“Like people, plants respond to extra attention”. H. Peter Loewer
Plants are a much-needed companion in our sacred spaces. It is the fall planting season. When the cool weather brings strong and sometimes soft colors but mainly vibrant and jewel toned. When the planter knows the coming rains will help the plants succeed their first winter in their new home.
Blessings are an ancient and modern way of saying, “a little help here”, “thanks for coming into my space” or “let’s see what we can do together.” There are very formal blessings and just ones of acknowledgement. Some have been written down and passed down, others are made new. As long as there is respect behind the blessing, all will be well. This blog offers planting blessings I have found over the years.
From Native Americans “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”
Ellen Dugan, The Garden Witch, provides us with gardening and faery blessings. From her work the Garden Witchery, Magick from the Ground Up comes A Garden Blessing
Through the seasons of rain, sun, and snow,
May these plants and herbs happily grow.
Winter to spring and summer to fall,
Lord and Lady, bless them one and all.
Another one from Ellen’s book the Cottage Witchery, Natural Magick for Hearth and Home speaks to the trees. While magnolias are the tree listed, this blessing can apply to any tree you wish to commune with. Just exchange magnolia for that tree.
The magnolia brings fortitude and fidelity,
Little tree, send happiness and harmony to me.
Grow strong, straight, and true where you now stand,
Your magick spreads out across my land.
I don’t remember where I found this one but would like to extend many thanks to its author. A tree blessing spell for a new tree. Plant a sapling in spring under a waxing or full Moon using organic fertilizer and a magical stone (quartz crystal or moss agate.) Full moons, such as the one coming up in this fall are an excellent time to plant trees.
“Roots go down, grow deep and wide, anchor firmly side to side.
Trunk go up, grow tall and strong, keeping time to the seasons’ song.
Leaves go out, thick and green, fair as any forest seen!”
Put some fertilizer in the hole as you fill it, and sprinkle more on top.
Set the stone by the trunk as a gift for the tree.
Then cover everything with a layer of mulch.
Thank the sapling for coming to live with you and promise to take care of it.
I’ve studied Celtic mythology and the natural way for many years. One of my instructors, Mara Freeman, Honorary Chief Bard of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, created this blessing for trees.
A nine-fold blessing of the sacred grove
Now be upon all forests of Earth:
For willow of the streams,
Hazel of the rocks,
Alder of the marshes,
Birch of the waterfalls,
Ash of the shade,
Yew of resilience,
Elm of the brae,
Oak of the sun,
And all trees that grow and live and breathe
On hill and brake and glen:
No axe, no saw, no fire shall harm you,
No mind of ownership shall seize you,
No hand of greed or profit claim you,
But grace of the stepping deer among you,
Strength of the running boar beneath you,
Power of the gliding hawk above you.
Deep peace of the running stream through your roots,
Deep peace of the flowering air through your boughs,
Deep peace of the shining stars on your leaves.
That the harp of the woods be heard once more
Throughout the green and living Earth.
And ones I’ve created.
A Planting Blessing
I plant these (seeds/seedlings/plant) with good intentions to help the earth, the neighborhood, and my sacred space.
To bring joy, beauty, and pleasure
To intoxicate the air with soothing fragrances
To stop and mind the morning, mid-day or evening time
To encourage peace in the heart
To teach and observe the wonders of nature dancing the dance of the seasons
A Planting Blessing Two
To the earth I gently place this plant
May your roots grow strong and in companionship
May you inherit the strength you need and share that energy with the space around you
May you feel so loved that you are never without friendship
Thank you in advance for our great journey together
You too can create blessings or a special ritual when planting. All the best as you celebrate this planting time.
One of my tips is to let the plant know it’s in transit when taking it to its new domain. Yes, talking to them helps. On the practical side I like to let the plant sit in water for at least 2 hours before planting. This helps with the stress of transplanting.
I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine, fir, cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets. It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful. Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail. I am happy. Hamlin Garland, 1899.
Firs are part of the part of the Genus Abies (A-bees) and the Family Pinaceae (py-NAY-see-ay). They are fast growing. The number of whorls present determine their age. New ones emerge every year. Cones sit on top of the stems opening to the sun and closing when it rains. Maturing in one season the wind will disperse them in the fall.
