Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Vodou Garden Redux

Summer is coming and that brings me around to thinking about plants, herbs, alchemy and elixirs. It's not a lack of things to do - it's the rhythm of the land. The ground feels alive beneath my feet and I want to dig in, to get dirt beneath my nails, and make time with the devas. Mind you, I am not about horticulture, manicured lawns and things all neat and pretty. No, my gardens are wild, barely tamed and hardly within their perimeters. I revel in big, blowzy plants that take over the fences and trees. We lost a lot material from the winter, so I have been haunting garden centers for replacements.

The mugwort came back in a ferocious way - it's waist high in front bed.  We lost all the wormwood, so I had to plant anew. It's beginning to settle in, though I won't have much to harvest this year. The Lovage is as tall as me and twice as wide. It's dominating the cooking herb beds at the moment. And I just found my precious Dittany of Crete on online. Gonna give it another go round.

I planted my sole Calea Zachatechichi, hoping it will do it's usual habit of turning into a big tree. And the Salvia is doing fine. I finally hit on a solution to keep it happy - basically growing it hydroponically. It's big and thriving - I have never had this plant do this before.

The Dutchman's Pipe (on the left here) is outside, turning green. And even the Mapous survived their indoor stint - they flank the front door, and are beginning to groove on the weather - rain overnight followed by warm sunny days. I hope they will bloom big this year. They are easily three inches around and eight feet tall. I had to top them last year due to blight. Hoping that pruning will lead to a bigger canopy this year.

I went back over my planting plan - I didn't actually get too far last year. Here's my picks for this year:

Moon (Water): Chamomile, Poppies, Mugwort, Orris Root. This year, I need to add Chamomile.
Sun (Fire): Bay, Hops, Hibiscus. NO wonder I am so drawn to the hibiscus plants at the garden center - I need one!
Mercury (Air): Cinquefoil, Damiana, Fennel, Lavendar. Can't find cinquefoil (its wild anyway). I will find Damiana.
Venus (Air): Angelica, Feverfew, Passionflower, Pennyroyal, Vervain, Spearmint. Got them all.
Earth (Earth): Patchouli, Sage, Spikenard, Vetiver. No spikenard to be found in Pennsylvania. I think it's a zone thing.
Mars (Fire): Bloodroot, Cardamon, Coriander, Dittany of Crete, Wormwood. Covered.
Jupiter (Earth): Hyssop, Valerian. Valerian I am leery of, only because it stinks. It stinks so bad, even when you walk by it, it smells like dirty feet. The fresh root is really strong - but it's a great skunk repellent.
Saturn (Earth): Fumitory, Mandrake, Monkshood, Solomon's Seal. Would love to plant fumitory all along the fence line. Still looking.

So I am a true Mars girl - I have all of the martian plants except Bloodroot, and even then I have it dried in the apothecary cabinet. Hmmm....I better print this out and carry with me, so when I swerve into garden centers on a whim, I have a method to my madness here.

One plant that has been doing exceptionally well are my mandrakes. No, not Mayapples - real Mandrakes. They have warty, twisted thick roots that look like a human body. They'd make Harry Potter's Professor Pomfrey proud.  I have White, Finnish and European Blue. They are producing serious amounts of leaves at the moment. I believe they need to be four years old before flowers begin. But they survived indoors for the winter, and are now languishing on the screen porch, soaking up the sun and rain. I have high hopes for those bad boys.

All this is to say that come August, I expect a bumper crop of crazy plants for Vision Quest. Once we are past Kanzo, I will have time to dedicate to the plants. I am currently writing the next class on service styles for the Vodou. That one will be followed up by the Herbal book. Stay tuned ~

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