Magic is the art of creating and using symbols to give our subconscious messages it will respond to. When we listen to Mozart we don’t have to tell our body to relax and our mind to become peaceful, our bodies respond spontaneously. We can choose to remain tense if we keep our minds focused on problems but if we let them drift with the music our natural tendency is to become more relaxed. Gardens can work a similar magic if we allow their natural influence to work upon us. We can encourage this process by focusing our thoughts on what we find beautiful around us.
Here are some suggestions to incorporate in the design and planting of a magical space in your garden that will weave a spell of relaxation, peace and inspiration that is irresistible:
1) Create a space in which you feel very comfortable. Curves are generally more comfortable than angles. A visual barrier all around but not high enough to be claustrophobic will add a sense of privacy, so important if you want to lose yourself there (this means from windows in the house too).
2) Create clues that indicate but do not fully reveal a space or object in order to give your imagination room to fill in the gaps. Use shadow, partitions and multitiered plantings to hide portions of the garden from view. If your area is large enough, use winding paths to get from one section to another. A room effect, each section with its own identity, is fun to design and play with.
3) Weave your favorite colors into your garden with care. A gaudy style will often encourage self consciousness, which is the last thing you want when trying to forget your day self.
4) Use fragrant plants with beautiful scents to stir your memory of pleasant times. Try butterfly bushes, wild roses or Lilacs for their sweet fragrance and soft colored blossoms.
5) Add a rhythmical or steady sound. It will bring a hypnotic element that will draw you into a relaxed place. A quiet flow of recirculating water in a pool. Bamboo rustling in the breeze. Chimes hung a comfortable distance away.
6) Give your quiet relaxation place a symbol that for you represents its essence. Make it something you can easily visualize or, better yet, carry around with you. A special stone or piece of wood perhaps. Let it represent your garden so that your mind, through the process of free association, will take you there instantly when you want to experience a quick moment of relaxation and renewal. Just imagine or hold this symbol in your hands as a focus point to give your brain the message that you want to experience the peace of your garden in your mind until you can return to it more literally.
7) Its important to make this space small enough that you can comfortably care for it and it doesn’t become one more obligatory chore. Our brains connect emotions with activities. If you build your space with care and joy and peace when you think of it your memory will trigger those emotions. You have to work the spell by making it a place you associate with pleasure and peace.
As you spend time in your garden getting to know each aspect intimately you will come to know the creative, magical gardener within you.