Heidi Crimmin – Astrological Garden Types

Everything under the sun, including garden styles, can be viewed through an astrological lens. Since astrology is based on the law of correspondence, there are trees, plants, flowers, and herbs that have an affinity with each sign.

You can read the descriptions below according to your sun sign, but if you are familiar with your horoscope, you can also read the description that corresponds with your Moon sign, Venus sign, Ascendant, or any other dominant sign in your chart. It will give you clues about the garden style that feels right and natural to you.

Before we get into the 12 signs, we’ll say something more general about the four astrological elements and how they relate to garden design:

The three FIRE signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius) are known for being energetic, dramatic and creative.  Their preferred colors are warm, vibrant and bold. Their gardens should have a dramatic focal point, such as a sculpture or a fire feature. Find inspiration in the garden books by Thomas Hobbs (such as Shocking Beauty and The Jewel Box Garden).

The three EARTH signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) have a natural affinity to everything in the material realm and therefore are naturals at gardening, agriculture, botany, and all the earth sciences. Of all the zodiac signs, these are the most likely to be gardeners and builders; their gardens will likely include arbors, pergolas, obelisks, sheds, fences and other useful structures.  Gardening is a highly therapeutic hobby for the earthy types.

The three AIR signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius) are better known for their social and intellectual natures rather than their “green thumbs.” Their yards and gardens are often places for socializing, reading and discussion. Of the three air signs, Libra is the one ruled by beauty-loving Venus and therefore has the best aesthetic taste where garden design is concerned.

The soulful WATER signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) have vivid imaginations and a strong need for privacy. For them, gardens are a place of retreat, solitude, contemplation, and spiritual renewal. Their gardens will ideally contain at least one secluded nook and a water feature.

(Note:  The sun sign dates below are approximate and can vary slightly from one year to the next.)

ARIES (March 21-April 19)

There’s nothing dainty about this bold, energetic and forceful sign, so the Aries garden should have a distinctly masculine feel to it (certainly not the romantic cottage style!). Ruled by Mars, the Red Planet, Aries is a passionate sign that has a strong preference for warm and fiery colors, notably red. In the garden, this includes red berries (holly), red leaves (maple trees) and red flowers (geraniums). Choose plants and shrubs that have words like “burn,” “flame,” and “blaze” in the name:  burning bush, Japanese blood grass, Chilean firebush, red hot pokers, flame creeper, and the like.

The Aries glyph (symbol) resembles a sprout emerging from the soil and is a symbol of emergence, renewal, and fresh new beginnings. Spring is the Aries season, and sunrise is the Aries time of day. Aries gardeners enjoy planting bulbs (such as daffodils and crocuses) that welcome spring, and also like flowers (such as morning glories) that greet the rising sun.

This prickly sign is associated with thorn-bearing trees and shrubs (hawthorn and barberry) and plants with sharp protrusions (thistles, nettles, and cacti). Sword-shaped leaves (yucca and agave) also appeal to Aries. Include an aloe plant in the garden (or indoors) for relief from the burns that Aries is susceptible to.

Aries prefers sharp, strong tastes and smells, so his vegetable garden might include mustard, garlic, peppers and onions, along with the herb peppermint.

Impatient Aries can’t wait decades for an oak tree to grow, so he should plant fast-growing vines such as hops, honeysuckle, clematis, cup-and-saucer vine, and scarlet runner beans. Pathways in his garden should be straight, not meandering (and perhaps constructed of red bricks). Aries children thrive on competition, so challenge them to grow the tallest sunflower, the longest zucchini, or the biggest pumpkin.

Garden art that appeals to Aries might be made of metal or glass. A sculpture of a masculine mythological hero (such as heroic Mars) would be ideal. Find garden inspiration in the art of Fauvism, which is wild, spontaneous, bright and bold.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

Gardening and cooking are the quintessential hobbies of this most sensuous sign. Taurus is earthy, deeply instinctual, and profoundly attuned to natural rhythms. It is therefore very therapeutic for Taurus types to spend time in gardens, on farms, at farmers markets, and in rural environments. For Taurus imagery, just think of the Garden of Eden, the verdant Irish countryside, a Hobbit home nestled into the earth, or imagine Ferdinand the Bull peacefully relaxing in a lush pasture.

