about habitat creation too. There’s already a small pond (which to be fair could do with some work after the winter), and a “frogitat” for frogs as well as a hedgerow with log piles, a compost heap and a “hogitat” for hedgehogs (frog and hog homes both bought from the RSPB), but there could be more. Using old bamboo canes, wooden branches fallen over winter, pinecones and boxes can create an “insect hotel” for bugs and minibeasts. Nesting boxes fixed to trees and tied securely in hedgerows can be home for many of our favourite garden birds.
The other thing I want to work on more this year is veggies. Now, there’s no way the garden is big enough to sustain a self-sufficient lifestyle, even if the whole thing were to be turned over to intensive crop-growing, but even just growing some veg in pots helps to create a connection with the food on your plate, the earth it grew from and the processes of sun and rain that make it possible. A crunchy carrot or juicy tomato from the garden always tastes better than a supermarket one, and it’s better for the environment too!
I work a busy full time job and often have to do all the week’s chores at the weekend, leaving me precious little time for just relaxing and enjoying life. So I want, and need, a garden that takes minimal effort. A big set-up one weekend in Spring, a similar tidy up one weekend in Autumn, and a few minor tweaks here and there throughout the year to cut stuff back, plant new stuff, and keep it watered.
The point of a garden for me is not to have one more thing to work on; the point is to bring nature close to home, to create a little wild space on your doorstep, a small sanctuary, a re-sanctified spot for meditation, ritual, and simple enjoyment.
I do a lot of my Druidry in my head, but the sounds and smells of Spring in the air remind me that writing about Druidry is not Druidry. Reading about Druidry is not Druidry. Getting your hands in the earth, connecting with the nwyfre of the land, under the open sky with the song of birds as chorus; that is Druidry.