Fir Appreciation Day is from an older age and time when nature was part of everyday rituals. When firs grew extensively on this planet, they spoke, cheered, and cried with human and other wildlife populations. A northern forest of firs saw many changes; wars, careless clearcutting, or ignorance of their gifts they provide in sustaining life. Firs were used in every season; lighting spring fires, providing shade for summer where the softest needles made nap taking a must, wood for fall carvings, and leaves, twigs and branches for winter celebrations.
An energetic tree, seek them out when needing a burst of energy. While evergreen all year and celebrated in the 20th and 21st centuries at Christmas, it really is a late spring tree. Symbolic of regeneration and its planetary ruler Pluto. During this time, it grows fast collecting information and messages from other trees. They pass these everyday messages on quickly versus their cousins the sequoias who collect and pass the bigger system messages.
In Siberia, firs are known as The Tree of Woman. Slavic folklore believed these trees to represent the eternity of life and connecting the living and the dead. They offer healing and the ability to protect the household.
Because of their great height firs encourage us, humans to take a long view of ourselves or our questions. Sitting against a fir tree you can feel it dancing. They will heal you sending messages of strength and wisdom. Their triangular shape represents the trinity of the goddess, symbology found in many cultures.
Firs have a long association with Gods and Goddesses. The Greek God Pan was once in love with a nymph called Pity. The North Wind was upset when Pity chose Pan over him. As a result, he killed her. When the north wind blows you can hear her cries. The pitch from the Greek Fir (Abies cephalonica ) are her tears. The Greek Fir became known as Pitys.
From Scandinavian, the Genii of the Forest holds an uprooted Fir. Where firs stand, they create a strong connection with the owner of the land. When struck by lightning and if the fir begins to wither then death is present. The owner will fall and die. When cut down without permission, bad luck will follow.
They will tell you how long you will live. The Silver Fir, Abies alba, is the Birth Tree. Burning the needles at childbirth blesses and protect the mother and baby. One of the gifts of fir trees are to bring knowledge of the present and past lives into daily living. Silver threads help each of us on our spiritual journey and gifts of insight.
Firs are one of the Nine Sacred Woods of the Celts as quoted here Fir does mark the evergreen To represent immortality seen. Tall and slender it represents honesty, truth, and straightforwardness. When found in a group they are a symbol of friendship depicted with through their coloring and lifelong connections to each other.
Grand Firs’ needles are the darkest and shiniest. Abies grandis is well known to the Northwest Native Americans who used its foliage and branches. Branches were used in headdresses and costumes by the Kwakwaka’wakw. Individuals would scrub themselves with branches for purification rites. The Hesquiat (HESS-kwee-at) used branches as incense and decorative clothing for the wolf dancers.
These are some thoughts that might help to understand why Fir Appreciation Day is June 18th. Go visit your local fir tree and introduce yourself. See how it is doing. Ask if you can be of assistance. It may take a couple of visits for it to start sharing. They are a bit shy. Leave an offering if you can or just say thank you for it being present in your life.
A note of clarification and digression the Douglas Fir is not a member of the Genus Abies, while residing in the same Family Pinacea. It a Tree of Strength and carries the symbology of the past and future. This the favorite tree of David Douglas. Botanically called Pseudotsuga menziesii, a member of the Genus Pseudotsuga meaning false hemlock.
Part of this blog comes from the experience of a good friend Flora. Many thanks to her and her knowledge.
This link to the American Conifer Society helps to identify the variety of firs.
Hamlin Garland was an American novelist, poet, essayist, and short story writer. He was a contributor to McClure’s Magazine and the Muckrakers.
David Douglas was a Scottish botanist best known for his exploration of the PNW especially Oregon. He is responsible for the botanical names of many of the native plants found in the PNW.
Whorls occur once a year in the spring resulting in new growth at the tip of the branch. For pruning purposes, cut back to where there is green growth or the last whorl. Firs will not produce latent or dormant buds in the older wood. For more assistant on pruning firs see Plant Amnesty or the University of Idaho Extension Bulletin.
