Mythological Garden

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Subliminal messaging is all around us, even in places we don't suspect. V8+ 52

Submitted: September 30, 2017

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Submitted: September 30, 2017



Something everybody should know about gardening is the profound degree of influence which mythology and superstition have historically exercised over gardening traditions - the mystical aura surrounding the time-honored ritual of sowing seeds. In point of fact, the otherworldly and spiritual influence over gardening has been so broad-sweeping and replete down through the centuries that there are to this day many people who feel that gardening is itself a superstitious practice, even going so far as to associate plant cultivation with witchcraft.

For instance, one can easily find farmer’s almanacs that recommend above ground crops be planted in the light of the moon, while below ground crops should be planted during the dark phase of the moon; and one should never thank a person for a passalong plant because this shall cause the plant not to grow while at the same time bringing bad luck to both the giver and the grateful. If you make a gift of a plant to a person for which they begin to thank you, for your sake and theirs, stop them immediately!

Another aspect of preternatural involvement in gardening is a strikingly bizarre phenomenon which seems to pass under the radar of the communal psyche. I am speaking of the veritable explosion in trinkets, flags, sculptures, sparklers, wind chimes, etc. for ornamenting and decorating gardens. In particular I would draw the reader’s attention to the eerie propensity of gardeners to place fairies, gnomes, trolls, pixies, sprites, elves, and leprechauns in their gardens. From whence does the notion arise that a statue of a gnome placed in a garden will keep plant destroying pests away? It’s fashionable, it’s supernatural, it’s paranormal, and it is everywhere.

?The published books authored by Sean Terrence Best are available via, Barnes&Noble, and many other booksellers.

Consider for a moment, at the far end of the cabbage patch, that pumpkin-sized stone with the upside down horseshoe mounted on one side, a horseshoe which neatly frames a teeny wooden door with a miniature golden ring handle and knocker dangling from it; or the clay toadstool where the cantankerous Puck sits fingering his hypnotic flute. Let us hearken back to that legendary warning known as the Pied Piper, the Pan Piper, the Rat-Catcher of Hamelin, a fearsome narrative spawned from the boggy meadows of Lower Saxony. We all know what power the Pied Piper wielded. We all know what he did.

Yet, the really frightening aspect of this worrisome trend of filling gardens with Fairy Folk is that most people seem blithely unaware of this crawling spectral mist that is seeping in, under the guise of culture, around every corner and nook of our treasured garden patches. It’s as creepy as the reflective spheres, mirrors, chimes, and dreamcatchers, yet even a little bit scarier because of the humanoid aspect of the fabled creatures.

There’s an ancient mystique, a very old power which radiates like a ghoulish effulgence around the Wee Folk or Little People. What is it about gardens that reaches so deeply into the human subconscious as to almost demand the presence of supernatural beings small enough to hide behind a Purple Top Turnip and peep out at us with a mischievous knowing grin?

Glass, porcelain, ceramic, wood, plastic, stone, cement - the list of materials from which these mysterious minuscule denizens of the garden are fashioned goes on and on. I’ll tell you something else that is quite harrowing about this irksome phenomenon, it is very difficult to distill exact numbers from industry analysis as to exactly how big of a billion-dollar-a-year industry the garden ornament manufacture and retail boom really is. It’s almost as if the Fae Folk are conspiring to cloak their nefarious plot of invading our gardens, which means, of course, that they are clandestinely entering our homes at our unawares.

Perhaps I’m a little paranoid, but it strikes me as something approaching sinister when I travel from town to town, big cities, the rural countryside, the small alcoves in immediate vicinity of steeple-crested churches, or even the churchyards themselves whence I see evidence of what I call the Hobgoblin Invasion. Our gardens have literally become the Realm of the Fays. Has this always been so?

Like fruits, vegetables, hedges, and flowers, folklore grows from our cherished gardens. I remember one foggy morning strolling with a friend through her raised bed box garden and seeing a resin statue of a Changeling. The reader will please not think my imagination overactive when I say that the haunting elfin thing was looking at me! I swear I saw its wee head move, following Sophie and I as we meandered through her plump vermilion strawberries, her ovate sea-green basil, and her bulging milk-white rutabagas.

When I considered during that walk that the definition of Changeling is a child who has been secretly substituted by fairies for the parent’s real child, it was too much to bear with that hideous squat thing’s spooky eyes following us. I begged Sophie’s forgiveness and excused myself from her garden. To this day she doesn’t know what came over me that soft summer morning, nor does she know why whenever I visit I make excuses for not strolling with her in her eldritch garden.

According to Old Wives’ Tales, if you should find Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) in your garden that you did not plant, dare ye not remove it nor pick the blossoms lest ye offend the fairies! Considering the other names for Foxglove - Goblin Gloves, Witch’s Gloves, Bloody Fingers, Dead Man’s Bells, Fairy Caps - this warning has merit, if you ask me. It is said that one is wise to plant Snapdragons, Chamomile, and Angelica to protect against curses and ward off evil spirits.

The connection between gardening and the supernatural has its antediluvian origins far back, deep in the obscuring mists of the shadowy primordial past. Who among us has not seen in a neighboring garden Gazing Balls, a/k/a Witch Balls, those luminous iridescent spheres mounted upon pedestals reflecting who knows what secret charms and murmured spells?

Spider Lily, Angel's Trumpet, Button Bush, Butter & Eggs, Dutchman's Britches, Snowdrop, Wolf’s Bane, Witch Hazel - the very names of garden herbs and flowers reflect the intimate connection between gardening and mysticism. Legendary craft and time-steeped folklore seem to be irreversibly woven into the ancient fabric of plant cultivation. That is to say, gardening and the enchanter arts appear to be closely interrelated.

The published books authored by Sean Terrence Best are available via Books-A-Million,, Barnes&Noble, and many other booksellers.

© Copyright 2019 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.

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