The key to the future of the world lies in gardening. To witness change and growth, evolution and the cycles of nature is a true miracle and a great joy. It is the primary activity that connects us with Mother Earth.
Growing a garden is so empowering, just through the process of planting a seed, watching it grow, tending it, and eventually seeing the fruits of your labors. No matter who you are, it makes you richer and gives a deeper understanding of all the cycles of the universe and our relationship with them. We need to grow gardens and help others to do the same.
Each of us is responsible for working with our planet’s unique and beautiful diversity for future generations. As a Hedge Witch, this mean taking individual action to preserve the wealth of knowledge regarding magical herbs, and medicinal and food plants, as well as the wild species. Remember, we are all connected.
As native Beings succumb to human impact, plants are becoming extinct at an unprecedented level. It is estimated that up to 15% of all plant species face extinction by the middle of the 21st century and dozens of animal species are going extinct every day.
Look at your land. What is there? What is missing? How is your ecosystem? Is there habitat and food for the birds, bees, and butterflies? Plant diversity is vital to ensure the future of our food supply. Think of biodiversity as a bank of genetic material that can be worked with by us and future generations to improve crop yields and adapt to changing environmental conditions without devastating the soil with monoculture plantings.
Reduced genetic diversity is what caused the Irish potato feminine of the mid-nineteenth century. Only a few types of potatoes were grown, and those were not genetically different. When potato blight wiped out the entire crop, up to a million people died and another million had to emigrate or risk starvation.
Humans and their impact are largely responsible for the loss of biodiversity. Scientists estimate that between 150 to 200 species of plants, insects, birds, and mammals go extinct each day. Most ecologists believe that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. We need to focus on biodiversity and growing food for all life in order to save the ones we can.
In your plan to plant, include food and habitat for the birds and pollinator plants for the bees and butterflies. Trees and shrubs (and a variety of them) are a great place to start. There are thousands of species to choose from.
We need a plan—a strategic plan to plant with biodiversity in mind no matter what or where we’re planting. And to grow our own food with other species in mind. We don't live alone on this planet. So, what do we do?
1. Cultivate a sense of place
When we cultivate a sense of place and know the land we live with, it will be less work for us, cost less to produce abundance, and rejuvenate the soil and local ecosystem. It will also provide a sense of belonging. We'll know the trees, herbs, food, and medicinal plants in our local area. We'll know when the weather is changing by the signs that nature provides. Connect to your land in all ways to cultivate a sense of place.
Sit silently and observe your land, even if it is a balcony. How does the sunlight hit the balcony? Does it get water?
Thoroughly research the plants that you would like in your garden. What family do they belong to? Are there other species that will do better in your climate?
Talk to the plants, get to know them on a spiritual level as well.
2. Nourish the soil
The soil is a living, breathing being on this planet. In one tablespoon of soil, there is more life than there are people on Earth. Growing soil is the answer to creating a regenerative food system. Soil on a forest floor loses less than 2% of nutrients annually, while fertilized agricultural land loses 25-60%. The food we eat that is grown on this agricultural land does not provide nutrients for the smaller ecosystems, especially the one you see in the mirror. The future of Earth begins in the soil. It is the foundation and easy to create if you work within Mother Earth's natural systems. 3. Companion planting
Plants need companions to thrive, just like we do. Look at a forest. A tree does not stand alone. There are shrubs, small trees, flowers, grasses, vines, and root crops. We must plant like nature. In plant communities, plants support and help each other. Scientists have found that plants communicate and interact with each other above and below ground. Plant communication is extremely complex. They warn each other of attacks, alert each other to dangerous pathogens and impending drought, recognize relations, and adapt to the information received from the plants around them. Plants can “talk” in several different ways: via airborne chemicals, soluble compounds exchanged by roots and networks of threadlike fungi, and perhaps even ultrasonic sounds.
Witches are turning to their gardens
I believe garden witches are the future. We are actively creating biodiversity, soil, and magic, not to escape from reality, but to closely observe it. As we do this, we'll experience a connectedness with Mother Earth and all creation. This will bring us the profound feeling of belonging that we all crave.
Our homes and backyards will play a very important role in preserving biodiversity. We need to plant, grow, and care for as many different kinds of plants as possible. Our life depends on it. Mother Earth depends on it.
Do what you can to preserve and share heirloom seeds and your knowledge of how to grow them. It’s scary when certain heirloom herbs, food, and medicinal cultivars are losing favor with seed companies. Get your hands on the seeds—heirloom and rare seeds—the ones that have grown for thousands of years.
Teach your children to grow plants. Playing video games won't feed them in the future and food doesn't magically appear at the grocery store.
Support community and school gardening programs.
Plant wherever there is space—on our decks, in the backyard, greenhouses, containers, and even window boxes.
With more than seven billion people living on the Earth and using HER resources, the days of plenty are numbered. Regeneration, restoration and resting the Earth's resources is this witch's plan and focus. Look to Mother Earth for inspiration. SHE has the answers you need.