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Author Topic: Garden: Planning a garden shrine  (Read 673 times)

Eastling

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Planning a garden shrine
« on: August 15, 2017, 07:21:59 pm »
Last week I began moving into a new apartment on the waterfront of downtown Seattle, and I'm looking forward to setting up a garden to serve as a shrine on the back patio. Before I start rushing out to buy plants and pots and a cute sculpture of a fairy house from Pike Place Market, though, I'm curious to see what advice people here have about building and maintaining such garden shrines. What sort of things should I take into account? Where should I look for resources? What materials work best?

I intend to use this garden as my main personal shrine to my gods, who are more or less Dionysian (it's complicated); here I can make some offerings and meditate. I know some people here have gardens they use for similar purposes.

You can see some pictures here of the space I have to work with (I've already set up a temporary shrine in a corner, as you can see, consisting of a tiny succulent and an amethyst geode that used to sit by the altar of my previous outdoor shrine in the suburbs). Ideally this garden would have something that could serve as an altar, as well as some nice relevant plants and decorations. I'd like to grow mint and catnip for sure, but I don't know what else.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 10:31:34 am by RandallS »
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Dynes Hysbys

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Re: Planning a garden shrine
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 05:10:12 am »
Last week I began moving into a new apartment on the waterfront of downtown Seattle, and I'm looking forward to setting up a garden to serve as a shrine on the back patio. Before I start rushing out to buy plants and pots and a cute sculpture of a fairy house from Pike Place Market, though, I'm curious to see what advice people here have about building and maintaining such garden shrines. What sort of things should I take into account? Where should I look for resources? What materials work best?

I intend to use this garden as my main personal shrine to my gods, who are more or less Dionysian (it's complicated); here I can make some offerings and meditate. I know some people here have gardens they use for similar purposes.


I have an old stone bench tucked in the corner which serves me. It has a few potted plants on it and I add season appropriate items as and when. I also deposit the remains of indoor food based offerings underneath it which either decompose into the soil or get "tidied away" by the local mice.

I haven't actually been able to get to it for the last few months since the belladonna I planted near to it went mad  (I've never had one reach 8ft tall and 6ft wide....) but as that is scheduled to be harvested for use on Monday I'll be able to clean and tiy my shrine and get it ready for autumn. I did at one point have a deer skull on it but that went missing very quickly - probably one of the foxes so since then I've stuck to plants and non attractive to wildlife items!

Jainarayan

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Re: Planning a garden shrine
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2017, 11:04:25 am »
Last week I began moving into a new apartment on the waterfront of downtown Seattle, and I'm looking forward to setting up a garden to serve as a shrine on the back patio. Before I start rushing out to buy plants and pots and a cute sculpture of a fairy house from Pike Place Market, though, I'm curious to see what advice people here have about building and maintaining such garden shrines. What sort of things should I take into account? Where should I look for resources? What materials work best?

I intend to use this garden as my main personal shrine to my gods, who are more or less Dionysian (it's complicated); here I can make some offerings and meditate. I know some people here have gardens they use for similar purposes.

You can see some pictures here of the space I have to work with (I've already set up a temporary shrine in a corner, as you can see, consisting of a tiny succulent and an amethyst geode that used to sit by the altar of my previous outdoor shrine in the suburbs). Ideally this garden would have something that could serve as an altar, as well as some nice relevant plants and decorations. I'd like to grow mint and catnip for sure, but I don't know what else.

What a nice idea! For an altar you could use the base of a birdbath and place a large paving stone on top. I'm sure there's a way to anchor it to the base. Or even get a shallow birdbath basin a round paving stone could sit in. This would be more stable. I come up with weird design ideas, most of which don't work.  ;D

As a former Heathen, I still believe in the landvættir (Icelandic and Old Norse, "land wights"). This gives me an idea to make a small shrine in a part of my backyard under the trees. I would also leave food offerings, as I did recently. My cat passed away last weekend; I had several opened cans of food, trying to get him to eat anything at all. Instead of throwing it in the garbage I put it on a plate in the area where I'd put the shrine.  I'm sure the resident wildlife appreciated it, if not a neighborhood cat or two.
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Sefiru

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Re: Planning a garden shrine
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2017, 06:05:42 pm »
What sort of things should I take into account? Where should I look for resources? What materials work best?

