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Gardening Can Be Spooky

November 2, 2012

dscf0070.jpgThis year seems to have gone by so quickly and it’s already just gone Halloween, rich with tradition, mystery and symbolism.

Not surprisingly, much of the symbolism surrounding Halloween has connections to the natural world, including plants, fruits and vegetables.

Also it might interest you to know that Halloween is celebrated in some form in many parts of the world, including, Japan, Mexico, Sicily, China, Korea and Sweden among others.

The time around Halloween is a time when plants start to die down as they near the end of a cycle and many deciduous trees and plants drop their leaves for the winter.

For ancient people, this was a time to honour their dead along with the “death” of the year and to offer sacrifices to nature hoping that spring will return with its fresh and welcome bounty.

Many garden plants are associated with this season. Rue, a hardy perennial bitter herb of the Bible was hung in doors and windows around this dark time of the year to deter evil spirits.  Rue has also been used in fall to repel fleas from coming in the house by rubbing areas with the bitter, pungent juice released from a crushed stem.

Sage or Salvia is a symbol of domestic virtue and immortality and was often planted on graves in days of old as it was said to live forever, often thriving on neglect and so be a symbol of life.

Rosemary, often thought of as the loveliest of herbs was brought to England in the 14th century. It had been used for thousands of year before in all of the Mediterranean countries where it was hung over the cradle of infants to protect them from the evil eye. It was also called the bride’s herb, and believed to ward off evil. Burned with thyme and Juniper the smoke was said to get rid of witches and evil spirits and also clean the air in a sick room.

So, if you took part in Halloween celebrations this year, remember that it’s not all just plastic marks, false fangs and pointy hats; there’s a strong tradition that links this spooky festival to your garden.

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