Ruled by Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, Taurus has strong aesthetic sensibilities and a streak of hedonism. Her ideal garden will be full of sensual delights. She loves fragrant flowers (such as lilacs, roses, jasmine, honeysuckle and gardenias). She appreciates sensuous textures (such as leathery hostas, soft lamb’s ear, silver sage, chenille plant, ‘Teddy Bear’ sunflowers, and grasses with soft seed heads). She delights in the sounds of humming insects, trickling water, and the deep, rich tones that emanate from wind chimes. And she loves the taste of good food, so her garden needs to be full of edibles: fresh fruits and berries to snack on, and fresh herbs and vegetables for cooking. She’ll also want comfortable seating for outdoor dining.

Taurus colors are pastels and earth tones. Taurus-ruled flowers include lilies, poppies, sweet peas, foxglove, columbines, daisies, violets, and roses (especially pink ones).  Hydrangeas appeal to her for their pastel colors and their soft and gorgeous mopheads. Taurus favors canopy trees (such as ash and cypress) and fruit-bearing trees (such as apple and pear). Taurus herbs are spearmint and cloves.

Henri Moore-type garden sculptures would likely appeal to Taurus for their solidity and sensuality. This sign is also associated with garden outbuildings that serve a practical purpose, such as greenhouses, work sheds, and potting benches.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

Gemini’s ideal garden is a light and airy place abuzz with activity. As a restless and mutable air sign, Gemini likes to see movement in the garden. This can be provided by grasses and slender trees that sway in the breeze, and also by garden accessories such as mobiles, wind catchers, wind chimes, spinners and whimsical whirligigs. “Variety is the spice of life” is Gemini’s motto, and they appreciate a variety of visual stimulation, especially including bright, youthful, and happy colors such as yellow.  

Gemini’s garden will be a welcoming place for small birds, bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects such as ladybugs. Attract birds by providing them with food, water, and shelter. Use a nectar feeder to attract hummingbirds, or just plant nectar-rich, brightly colored flowers for them. (The trumpet vine is often called a hummingbird vine.) Bees love lavender, bee balm, and apple blossoms. Butterflies are attracted to milkweed, lantana, lilac and French marigolds (among many other flowers).

Trees associated with Gemini include chestnut, walnut, and other nut-bearing trees. (Walnuts symbolize Gemini’s significant brain power.) Also favored are grasses that sway in the breeze and slender trees with many branches. Plants and flowers associated with Gemini include ferns, myrtle, maidenhair, vervain, yarrow, lily of the valley, lavender, small-scale flowers (such as buttercups and lobelia), and plants with lacy and delicate fronds. Parsley is the Gemini herb.  

Geminis crave social stimulation, so they’ll want to get involved with garden clubs, tours, classes, parties, on-line social media, and visits to botanical gardens. For intellectual stimulation, they often share gardening knowledge by teaching and writing. They also enjoy keeping garden journals and scrapbooks that bulge with sketches, articles, photographs, seed packets, pretty note cards, etc.

Since this is a word- and language-loving sign, Alphabet Gardens are ideal for small Gemini children. You create one by planting flowers with names from A (Allium) to Z (Zinnia), and by marking each one with the appropriate letter. (Buy wooden letters and dowels at a crafts store, and decorate them however you like.) Need help finding a flower beginning with the letter X?  Consider the tropical Xanthosoma (elephant ears) or a Xylobium orchid for your greenhouse.

Art and accessories for Gemini’s garden might include a sculpture of fleet-footed Mercury (Hermes), bird houses, bug hotels, wind spinners, wind chimes, mosaic stepping stones, and perhaps a tiny library for the front yard.

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

Cancer is one of the “green thumb” signs. These are natural-born caretakers who have a gift for nurturing people, plants, and pets.

