Jessi Bloom’s Creating Sanctuary is a beautiful guide on how to honor your land while honoring your self. It’s part garden design, part plant-based medicine, part soul-healing. She talks about creating a sacred garden space that aligns with your spiritual self before advising on how best to care for that self, physically and mentally. Though the premise sounds a little woo-woo, I found the book provides both inspiration and information in fair proportions. As she says, we all want “peacefulness, protection from a harsh world, and rejuvenation.” So having an expert like Bloom to help with that makes good sense.
Sacred Space, Sacred You
The first section deals with imagining and building your garden, addressing design elements and meaningful physical objects. She discusses the importance of listening for the land’s spirit before addressing spiritual objects like bells, altars, mandalas, etc. The book’s middle discusses the how-to of garden installation and includes a small encyclopedia of 50 sacred plants, based on medicinal uses and ancient myths. There’s an excellent chart on healing plants, their benefits, and how to use them. Plus, recipes for handy things like skin salve and natural bug repellent. Readers may find the last section a bit on the hippie side with daily rituals and mindfulness exercises but for the spiritually inclined, Bloom offers really useful ideas.
An Aspirational Dream
Like all great gardening books, there are alluring photos and crisply laid out exercises and recipes. Photos of Bloom show her doing yoga poses and harvesting plants. Her life looks of course too perfect to be true but that’s what we all want, right? The life of a relaxed, healthy gardener who lives in a quiet, eden-like setting. Overall, Creating Sanctuary is a helpful book if you want guidance on that, proving that plants really can make us happier.