Plants give us air, food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Here are 7+ ways you can acknowledge their gifts and show your garden gratitude.
7+ Ways to Express Garden Gratitude
One of my favorite wild plants is the Farkleberry, or Sparkleberry. They are a native blueberry. If you cut out sugar from your diet…like I have…the berries can be really sweet! I always offer this plant what I call “Garden Gratitude” or “Plant Gratitude,” if you prefer.
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I know this might sound kind of woo-woo. When I leave offerings and give garden gratitude to the Farkleberry that I’m harvesting, I see more and more of them. It’s almost like they call to me.
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We know that plants give us air, food, clothing, shelter, and medicine—but did you know that these living beings are able to communicate, too?
Think of a beautiful flower. The beauty is what calls to us. This is that plant’s particular way of communicating with us. If you want to take it one step further, ask it why it called you over.
The Basics of Garden Gratitude
We tend to walk through the world without acknowledging that plants, animals, the wind, etc, are living things. If you walk through your life with awareness, you’ll be surprised how often plants communicate with you, and how they respond to you. We can choose to deliberately engage.
What It Is: Giving gratitude to plants, the elements, and animals is based on the premise that everything is alive, and that we are all interconnected. It is a two-way street in which the plant and the person achieve mutual understanding, each communicating in their own language.
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Who Can Do It: Garden gratitude is natural and simple. Everyone can do it. It comes quickly and naturally once a person understands and practices it.
How to Get Started: There are three tricks to having garden gratitude for plants. The first is to believe it enough—even skeptically—to try it. The second is to actually speak to the plant. Third is to leave it an offering.
Ways to Give Offerings to Plants
Offerings have been around for thousands of years. It is a practice that is found all over the world. However, modern-day society has forgotten the old ways.
Anytime I’m harvesting something I’ve planted, or even a wild one, I want to express my gratitude. My gratitude is for the plant producing the fruit and letting me pick and eat it, so I leave an offering.
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Plants also exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, helping us breathe, too! Some plants give us medicine, shade us, and clothe us.
There are many reasons to give garden gratitude!
What Do You Have to Offer?
Anything can be used as a plant offering. I’m sure you’ll come up with a ton of them. Just make sure it comes from the heart.
Here are some offering ideas to get you started:
- Hair (great source of protein, which turns into nitrogen)
- Saliva (offers trace minerals and water)
- Song (research has shown that plants grow larger with certain types of music)
- Urinate beside them (it provides nitrogen for the soil)
- Water (plants need water, too)
- Tobacco (make sure it is additive and chemical-free, but is a source of decaying organic matter)
- Cornmeal (stimulates and feeds beneficial micro-organisms)
- Breathe on it (plants love carbon dioxide)
As you can see, there are some scientific reasons these offerings help the plant, too! Just making an offering of some sort is beneficial to your relationship with all wild plants.
Offerings do several things…
- It is an exchange of energy and a place of humility for you. We are all one and equal—You and the Plant.
- Offerings show you that we are all in the same world. All of us only get to be here for a short time, so be present and intentional with your time here.
It’s Not Magic!
Every couple of years, I grow tobacco. Tobacco is a plant that has been used for centuries by the Native People of the Americas.
It is believed that Tobacco offers its own gift of interpretation, which helps us with disputes.
Just a pinch, spread on the winds…with words of thanks and garden gratitude. Your words to the plant can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like.
Want to know more about working with nature spirits to grow more food? Check out this article.
Learning From Your Plants
What to Expect: Sometimes, in the same way that ingesting a plant affects our body, communicating with a plant will affect our minds. You can also communicate and have garden gratitude for plants when you’re dealing with strong emotions or difficulties. Different plants offer help in different ways. Which plant in your garden calls to you? Why has it called to you right now? What are you dealing with in your life that perhaps the plant is trying to remedy?
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Why Some Plants Seem to Harm: Plants carry a level of energy that is very normal and safe for you to interact with. Even plants that can hurt you, don’t do it maliciously. In fact, once you accept that, you can work on understanding what else the plants are trying to communicate to you. For example, when people get a rash from poison ivy, often it is because there is an irritant or issue in that person’s life that they have chosen to ignore—something the plant is trying to get them to deal with. Once a person understands that, he or she can get a lot of help from that particular plant and others like it.
You can even give gratitude to animals domestic and wild. Here is a great article to get you started.
Be willing to communicate with your plants, animals, and the elements, means you say something and hear something in return.
Once you get over the doubt and skepticism, give it a try. Practice, and it will become second nature.
Being in relationship means being nurtured by the plant and you nurturing the plant. Who doesn’t want that!
What Do You Think?
So tell us! Do you talk to your plants? Do you leave offerings? Inquiring minds want to know, so leave a comment below!
This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on July 18, 2017.
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Marjory Wildcraft is an Expedition Leader and Bioneer Blogger with The [Grow] Network, which is an online community that recognizes the wisdom of “homegrown food on every table.” Marjory has been featured as an expert on sustainable living by National Geographic, she is a speaker at Mother Earth News fairs, and is a returning guest on Coast to Coast AM. She is an author of several books, but is best known for her “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series, which is used by more than 300,000 homesteaders, survivalists, universities, and missionary organizations around the world.