The only advice I have is to get plants that are native to your area. Not just because it's respectful of nature; they're also likely to grow well with less fuss than non-native plants.

Altair

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Re: Planning a garden shrine
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2017, 08:06:15 pm »
The only advice I have is to get plants that are native to your area. Not just because it's respectful of nature; they're also likely to grow well with less fuss than non-native plants.

Seconded. I plant mostly natives, and it's done wonders for my garden. The one big exception I make is butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), a plant from Asia, because it's crack for butterflies and pulls them in like nothing else.

It looks like you'll have to do a lot of container gardening because of the patio. I don't know how much experience you have with that, but you'll have to water A LOT, unless you plant cacti and such.

Finally, from what I can see of the layout, I'd put a focal point--probably your shrine--at the far end of the garden, furthest away from the building, so that it draws your eye out no matter where you are, indoors looking out the window or in the garden. A babbling fountain might work well back there, and has the added benefit of attracting birds with the sound.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Eastling

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Re: Planning a garden shrine
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2017, 09:01:20 pm »
It looks like you'll have to do a lot of container gardening because of the patio. I don't know how much experience you have with that, but you'll have to water A LOT, unless you plant cacti and such.

I was figuring I'd rely on containers. I thought I might use a halved wine barrel as a planter, since that seems to be common and functional, and my god is primarily a wine god.

As for watering, I'll definitely need to do a lot of that during the summer, when it's dry here. In winter, it rains constantly, so I'll have to be sure not to include too many succulents or other plants that could drown.

Quote
Finally, from what I can see of the layout, I'd put a focal point--probably your shrine--at the far end of the garden, furthest away from the building, so that it draws your eye out no matter where you are, indoors looking out the window or in the garden. A babbling fountain might work well back there, and has the added benefit of attracting birds with the sound.

That's an interesting thought. Whatever I wind up using as an altar might work best for that.
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
--JAMES ALAN GARDNER

Eastling

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Re: Planning a garden shrine
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2017, 09:03:25 pm »
What a nice idea! For an altar you could use the base of a birdbath and place a large paving stone on top. I'm sure there's a way to anchor it to the base. Or even get a shallow birdbath basin a round paving stone could sit in. This would be more stable. I come up with weird design ideas, most of which don't work.  ;D

As a former Heathen, I still believe in the landvættir (Icelandic and Old Norse, "land wights"). This gives me an idea to make a small shrine in a part of my backyard under the trees. I would also leave food offerings, as I did recently. My cat passed away last weekend; I had several opened cans of food, trying to get him to eat anything at all. Instead of throwing it in the garbage I put it on a plate in the area where I'd put the shrine.  I'm sure the resident wildlife appreciated it, if not a neighborhood cat or two.

Using a birdbath as a base is an interesting idea; I might look into that.

I'm sorry to hear about your cat, but I think you're onto something when it comes to making a shrine around where you'd leave offerings outside. I had an outdoor 'hidden shrine' in my previous suburban location, and it was very useful to my practice.
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
--JAMES ALAN GARDNER

Eastling

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Re: Planning a garden shrine
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2017, 09:04:40 pm »
The only advice I have is to get plants that are native to your area. Not just because it's respectful of nature; they're also likely to grow well with less fuss than non-native plants.

That's probably the best option. The Pacific Northwest is fairly mild when it comes to climate, but I'm sure that more sensitive plants would drown in all the rain in winter, or even not make it through the winter at all just due to temperature.
"The peacock can show its whole tail at once, but I can only tell you a story."
--JAMES ALAN GARDNER

Sefiru

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Re: Planning a garden shrine
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2017, 06:06:42 pm »
That's probably the best option. The Pacific Northwest is fairly mild when it comes to climate, but I'm sure that more sensitive plants would drown in all the rain in winter, or even not make it through the winter at all just due to temperature.

There's also soil type, local insects (both polinators and herbivores), local fungi, type of sunlight, etc. etc. Best to let evolution sort it out for you :)

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