When you are designing your healing garden, make sure you add your own personality into the design. A great way to do this is to add “found art” or “l’objet bizarre”. You may choose to purchase a stunning sculpture or artwork and position it as a focal point in your garden. Or you can tap into your creative side and “magic” up a quirky object to bring a smile to your visitors’ faces. A whimsical creation can speak volumes about your hidden talents, your sense of humor and irony, and yes, even about your outlook on life…
If your creative inspiration escapes you, just look online and search for “recycled art” or “DIY garden art” for ideas.
In my healing garden I have used a favourite method of re-purposing plant pots to great a simple water basin or birdbath (see below).
Turn plant pots into a water basin
If you have a grapevine to prune yearly, see if you can weave your magic with the vine tendrils. You may save in pruning disposal costs and you might create something useful. I have used grape vine prunings to make an intriguing hanging vine sphere to hang from my pergola. I have recently fashioned vines together with bamboo prunings to make my first bean wigwam of the season.
Vine sphere ready for hanging, and a bean climbing frame
If you are really crafty you could make a simple wire-work faux cage (see below) in which to put a small plant. If you are imaginative you might see the potential in a junkyard find. This rusty tin and wire obelisk (below) used to be a material covered floor lamp. Have fun with your creativity!
Since ancient times, water has been the source of deep, spiritual meanings in traditional gardens. Water was seen as a feminine symbol – life giving, fertile, changing and mysterious. References to Mother Rain, the Sacred Well, mermaids and nymphs allude to the feminine nature of water.
Christian symbols of water include “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” and “a living water fountain”. Medieval monastaries often included a fountain or a wellhead at the centre of the cloister garden.
Ancient Persian gardens were dependent on water for their very existence in the desert environment. The Persian garden represented Paradise on Earth, and featured four water channels leading to a central basin. Later Islamic gardens followed this design and included fountains, pools and channels. According to the Quran “every living thing is made of water” and refers to water as symbolic of life, purification and sustainability.
Zen Buddhist gardens use water to represent how the universe changes but always stays the same. Correct placement of streams are believed to carry away evil. Water may be included as a reflection pond in a large Zen garden, or as a stone basin in an enclosed courtyard garden. Water is often represented by raked sand or a rock cascade in a “dry garden”.
You can include water in your own healing garden in a number of ways:
Even in a small healing garden you can include a bowl of water to use as a reflecting pool. Below is an image of a glazed pot of clear water in my healing garden. The clouds are reflected among the leaves of the water plant.
Reflection pool in my healing garden
Tiny, secret pools of water can be found in all kinds of places in your healing garden if you take the time to look:
The representation of a vessel in your healing garden is rich with connotations from ancient times. Alchemists refer to crucibles, cauldrons and mortars which are used to transform the mundane to the precious. Many early cultures saw the vessels as a feminine symbol of the source of life – the womb as a sacred vessel.
The Bible refers to “vessels of silver and gold”, “oil in vessels” and “offerings in clean vessels”. The vessel is the source of truth and knowledge and is regarded as sacred, just as the chalice and the font are regarded as sacred instruments.
The association of vessels by Buddhists as containers for saffron scented water and other offerings, and for valuable food storage, relates to the concept of the “inexhaustible vessel”.
An important component traditional Islamic gardens is the brimming pool or basin of water- that precious commodity in desert environments.
The vessel is such a fascinating symbol to have in many different forms in your healing garden. You could have a Japanese style stone water basin, a terracotta oil jar overflowing with lobelias or a cast iron birdbath. I love the idea of the deep mysterious pool such as Galadriel’s pool.
Some examples of the gorgeous vessels in my healing garden are shown below.