Cancer’s ideal garden is a quiet, private, contemplative place to be. Pathways should have soft, natural contours, perhaps leading to a water feature. Favorite colors are those found in pearls and in the moon:   soft, iridescent, and opalescent shades of white, silver, and silvery shades of blue and grey. Sea shells and driftwood (found in the Crab’s natural habitat) are possible garden accessories.

Cancer’s flowers include poppies, hydrangeas, Queen Anne’s lace, honeysuckle, and various white and night-blooming flowers:  white peonies, white lilies, white roses, etc. Silvery flowers include dusty miller, silver ponyfoot, silver shield, licorice plant, and wormwood. Her trees are rich in sap (maples) and ones with white trunks (birch). Cancer-ruled vegetables include cucumber, cabbage, squash, and melon (all high in water content).

Two garden styles that have special appeal to Cancer types are moon gardens and memory gardens. Moon gardens are also known as night-blooming gardens. They contain flowers that unfurl in the evening and emit fragrances that attract nocturnal pollinators (moths). These flowers are often white (or pinkish) and they reflect the luminescent glow of the moon (or of artificial lighting). “Angel’s trumpet” is a favorite for moon gardens. Other nocturnal favorites are flowering tobacco, night-blooming jasmine, night phlox, evening primrose, moonflower, four o’clock, and night-blooming daylilies (an oxymoron!).  

Cancer is a sentimental, nostalgic, and history-loving sign, so memory gardens hold special appeal to people born under this sign. Cancer types will sow heirloom seeds (to connect with past generations); they’ll accessorize the garden with antiques and family heirlooms; they’ll propagate plants from cuttings that they’ve shared with loved ones; and they’ll plant trees and install benches to honor loved ones or to commemorate special events. Listen to them reminisce: “Those wind chimes came from my Aunt Helen’s garden” … “that rocking chair on the porch was my Grandma’s favorite” …  “we planted that weeping cherry tree the year that Laurel was born” ….

Cancer is a clannish and patriotic sign. Celebrate your heritage with a garden container or bed that contains the appropriate flowers, herbs or vegetables. For example, Americans can celebrate the Fourth of July with containers full of red (geraniums), white (petunias), and blue (lobelia) flowers, along with small American flags. A Mexican-themed vegetable garden bed might include salsa ingredients (tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, etc.).  An Italian-themed garden – in red, white and green containers – would surely include some tomatoes and basil. You get the idea.

LEO (July 23-August 22)

Ruled by the Sun, Leo is the sign of sun-worshippers. Their ideal garden faces south and is a fun and happy place to be.  

Leo’s colors are bright, bold, and fiery (notably yellow, orange and gold). Leo’s flowers are large and showy and include sunflowers, daffodils, marigolds, yellow lilies, poppies, and nasturtiums. Trees favored by Leo are citrus, almond, olive, and bay laurel. Herbs include St. John’s wort, chamomile, eyebright, ginger, catnip, and other herbs that brighten your mood and improve the health of your heart.

Leo’s yard and garden are where the neighborhood kids will want to come and play. It will be full of fun, games, artwork, creativity, and it may even be the place for lavish parties and entertainment.

Leo’s garden needs a dramatic focal point, perhaps a sculpture or some outdoor artwork, and certainly a fire pit for evening entertaining and conviviality. A pair of regal stone lions flanking a home’s entryway has a very Leo vibe.

Playhouses for Leo children should resemble little castles (ideally with turrets, a drawbridge, and heraldic banners). If your dog was born under the sign of Leo, build him the most palatial doghouse in the neighborhood. Don’t humiliate him with anything less.

VIRGO (August 23-September 22)

Gardening makes a great hobby for Virgo, the sign of horticulture, herbology, nutrition, and naturopathy.  The Virgo aesthetic is earthy, tidy and very well-organized:  a place for everything and everything in its place. This perfectionistic and hypercritical sign is the most likely to suffer from OWD (Obsessive Weeding Disorder). A wise man once said, “Some people only see the weeds in the garden.” Don’t be one of those people.