“You might think that after thousands of years of coming up too soon and getting frozen, the crocus family would have had a little sense knocked into it.” Robert Benchley
Croci, plural of crocus, cover the two vibrant and exquisite color seasons of spring and autumn. Spring bloomers are symbols of resurrection and heavenly bliss. Autumn bloomers symbolized the late bloom of nature and its abundant. This small corm originated from many places; Africa, China, Middle East, and southern Europe. Once planted, croci, the plural of crocus, will look after themselves and flower year after year. The leaves look like grass shoots and the entire plant is less than six inches tall. Croci flowers respond to the weather; opening when sensing sunlight and closing when clouds appears. A hardy plant that can withstand icy winds.
For a bit of balance, many of the early word references to crocus are about Crocus savatisu. This is the plant from which saffron is produced. The word crocus is traced to the Hittite azupiru, Aramaic kurkama, kurkum in Arabic and Persian, and karkom in Hebrew. In the Greek language of 14th Century the word is similar to the modern English krokos. In the Latin the word originated from crocatus meaning saffron yellow. Then translated to the British language as croh.
There are three main varieties of croci. The first is the foodie Crocus sativus, Family Iridaceae. Cultivated since 500 BCE (6th century), this hand-harvested spice was once used as collateral for gold and jewelry. Blooming in rich purples with brilliant red threads stretching out of its center, the stamens are processed to produce a shade of color called Royal Yellow. The symbols of wealth, status, and royalty. Minoan woman of the Bronze Age used saffron in cosmetics to produce glowing skin. Both Minoan and Roman women decorated their hair with its flowers. The Egyptians documented its use as a medicinal remedy dating back to 1600 BCE. Sometimes called snow crocus, Crocus savatia has a long and documented history. It blooms between September and October.
In smaller botany circles Crocus savatia is known as the autumn crocus but differs from the second group of the true autumn flowers. Colchicum byzantinum, Family Colchicaceae is known by two other names, meadow saffron or naked ladies. Their genus name Colchi reflects their origins of the Black Sea region of Georgia and their native range of Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. All parts of this Autumn Crocus are poisonous containing a toxic called colchicine. Their blooming time is from September to October.
The third group are the spring bloomers whose common name is Dutch Crocus, Crocus vernus, Family Iridaceae. Originally found in Eastern Europe, western Russia and native to the Pyrenees, Alps, and Carpathians Mountains. In 1579 another member, the Yellow Crocus, Crocus flavus discovered in northwestern Turkey and the Balkans. Crocus flavus grows well underneath the Black Walnut tree, Juglans nigra. Dutch Crocus bloom from March to April.
This is the variety that pops up through the snow, cold rains, and explodes forth in sunlight. A herald of spring, they are often referred to as the light bulb flower with the way their petals unfurl as the light filters through them. Each stem bears a single cup-shaped, six-petaled flower with three stamens.
It is this spring bloomer that carry messages of rebirth, youthfulness, and cheerfulness. Their meaning goes on to symbolize nature’s awakening in a show of floral revitalization and heavenly bliss. Croci are about the glee associated with youth. They seek to uplift the spirit and joyfully herald the return of spring.
Croci have been documented in spring celebrations dating back to 2000 BCE. Carved on slabs found in Hattusa (modern Boga Zkale, Turkey) when the Hittite’s ruled the area. The Ottoman Turks celebrated them in the Festival of Hidrellez on May 6th. A time of celebrating spring, the unity of nature and the beginning of summer. Croci corms combined with wheat made a pilaf that was served for the festivals. The Celts celebrated them during Imbolc and the Germanic tribes at the time of the Goddess Ostara.
Spring blooming crocus are in the domain of the Greek Goddesses Venus, Eos, Persephone, and Aphrodite.
Crocus were important to the Ariadne, the Goddess of Vegetation on Crete and Thera (modern day Santorini). She was the daughter of King Minos of Crete and the wife of the God Dionysus. Reborn every year, she is found in mosaics as the Crocus Goddess, carrying a large basket of blooms. She is surrounded by young girls wearing saffron-colored dresses and young boys as they are initiated into adulthood. The blooming crocus represents joy, renewal of life, blossoming of youth, and beauty.
