How to Add Magic to the Garden

Magic is something I’ve been fascinated with since I was a kid. Not card tricks, rabbits out of hats, and other birthday party magic.  It’s the stories from fairy tales and King Arthur to the myths and legends of various cultures have always caught my attention. I’ll admit it, I’m a science fiction and fantasy junkie. I suppose I’m drawn by the excitement and mystery of the stories but mostly because I enjoy the use of the imagination.  How the imagination is weaved into the story is what makes a difference between a story and something that can be called a legend. You’re probably wondering what does this have to do with gardening? Think about it, wouldn’t a garden filled with a sense of mystery that entices the wanderer in then transports them to a magical world in somewhere as normal and ordinary as a backyard be something very cool to aspire to?  A garden where no one ever wants to leave or even go inside the house? But how do you get there? 

My Daughter and the arbor It’s something I’ve been thinking about for my children. I would like my two girls (and one to be named later) to enjoy the backyard, to be able to create their own stories and adventures without ever needing to leave home. I want to keep my kids outdoors as much as possible to enjoy the wonders of nature, of gardening, and to breathe the fresh air. And, perhaps selfishly, I would like to never want to leave the garden either!

The question is how do you add magic to the garden? Is it the plants or the items of whimsy that many people enjoy? Or is it the design? I suspect that it’s a combination of those elements that are (of course) blended with the imagination!


Moss on a rock
Selfseeding Garden and arbor
Shady Natural Pathway
Penstemon Husker's Red

It’s hard to single out any single element that is more important than the rest because they can be so intertwined.  Maybe it’s the clever design of pathways that take you to hidden corners. Or moss covered steps that lead to mysterious terraces and landings. It could be hedges that section off areas of the garden into small rooms perfect for a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Maybe it’s the texture of the plants that are used whether feathery and airy branches or uniquely colored and shaped foliage. Is it the creative use of garden gnomes and fairies to liven up the hidden corners? The crystal ball hidden in a grove of trees surrounded by an old brick pathway? Could the plants themselves be used to convey a sense of mystery? Trees that have hanging branches like willows or the old live oaks of the south with Spanish moss hanging from their boughs seem very mysterious and magical to me.

There’s a lot of ideas out there that could convey a sense of magic and mystery. Just what is it that makes a garden magical?  

Garden Bloggers here’s your assignment!

Write about what makes your garden magical and help me come up with some ideas. Or write about what you think makes any garden magical. Be sure to answer how you feel about these three aspects:

  1. What design elements make a garden magical?
  2. What plants can add magic and mystery to a garden?
  3. What are some interesting ways to add whimsy to a garden?

Everyone who participates by Friday February will get a link back to their blog in a either in summation post or in an edited version of this post. (It all depends on participation.) Please do provide a courtesy link back here to The Home Garden ( for anyone else who may wish to see what it’s all about!  …and don’t forget to let me know if you’re posting!

 Who Has Magic in their Gardens?

16 thoughts on “How to Add Magic to the Garden”

  1. Good morning Dave, I'll try to get up a post. When is the deadline?

    I think magic in a garden is a feeling you get when you are in it. I guess I couldn't put my finger on one single thing, it is the whole deal and then the feelings. For me it is the birds, the color, the smell of earth-everything.

  2. Tina,

    Anytime this week, I'll post something for the weekend. This is just one of those musing kind of posts that I thought might be fun since the weather isn't so fun!

  3. Not enough time!!! Please consider extending the deadline, Dave. Some of us have our posts written and scheduled in advance and the next week contains bloom day and foliage day. For those who only post three or less times a week, there's no way. This is a topic I would like to address, too. What about it? Please? 🙂

  4. Gail,

    You're right of course, but I'd like a little help with some ideas and suggestions!


    I thought you might like this topic so of course you can have more time! Extend it to next Friday Feb. 19th then? Let's see some magic!

  5. Thanks Dave, I appreciate that. We will put our thinking caps on, for this is a topic that needs digging deep into the reservoir. (Means looking through all the photos on the many jump drives, for magic is sadly lacking at the moment, unless constant rain and never sunshine counts as magic!) 🙂

  6. Tha magic in my garden is seen through the eyes of children: Fairy houses, tea sets for an impromtu picnic, faux fish swimming among shrimp plants and long grass paths on which to run, ending in the oval lawn where butterflies visit the borders.

    The real magic lies in compost and the miracle of seeds.

  7. Ohhh… thanks for extending the deadline, Dave. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, but I won't be able to post until next week. Thanks Frances for asking for an extension!

  8. I'll make a post about the stick house soon. Have I already told you that? I tend to repeat myself. Anyhow, when Bloom Day gets past, stick house will be in the works.

  9. Finally got it done, Dave. Hope you like it and maybe get some ideas, although I think you have already planted the magic seed in your children already. 🙂



    ps If my post inspires some more participants, perhaps you will extend that deadline. Sometimes a writer needs more time. 🙂

Comments are closed.