Virgo is the sign of oak and other nut-bearing trees. Favorite flowers include cat’s ear, yellow archangel, forget-me-nots, and various miniature and small-scale flowers that resemble polka dots (such as buttercups, violets and lobelia). Edibles include carrots and celeriac.

Virgo’s garden should certainly include lots of fresh and nutritious edibles, including assorted herbs. A big old wooden wagon wheel can be used to construct an attractive and tidy herb garden. Lay it flat on a garden bed, and you’ll have 10 or 12 segments in which to plant. Include some herbs that are soothing for Virgo’s delicate nervous system and intestines.

The current trend of creating miniature fairy gardens combines three of Virgo’s talents: gardening, miniatures, and fine craftsmanship. (Find inspiration in books by Janit Calvo, including Gardening in Miniature). A Virgo child, in particular, might really enjoy creating a Tinkerbell garden with tiny fairy flowers: cowslip, foxglove, creeping thyme, and dainty little woolly thyme. Look for flower and plant varieties containing words like “dwarf,” “elfin” and “pixie.” Cute little varieties for your vegetable garden include Bambino eggplants, Sugar Baby watermelons, and Tom Thumb lettuce.

Virgo’s garden will be a welcoming place for small birds, bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects such as ladybugs. To attract birds, provide them with food, water, and shelter (including bird feeders, bird houses, and bird baths). Hummingbirds are attracted to nectar-rich, brightly colored flowers such as trumpet vines, petunias, hollyhocks and oriental poppies. Bees love lavender, marjoram, borage, bee balm, foxglove, clover, comfrey, and apple blossoms. Butterfly favorites are milkweed, lantana, alpine aster, lavender, lilac, phlox, dill, and French marigolds.

Virgo children love creating little garden crafts and accessories, including bird houses, bug hotels, mosaic stepping stones and tabletops, small ceramic pots, lavender sachets, etc. With adult supervision, they could also design and build a tiny library for the front yard. Buy them a package of live ladybugs (at a garden center), and they’ll have a blast distributing the cute little aphid-munchers throughout your garden. Good gifts for Virgo children include seed starter kits, desktop terrariums, and sculptures of small pets.

The best accessory for Virgo’s garden is an adorable small pet.

LIBRA (September 23-October 22)

Libra is a classy and cultured sign, so Libra’s garden will be a place of grace and refinement. Ruled by Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, Librans are blessed with strong aesthetic sensibilities, including a keen eye for color, scale, proportion, and balance. They make the best interior decorators, and those same design principles can be applied outdoors to yard and garden design.

Libran colors include blue, pink and green pastels, such as the colors found in hydrangeas. Other Libran flowers are bluebells, zinnias, black-eyed Susans, impatiens, milkweed, clematis, daisies, lilies, pansies, violets, white roses, and all plants and flowers that have heart-shaped flowers or leaves, such as bleeding hearts and heart-leaf philodendron (“the sweetheart plant”).

The trees associated with Libra are linden, mulberry, ash, poplar, apple, and Japanese maple. Berries include strawberries and raspberries. Libra also rules sea grasses, deer ferns, and thyme.

Librans can find aesthetic inspiration in the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, and also from the Italian High Renaissance. A focal point in the garden might include a classical bust on a marble pedestal.

SCORPIO (October 23-November 21)

Scorpio’s garden has a gothic, Addams-family feel to it. It’s often surrounded by a wrought iron fence and there’s a threatening sign in front warning you about the attack dog. Scorpio is a sign of secrecy and privacy, and it’s associated with hidden and cavernous places. A shady, north-facing garden is fine for Scorpio, since this is a sign that shuns bright sunlight. Composting is a good activity for Scorpio, the sign that has an innate understanding of the cycle of life. As the sign of death and rebirth, Scorpios get an alchemical thrill when they get an up-close look at decaying organic matter being transformed into nutrient-dense “black gold.” Sam Llewelyn said it best: “In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death.”