As Greek mythology evolved, the Goddess Hecate oversaw croci and young girls as they transition to adults. She is the Goddess of Witchcraft and the Moon and guardian of the household. The girls gather blooms as an offering to Hecate.
The Greeks tell us the story of the crocus through a young noble named Crocus and Smilax. She was a shepherdess. They fell in love and the gods forbade their marriage. Crocus kills himself from deep sorrow. Smilax learning of his death was heart-broken and despondent. The Goddess Flora understanding their pain turned them into plants; Crocus became the flower and Smilax a vine. They are united again in woven garlands and used in wedding decorations. The golden fiber (stamens) of the saffron crocus are used to weave the two plants together symbolizing love. The red thread (stigma) is the flower of the crocus.
In another story Crocus is a shepherd and Similax a nymph. They anger the Gods on their union and turned Crocus into a flower and Smilax into Bindweed. Yet another adaptation, Crocus is the companion of the God Hermes. He is accidentally killed during a game of discus. In his sorrow, Hermes transforms Crocus to the flower.
Croci plays a role in romance. We can give credit to the Romans incorporating crocus as a symbol of Valentine day. The first written Valentine comes from the story of Valentinus, a Roman physician. Using his skills with natural remedies and prayer, he found himself jailed during the reign of Claudius II. Valentinus was placed in jail where his previous patient was the jailer’s daughter. His last act before his execution was to help the daughter recover her vision. He sent a yellow crocus with a message signed “from your Valentine”. February 14, 270 BCE.
The fragrance of this lovely bloom is thought to inspire love and even believed to bloom at midnight on Valentine’s Day. An aphrodisiac, the Romans devised a mister to apply to guests as they entered banquets. In India petals are lay on the wedding bed signifying the couple will have a good, solid, and loving relationship.
Victorians associated the croci with the sun. In the language of flowers, they used it to mean cheerfulness and mirth. It is a perfect gift for someone who needs a bit of energy and positive energy in their life. The flower is a symbol of happiness and a reminder of walking through forests when young.
Croci is the perfect flower for spring bouquets, a gift between friends or birthdays. The flowers can be found in shades of orange, purple, white and yellow. Purple represents success, pride, and dignity. This color is a symbol of royalty and nobility. It can be a perfect gift for someone who exhibits these traits. White is a symbol of purity, truth, and innocence. Used in wedding decorations. Yellow is cheerfulness and joy.
Some general pieces of information on croci. Squirrels like to eat the corms. They are pollinated by multiple types of insects; bees, moths, and beetles. Ruled by the element water and the planets Mercury and Venus. The crocus is number seven in numerology representing knowledge and awareness. Their bright and playful colors make them perfect flowers for backyards and gardens.
A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower. Marianne Williamson
Tulips are the symbol of paradise on earth. A simple and graceful design though modern tulips can be quite frilly or have massive blooms. Originally found in the Persia empire near Pamir and Tan Shan mountains (Afghanistan and Kazakhstan) and Turkey. The word tulips are from the Persian word for turban, dulband. It refers to their resemblance to turbans as they bloom. Men wore the fresh blooms in their turbans denoting prosperity or as a charm to fight evil.
The Ottomans Turks were enamored with tulips, cultivating them since the 13th century. Tulips were celebrated in religious and secular poems and art pieces as a reminder of heaven and eternal life. Suleiman the Magnificent through his friendship with the Holy Roman ambassador Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq help the tulip travel to Europe in the 16th Century. The ambassador was visiting Suleiman to aid in the peace process with Austria. Tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils captivated him, and he carried tulips to Augsburg where in 1559, the first tulip bloomed. As with other cultures, the tulip captivated statesmen and scholars.
It was this exchange with the ambassador that found the tulip passing into the Dutch culture where they its cultivation to a new level. In the 17th century the economy became mad with tulips creating its currency on their growth and breeding. Single bulbs would control the fortune of the merchants. They became the symbol of the wealthy and were seen as pots of gold. As values increase land was traded, fortunes lost, and the economy of Holland faltered. Two interesting reads about this time of Dutch history sometimes refers to as Tulip Mania are The Tulip by Anna Pavord and, Tulipmania, Money, Honor and Knowledge by Anne Goldgar.
