As we’ve passed the midsummer mark, maybe it’s time to mention how much I’ve enjoyed being able to pick from my own garden or the woods the items I need for not only cooking but also for rituals. Anything you can make or harvest yourself is far more meaningful just because of the process of growing or making it.
One thing that did work out was the herb garden we started in Missouri. It started out as a mass of horse manure surrounded by native rocks, that Grenwinae shaped into a spiral to surprise me. We mixed 1/4 sand with 1/4 pea gravel to 1/4 garden soil and 1/4 horse compost.
At that point we put in some plants:
and this is how it is looking now:
I was really surprised at how easy this was and how well our first attempt went. If you want to make your own herbs for magick and/or cooking (which is another type of magic) do consider making your own garden! Because herbs like little water and a well drained soil it’s easier to figure out how much to give them and for them to recover from mistakes.
My favorite herb book to get started is Your Backyard Herb Garden by Miranda Smith.
Angelica (2014 first year) ~ because of the many, powerful uses for this plant, I’ll be looking into growing it next summer.
Anise Hyssop ~ P, FS, Moist WD. Purple blue spikes of flowers. This was a tall plant – needs to be at the back, preferably against a fence or wall. It also likes to grow in clumps and will spread. Full sun. Cold hardy to -30 F. Drought tolerant. Attracts Bees, Ladybugs and repels Cabbage Moth. Known to North American Indians, it is a prairie plant and a member of the mint family.
Uses: Sweet, spicy flower for teas, salads and drinks. Can be used in breads and cookies. Medicinal tea for digestive against bloating and for respiratory issues such as colds and coughing. Desired flower for potpourri. Some magical uses are detailed here.
Basil ~ A, FS, Moist. After cold weather, dies. Blanche before freezing; freeze before summer ends. Pesto. Flavored Oil. Repels many flying insects. East Indian Basil (tomatoes and curries, clove like aroma); Genovese particularly good in pesto. Repels Rabbits. Basil can be easily preserved by freezing or drying methods. You can also store the leaves in salt for preservation or make a pesto and freeze it in an ice cube tray for later use.
Basil has a long history of being used for magic – for exorcism, protection, love, luck and money. Carry to move forward, even if you are surrounded by danger. Wear to attract prosperity and wealth.
Bee Balm (Bergamot) ~ P, PS to FS, Moist. Salads and teas, taste like mints with citrus undertone. Enhances growth of tomatoes and peppers, attracts hummingbirds. This is a very tall plant and I think we needed to trim it back. Beautiful flowers which we dried this year. Grenwinae cut it down last week and made a tincture for later use.
Magickal uses state it’s very powerful in attracting prosperity. Burn during your ritual to increase power. Tied to Mercury and Air.
Catmint ~ P, FS. WD. Related to catmint. Wants water. Seeds itself. Flat spreader. The kitties loved this and you can use like catnip in toys for your feline friends. Magickal: Of course, an offering to any cat deity or feline assistant. Attracts good spirits and luck; use in sleep sachets and mix with dried rose petals or buds.
Chamomile (2014 first year) ~ Another lovely plant that seems to have many uses so I’ll be seeing if I can’t grow some next year.
Chives ~ P, FS, Moist WD. Use in vinegars for light onion flavor. Friendly to good insects. Don’t feed to Chickens as it flavors the eggs. Once chives bloom it can change the plants’ flavor; some use the flowers and others use it before the flowers. Research to know what you want to do. Magickal uses are for protection and weight loss.
Dill (2014 first year) ~a pretty easy plant to grow with some magickal uses as well as for cooking.
Elderflower (2014 first year) ~ We planted this bush in Missouri, so I’ll see if I can grow it in Oklahoma where it is a lot hotter.
Lavender – P, FS WD. Insect repellant. South side of vegetable garden with Rosemary. Likes alkaline soil, concrete or lyme around it. For my area look for grouping three cultivars: Hidcote, Munstead and Lavender Lady.
Magickal uses: love, healing, sleep, purification, and peace. Sleep pillows or burn he flowers to promote sleep. Love sachets to attract men.
Lemon Balm ~ P, FS to PS. WD. Tolerates FS. Attracts bees. Self sows. Chicken and Fish dishes. Uses in Magick: healing and peace, calms emotional disturbances, aids spiritual or psychic development.
Lemon Verbena (2014 first year) ~ another one to look into for next summer.
Marjoram, sweet ~P, FS. Light dry WD soil. Helps vegetables. Sweeter version of Oregano. Try adding it to bath water for energizing effect. Repels Rabbits. Magickal uses: dream pillows, home protection spells, love drawing and money success.
Oregano ~ P, FS. WD. companion plant. Flavored Oil. Repels Rabbits. Joy, strength and added vitality.
Rosemary ~ P (winter indoors), FS. Very WD. Low maintenance. Bees love it. Western boundary of plot. Flavored Oil. In my growing zone, Rosemary doesn’t winter over. Wants extremely well drained soil. Associated with fairies and many magickal uses.
Sage ~ P, FS to PS. WD. Salvia Officinalis Repels carrot flies and cabbage moths. Flavored Oil. Be aware that here I am talking about the sage you grow for kitchen and cooking use. There are two families used in cooking and healing: salvia and artemisia for cooking and healing; Asteracea is from a different family.
Savory, Summer ~ A, FS. WD. Good for flavored vinegars. Repels Rabbits. If you are really into cooking, definitely check out the Savory’s and can be used in place of Sage when cooking.
Savory, Winter ~ P, FS. WD. Good for interesting flavor in vinegars. Great for crab. Repels Rabbits. Winter is a bit more bitter than Summer in taste.
Tarragon, French ~ P, FS to PS. WD. French preferred for cooking. Herbed Vinegars (licorice flavors) and Flavored Oil. No Russian Tarragon. Repels Rabbits. Magickal uses, healing, compassion and consecration.
Thyme ~ P, FS WD sow spring and autumn, good companion plant repels cabbage moths. Likes rocky soil. Flavored Oil. Try in bathwater. Attracts love, prosperity, purification, good health and dream pillows.
FS= Full Sun
PS= Partial Shade
WD= Well drained