Saturday, April 28, 2012

Window Box Witchery

Container with accessories
So today my quest began for flowers for my window boxes on the back porch. I dumped out the old potting soil into my compost pile and added new fresh potting yesterday. So they are prepped and ready to go. 

The other day I was seduced by pots of soft peachy coral petunias, white verbena and bacopa... So I planted them up in a pot on the back porch. Here it is. I added a white ceramic mushroom and found this miniature garden stake that says "Hope" with a crescent moon. Who could resist that? Certainly not me.

As I have white siding on my house and off white window boxes- I go for lots of color in the window box arrangements. A few years a go I did all hot pinks and purples geraniums and petunias, then one year I did yellow and peach with a touch of blue lobelia. Pretty typical stuff. But this year I want to embrace my inner wild woman and go crazy. And my inspiration for funkier window boxes comes from my friend Sarah.

My friend Sarah is an amazing urban gardener. I wrote about Sarah’s city gardens in my book Garden Witch’s Herbal. Sarah has a knack for turning anything into a container. She has a lovely garden to be sure, however I am always struck by severe container garden envy whenever I go to Sarah’s house and see her gardens. She tosses the strangest things together in a mixed flower pot and the results are jaw-dropping. It makes me crazy that flowers that ought to be unappealing planted together are suddenly mind blowingly cool in a container. No doubt about it Sarah’s got the knack.

Flowers before planting
I think my own problem is that when it comes to planting my own window boxes… I tend to think like a floral designer- and even though the boxes are pretty, I tend to get a little precise.  Which is funny when my design style in the yard is cottage style gardening. So this year I am have embraced my inner “Sarah” and have mixed and matched plants and I did let myself go crazy! Here are a few pictures.

The window boxes have a full sun exposure… so off I trekked to the plant stand today and carefully selected my annuals. Varieties of trailing petunias, lobelia, bacopa and verbena. 
Setting the flowers out

Finished Window box

And I promised myself I would plant with abandon, and mix things up. I chose my flowers and ended up with cool colors- which I think "Pops" against the white siding and blue trim of the house. I set them (still in their pots) inside the window box to get a feel for them-- and then I planted away.  
 Here is a picture of one of the boxes all finished and hung on the house. So it was a nice morning's work. Because I was feeling industrious I swept up the patios and tidied up a bit. The  I walked around the yard and took more pictures of the gardens. 

Ellen's perennial garden 4-2012
I hope you will take some time this weekend and get outside and plant something! Even a container on your porch can add magick to your world. 
Blessed be, Ellen

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Elements of Witchcraft & Personal Power

This coming Sunday I am starting a new three part series of live and in person classes that focus on the four elements and how they manifest in our lives and in our magick.
Elements of Witchcraft
Here are the class descriptions.

Practical Magick Series Part II 
Class Dates- Sunday- April 15, 22, and 29
Time: 2:00 to 4:00 pm.
Place: Wellness Center (Chapel of Love & Light)
1600 Boone's Lick Road
St. Charles, MO. 63301
Class fee $30.00 each-- or attend all three classes for $75.00 and save! (Payment for all three classes is due in full at the time of the first class.)
Ages 18 and up are welcome.

For more information, directions to the Wellness Center, or to pre-register for classes, please contact Ellen via email at

The Four Natural Elements and Personal Power- Class date- Sunday, April 15
A class that focuses on the deeper magick of the four natural elements; earth, air, fire and water. This is a more advanced look at the magickal elements. Here you will learn how to work with the magickal energy of the elements and how to incorporate their power into your life. This class will include a group discussion, ideas for creating your own elemental altars, homework assignments and a class group ritual.

Your Elemental Strengths: Removing Blocks Correcting Imbalances- Class Date- Sunday, April 22
The second class in the three part series looks to your personal strengths. What elemental powers and gifts do you favor, and what elemental challenges do you face or lessons are you lacking in? In this class we will look at ways to acquire wisdom with all four of the natural elements in a balanced and personal way. This class will also include a group discussion, journal exercises, homework assignments and a class group ritual.

The Goddess and the Natural Elements- Class date- Sunday,  April 29
This final class in the three part series takes a deeper look at the Goddess and her connection to the four natural elements. The Maiden, Mother and Crone aspects will be discussed as well as the Goddesses of earth and water, air and fire. This class will also include a group discussion, journal exercises, homework assignments and a class group ritual.

I have a real affection for working with the four natural elements. Folks often overlook the elements and consider it, "just for beginners stuff." The truth is they are very, very wrong. Studying, or re-exploring the four elements and how to apply this information into your magick- ups your game. This work takes a beginner to an intermediate level Witch, and an intermediate practitioner to a more advanced level Witch.
If you live in the St. Louis area I hope you will come out and join us this coming Sunday. I am looking forward to seeing the students from the first series of classes, and hope to meet a few new folks too. This is going to be fun!
Blessed be, Ellen

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Magick of the Garden

Good Morning,
Garden sign in the lavender
My garden is blooming about a month ahead of schedule, thanks to the very warm and early spring we are experiencing this year. My lilac is finished its bloom cycle and my snowball bush is blooming now and so are my roses. Wow, this is early. About a month early.

Snowball bush April1, 2012
And I have to say, my garden has been a comfort to me in these last few weeks. When the stress and pressure have gotten to me, I head out to the garden.
There is always work to be done. Staking the peonies- I use round tomato cages- works like a charm. Just train the sprouts up inside of those concentric rings.
I ruthlessly pull weeds, lay down more mulch, and since the weather has been so warm I started planting new hanging baskets and containers. Geraniums and petunias can take a little chill. So when the weather swings cooler (and it will) the flowers will be fine.

New container in Ellen's garden
For the past few days I have been sitting outside in the afternoon and evenings with the proof pages for Seasons of Witchery, and have worked my way carefully through them. There are many illustrations in this new book and the artist, Wen Hsu did a phenomenal job. In just two months the book will be out and in your hot little hands. I can hardly wait!

Seasons of Witchery was a fun book to write as I wrote it in real time. The Midsummer chapter was written in- wait for it... June. The Samhain chapter was written during October, and so on.
I wanted this book on the sabbats to be personal and relaxing. Not to just trot out the old Eggs are for Ostara, schtick. This is a book you can read all year long, and it will give you plenty of seasonal spells, garden witchery, witchy arts and crafts, faerie magick, and even some recipes to try out. I am very happy with it.

2012 Faerie Garden in old Birdbath
 Yesterday my coven sister and fellow Llewellyn author, Ember came over, and I had her take a look at a few questions I had marked in the proof pages. While she was visiting my acquisitions editor Elysia called to check in and since Ember was with me, she scared the crap out us both with an April Fools joke. She got us good too.

After that my friend and I blew through my questions in less than an hour, and then of course we headed out to the gardens. Ember and I talked about the next coven get-together, our book projects- she has her second book on crystal magick coming out next year, and of course we discussed our gardens.
Perennial garden April-1-2012

I loaded her up with some 25 pound bags of organic potting soil- courtesy of my husband's job- he gets to bring home samples... and she headed home- with a gleam in her eye and plans for new container gardens. 

Later in the evening my sons Kraig and Kyle came over and we barbequed and relaxed.
All in all it was a great way to start out the month of April. I hope that you spruce up your gardens, plant some containers and spend some time in your gardens this week. They truly are magickal places.
Blessed be, Ellen

PS. Don't forget that my books; Garden Witchery, Garden Witch's Herbal and Herb Magic for Beginners, are filled with magick and practical gardening information, garden plans, container gardening, flower folklore, spells and rituals that you can use. No matter where you live- there is always a way to add some of the garden's enchantment to your life.