The Dutch economy recovered, and they are now the number one growers of tulips. The ups and downs of Tulipmania led to another meaning that life can be brief. They are the national flower of the Netherlands. Tulip season begins when the City of Amsterdam celebrates National Tulip Day in January.
The colors and styles of tulips are as vast as their meanings. They are a sweet blossom connected to happiness and peace. A classic flower of love. Being one of the first flowers to bloom they can mean rebirth and have come to mean the heralds of spring. Victorians would use them to send messages of charity and supporting the less fortunate. They are the third’s most known flower after the rose and chrysanthemum.
The blooms are cup shape surrounded by showy petals. Centers can be dark or light, providing a contrast to the petals meaning a broken or light-heart. Larger petals symbolize fame and showiness. The mosaic virus when found in tulips make the petals brighter and more interesting.
In a bouquet, tulips can be used to express to the receiver that they are elegance and graceful. They can mean forgotten or neglected love. Indulgence. Daintiness. Tulips are symbolic of hope and faith, ideas, and the quest for perfection. Another sign of spring indicating a fresh start, new beginnings, or eternal love. Bouquet of bright red tulips speaks to passion and perfect love. Use tulips to celebrate the 11th wedding anniversary expressing devotion and love. Variegated tulips in a bunch mean I think your eyes are beautiful.
If you are wanting to send specific message use the below as a guideline.
Crème tells your partner that love is eternal and expresses commitment.
Orange is a striking color signifying happiness but can mean energy, warmth, enthusiasm, and desire. This color likes to say get on with it.
Pink symbolize happiness and confidence. It is a color of less intensity that speaks of affection and love. This color contains many meanings; pride and love, contentment, inner happiness, or friendship. A great choice for friends and family.
Purple represents royalty and a regal nature. Abundance and prosperity. Loyalty to others or material wealth.
Red is the symbol for perfect love and sign of everlasting love. Or undying passionate love, whether the passion is spurned or returned. Tales from Persian and Turkish legends tell us of the love between Farhad and Shirin. In one story, Farhad was a prince who fell in love with a beautiful girl named Shirin. She is murdered and, in his despair, rides his horse off a cliff. A red tulip grew where his blood touched the ground. In another Shirin is the royal and Farhad is the commoner. She rejects him and he goes to the hills to play music. She hears the music and falls in love with him. Her father creates a challenge for him to build a canal. As he is finishing the canal, her father tells Shirin that Farhad has died. She goes to be with him and together their blood becomes red tulips.
Red tulips with velvety black centers represent a lover’s heart, darkened by the heat of passion. In a myth from medieval times a woman was proposed to by three knights, each one declaring their love. She could not decide whom to choose. Praying to the Goddess of Flowers she transforms into a red tulip.
Yellow means eternal love, a cheery disposition, or cheerful thoughts. A flower with a sweet charm to express simple joy. The color of unrequited or spurned love. Sending a yellow tulip to someone means you love them, but you know they don’t return your feelings.
There are over 3000 different varieties of tulips. They are in the Genus Tulip, Family Liliaceae along with lilies and onions. The bulbs are starchy and caloric. These qualities helped in times of starvation and food shortages. It was not unusual for Roman soldiers to eat the bulbs. The tulip crash in the Netherland led once again to it as a food source. World War II saw the bulbs as part of the food stream as the Dutch went through yet another famine. Tulip petals can be used in several dishes.
Carrying tulip petals in your pocket brings good luck. Pixies live in the tulip beds in the Netherlands.
Tulips vibrate to the number six, an expression of charms and lovability. Six represents energy of responsibility, gratitude, and conscientious action. It blends and harmonizes its surroundings. A flower with a big heart vibrating at a level where is part of the picture, not center stage.
Old House Garden describes this broken tulip as sunrise in slow motion, opening with baby-smooth, pale yellow petals feathered with rose, and then day by day transforms itself into a big, ruffled flower of creamy white flamed with purple.
