Seasonal Plant Superstitions

By —— Bio and Archives--October 14, 2017

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From ghoullies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go ‘thump’ in the night Good Lord, deliver us! Thus runs an old Scottish prayer. Yes, ‘tis the time of the year when creepies things emerge from the boscage as dusk descends. Jack, forever cast out of hell, seeks to light his woeful way with a flickering pumpkin. The night air is rent with wails and gnashing of teeth—oops, sorry, that must be politicians. Extending a trowel-filled hand to assist the fearful (and useful to belt any spurious spirit) here are some helpful hints on what to embrace and avoid around the garden

Protect against witchy things

  • Carry a rowan branch wherever you go: European Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia) one touch of such and a true witch will be whisked off by the Devil to suffer her just deserts (European Mountain Ash has 11 leaflets to each leaf; American 17)
  • Elder trees have a resident witch—but at least in some areas elders were planted near the backdoor to protect the home from witches
  • Rosemary planted near entrances will ward off evil spirits
  • Ivy growing on a wall will protect from evil powers
  • Houseleek protects the home from lightning and evil spirits
  • Keeping garlic in your pocket protects you from evil powers
  • A large red tomato placed on your windowsill will keep away evil spirits

And from India comes this helpful advice:

  • Banyan trees, a form of Ficus, harbour malevolent spirits
  • Peepul trees, Ficus religiosa, are the abode of ghosts—avoid them at night
  • If the name of a witch is written on the branch of a Sal tree, Shorea robusta, the branch will wither away

Every garden should, of course, have its resident gnome as they bring good luck (and probably also to those who sell them also).Finally, out and about on Halloween, should you detect herbal scent, you have nothing to fear as the souls of good people are said to smell like basil

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Wes Porter -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Wes Porter is a horticultural consultant and writer based in Toronto. Wes has over 40 years of experience in both temperate and tropical horticulture from three continents.

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