Spiritual Retreat Garden – Our Ideas For A Chakra Garden.

Inspiration usually strikes at the oddest hours for me, usually, around 4 am when insomnia has her way. We have a portion of our yard that has been under a plan of attack for some time; but what to do that is appealing, useful, and calming?

A Spiritual Retreat Garden came to mind, especially with having a pregnant daughter! And inspiration from an article I came across in houzz.com {Chakra Garden}. Modeled loosely on a cloistered medieval monastery garden, and the Chakra inspiration, this herbal oasis will include a bench for sitting and meditating among raised garden beds. Enclosed with a clipped hawthorn or bayberry hedge, the garden will feel secluded and separated from the often hectic outside world.

Pink flowering soapwort will naturalize along the base of the hedge and of course, lavender will be a prominent feature {our daughter’s favorite herb and flower.} This garden will include herbs commonly grown during the Middle Ages, separated by their uses {household, kitchen, medicinal, and mystical}.

The Hedge and Groundcover will be:

English hawthorn {Crataegus laevigata}: a deciduous, thorny shrub that can grow to 15 feet tall; clusters of aromatic white flowers and dark red berries.

Soapwort {Saponaria officinalis}: single-stemmed perennial that grows up to 2 feet tall; clusters of pink blooms in midsummer to late summer; the roots are used to make soap.

Household Herbs will be:

English lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}: branching, aromatic shrub that will grow to 3 feet tall. We can use the flowers in a calming bath, make soap for new Mommy and Baby.

Madder {Rubia tinctorum}: 4-foot stems, panicles of tiny, greenish-white flowers in midsummer; reddish brown roots we will use to make red dye.

Woad {Isatis tinctoria}: Biennial or perennial, 3 to 5 feet tall; small yellow flowers will appear in spring of second-year growth; bluish-green oblong leaves we will use to make blue dye.

Agrimony {Agrimonia eupatoria}: Upright stems will grow up to 5 feet tall; spikes of small yellow blooms in midsummer; aromatic leaves used to make yellow dye and in potpourri.

Kitchen and Salad Herbs will be:

Chives {Allium schoenoprasum}: Dark green, hollow, cylindrical leaves up to 10 inches tall, small, pale purple blooms in late spring; leaves will be used for flavoring.

Sage {Salvia officinalis}: Woody-stemmed perennial grows up to 30 inches tall; gray-green leaves; purple-blue flowers in early summer; leaves used as flavoring and smudging.

Calendula {Calendula officinalis}: 2-foot-tall branching plant; orange or yellow ray blooms will add flavor and color to soups, sauces, cookies.

Borage {Borago officinalis}: Stems up to 18 inches tall, with fuzzy gray-green leaves; nodding clusters of small, bright blue star-shaped flowers; use cucumber-flavored leaves and flowers {sparingly} in salads. {My favorite in the herb garden}.

Medicinal Herbs will be:

St. John’s wort {Hypericum perforatum}: Perennial up to 2 feet tall; bright yellow blooms in midsummer.

Feverfew {Tanacetum parthenium}: Perennial up to 3 feet tall; white, daisy-like flowers throughout summer; strongly scented leaves.

Lemon balm {Melissa officinalis}: Loosely branched perennial up to 2 feet tall; clusters of tiny white flowers throughout summer; lemon-scented leaves.

Licorice {Glycyrrhiza glabra}: Branching perennial up to 6 feet tall; spikes of blue flowers in midsummer.

Valerian {Valeriana officinalis}: 3- to 6- foot-tall stems with dark green, lance-shaped leaves, and clusters of small white or pink flowers in midsummer; large, pungent-smelling rhizomes.

Sacred and Mystical Herbs will be:

Vervain {Verbena officinalis}: 2- to 3- foot-tall stems topped by slender spikes of small, tubular, pale purple flowers in midsummer.

Rue {Ruta graveolens}: Semi-woody evergreen shrub up to 3 feet tall; grayish blue, spade-shaped leaves; bright yellow flowers throughout summer.

Black hellebore {Helleborus niger}: Perennial up to 1 foot tall; deep green, evergreen leaves; white blooms in late winter.

The Chakra area of the garden will be a new concept for us; so far this is what we know we will have to implement to achieve our goal:

Many Eastern religions believe there are energy centers, or chakras, throughout the body and that nurturing and meditating on these chakras can help with healing, relaxation, and renewal. This can be facilitated by creating a chakra garden, which can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. There are seven main chakras, and each has its own energy and related colors and elements.

Step 1

Measure the size of the area you wish to convert into a chakra garden. Transfer your measurements to graph paper so that you can view the entire garden area during your design process. There are seven chakras in the human body, so your design should have seven distinct zones in a hierarchy. Since the chakra is often represented as a circle consider drawing your zones as circles. Use your circle template and a pencil.

Step 2

Design each chakra zone so that it allows for an organic flat stone wide enough to sit and meditate on comfortably. You can also select plantings for each chakra that relate to the meaning and color of the chakra. You will also want to create a direct pathway from one chakra zone to the next so that when you use the garden in meditation, you can easily move up the chakras.

Step 3

Incorporate red elements in your first chakra zone. Keep in mind that you do not need to use all flowers. There are many plants with red leaves, berries, and displays that appear red. Chakra 1 is the root chakra and it is related to issues of survival, sexuality and base instincts. This is a primal garden with strong shapes and colors.

Step 4

Support your second chakra (sacral and naval) with a focus on sensuality, self-esteem, and partnered relationships. The color of this chakra is orange, and it reflects the vitality and power of intimacy and the challenges and problems of sexual presentation in the world. This garden should be sensual with romantic perfumes and both the strength and softness of various orange colors.

Step 5

Design the third chakra zone (solar plexus) around personality, authority, control and the color yellow. From this chakra we feel our outrage or quick responses, so the feeling in the garden may be quick and fast; but we also want to support humor, joy, self-control and laughter. A good theme for this zone is spontaneity and brightness.

Step 6

Center the fourth chakra zone in the heart of your garden because it is the heart chakra. The color of love is green. The feeling the garden evokes should be harmony, peace, love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Keep in mind that you can bring into a garden like this a cairn of stacked stones to remember someone who has passed or other elements that cause you to think about those you care about.

Step 7

Design the fifth chakra zone as a bridge to the sixth and seventh. The fifth chakra is communication, and its color is blue. A small water feature or fountain is an excellent choice for this garden as it encourages the flow of communication, the movement of dialogue. Keep the design of the water feature in organic or natural elements for the best visual effect.

Step 8

Flow the colors of blue into the purples when you design your sixth chakra zone. A delicate scent, complex plant shapes, and geometry are appropriate to this chakra zone. This is the third eye, where the focus is on intuition and thinking. This chakra often has the appearance of radiating lines away from the center, so consider highly organized plantings.

Step 9

Create your final seventh chakra zone by creating a focal point where you can position a Buddha’s head or meditating Buddha. The color is white. The seventh chakra centers on spirituality and divinity. Some of the flowers or plants should be very fine or translucent and be able to capture the light. Create an exit path that does not force you to re-enter your lower chakras.