Grow tulips in your sacred space. They bring peace to the home. When you can, wear a boutonniere or give a tussie-mussie for prosperity and protection. The lipsticks of the garden, tulips bring the finishing touch to the spring bloomers as summer approaches.
Daffodils are an old plant. They are part of the genus Narcissus. The Greeks and Romans saw the wild daffodil, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, as part of a death triad. Tulips and asphodel completed the triad. Daffodils and asphodel contain crystals of calcium oxalate. This is the compound that kills other flowers when placed in a vase together. Asphodel roots and tulip bulbs are edible and during times of starvation they became part of the food source.
The Greeks felt the asphodel and wild daffodil blossoms were the same. The popular English names of Daffodowndilly, Daffodily Affodily are a corruption of the word asphodel. Robert Herrick in his poem the Hesperides connected asphodel to death. Planted near Greek tombs, asphodel and daffodils were interpret as portents of death. This association with death led to one meaning, delusive hope.
Narcissus poeticus, is one of the oldest cultivated daffodils with its pheasant’s-eye center. Known as the poet’s daffodil or narcissus. It is the daffodil that tells the story of Narcissus, a young Greek whose vanity and careless heart become his undoing. His exceptional beauty led to many stories. He refused all offers of those interested in him. The Goddess Nemesis caused him to fall in love with his own reflection. His vanity of watching himself every day caused him to waste away. In another ending he drowns after searching in vain for the lover in the pool. Which was his own reflection. Echo the nymph contributes to the tale of love and broken hearts. In all myths Narcissus rejects her. Hera punishes Echo for keeping her distracted while her husband Zeus was with his many lovers. Her punishment was that she could only repeat what others said to her. Narcissus found her after this event. The Roman writer Ovid tells us she is heartbroken after declaring her love to Narcissus. Once rejected, she goes into a cave, waste away, and leaves only her voice. Is this where our modern-day practice of echoing comes from when we step in a cave or on a mountain top?
A completely different story of spring and winter tells us how daffodils drew the Goddess Persephone away from her companions. In the Homeric Hymns written by Ovid, she is in a meadow gathering spring flowers of roses, crocuses, violets, irises, lilies, and larkspur. Enchanted by the bright, yellow flowers produced by Gaia the Earth she wandered over to pick them. The God Hades seized her and carried her to the underworld to be his bride.
Socrates called the daffodil, the Chaplet of the infernal Gods. Daffodil bulbs have a narcotic effect. When applied to open wounds it produces staggering, numbness of the whole nervous system and paralysis of the heart. Once called the chalice flower because of its cup shape bloom. During medieval times if you gazed on a daffodil and it drooped, it was an omen of impending death.
The Romans brought daffodils to England and so did new meanings. For a general bouquet include them when you are sending messages of regard, gallantry, or admiration. For the most part daffodils are uplifting, hopeful, and joyful. Always give in bunches. A single is bad luck, but a group ensures happiness. A flower of spring its symbolism is new beginnings, rebirth, and remembrance. When sending with romantic thoughts you are telling the receiver that your love is unequalled, you are the only one, or the sun shines when I am with you.
Daffodils continued their travels and developed more meanings in many cultures. In China, they mean good fortune. A symbol that has become so appreciated for its ability to bring forth positive things. It is one of the official flowers for the Chinese New year. In Japan it is mirth and joyousness. If you are lucky enough to find the first daffodil in Wales, they will blessed you with more gold than silver in the coming year. Arabian countries use the daffodil as an aphrodisiac and cure for baldness. Daffodils are the flowers for March. Place them in bouquets for the 10th wedding anniversary. Or bouquets of creativity and inspiration, renewal and vitality, awareness and reflection.
Mars rules the yellow daffodils. The element Water rules all daffodils.
Today there are countless varieties of daffodils. When designed astutely you can have quite the show with members of the genus Narcissus. Look for early, mid, and late bloomers to enchant your sacred space. They do well in containers, in the ground and some will can be forced for indoor.
A double, variety unknown
Sources for bulbs
My local co-op has a great grower with out of the norm varieties
*I use many references in my work. This section is only an indication of where I found unique information.