Scorpio’s colors are dark and murky:  maroon, scarlet, carmine, black, dark brown, midnight blue, and deep blood red. His trees are alder, blackthorn, and ones with deep red berries. Scorpio vines are tenacious and clinging; herbs include wormwood and stinging nettle; flowers include geranium, rhododendron, red honeysuckle, anemone, ‘Black Barlow’ iris, and ‘Soulman’ dahlia. Scorpio children seem fascinated by poisonous and carnivorous plants such as pitcher plants and the Venus flytrap. Another intriguing favorite that you might find in a botanical garden is the phallic-looking Corpse Lily.  Sexy Scorpio adults can have fun reading Plants with Benefits:  An Uninhibited Guide to the Aphrodisiac Herbs, Fruits, Flowers & Veggies in Your Garden by Helen Yoest.

The Scorpio parts of the garden include the compost pit, the pet cemetery, wherever the surveillance camera is hidden, and wherever the bodies are buried.   (In all fairness, it’s also where you might find a buried treasure chest.) A pathway through the garden should lead to at least one secluded little nook. Garden art might include gargoyle sculptures and memento mori such as animal skulls. (Inspiration can be found in the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe.)

Halloween is Scorpio’s favorite holiday, and it’s the time when Scorpio gardeners enjoy scaring the wits out of the neighborhood kids by decorating the front yard with snakes, spiders, corpses, and other ghoulish things. Buy some big, fat rubbery snakes to drape over your pumpkins in the fall.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21)

Sagittarius’s garden should be spacious and full of abundant growth. This visionary and expansive sign has a natural affinity with tall trees, tall ornamental grasses, and anything else that draws the vision (and therefore the spirit) upwards and outwards to distant horizons.

Athletic, freedom-loving Sagittarius enjoys being active and social in the great outdoors, so their ideal yard is quite spacious, perhaps big enough to accommodate a dog (or maybe even a horse). At the very least, they should have proximity to a big park or some other open space.

Garden colors favored by Sagittarius are rich and royal shades of blue and purple. Flowers include azaleas, irises, and chrysanthemums. Their trees are birch, elder, sycamore, oak, ash, mulberry and chestnut.  Bamboo and cattail grass are also favorites.

Born under the sign of abundance (and perhaps excess), Sagittarian children would find it fun to grow the biggest, tallest, and longest varieties of flowers and vegetables that you can find, such as American Giant sunflowers, Chinese long beans, Yamato cucumbers, and Big Max pumpkins.

Garden art and accessories associated with this sign includes religious iconography, stained glass, altars, exotic souvenirs from world travels, sculptures with mythological themes (perhaps a Centaur), and at least one horseshoe (a symbol of good luck).

CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19)

Many great landscape architects, agriculturists, and builders were born under the practical and earthy sign of Capricorn. With their long-term perspective, they will plant and build for the enjoyment of generations to come. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago,” goes the Chinese proverb.  “The second best time is now.”  

Nature may abhor a straight line, but Capricorn, sign of orderliness and rectitude, loves them. As the sign of barriers and boundaries, he knows that “good fences make good neighbors,” and he appreciates precise boundaries and meticulous edging. Capricorn also appreciates sturdy and enduring structures. (For imagery, think of stone walls and walkways, flagstone patios, and classic-looking benches and urns.)  

Broadly speaking, the Capricorn garden aesthetic can be divided into two types: rustic and formal. The more rustic types live Spartan, minimalistic, self-sufficient lifestyles, and quite enjoy building their own yard and garden structures. The more formal types exhibit the striving, status-conscious side of Capricorn, and their gardens tend to be formal, elegant, and immaculately groomed. (For inspiration, look at images of some of the great French gardens designed by Andre le Notre.)

Capricorn colors are dark and subdued shades of green, gray, brown, and black. His traditional flower is the carnation. Trees include pine, elm, yew, aspen, poplar, and all slow-growing trees (notably oak). As a “dry” sign, there’s a natural affinity to xeriscaping and succulent gardens. (Succulents are also favored for their sculptural and architectural appeal.) Capricorn hobbies include bonsai, espalier, and arborsculpture, all of which involve disciplining trees to grow in a particular way.

Art and accessories in Capricorn’s garden might include stone sculptures; a sundial or outdoor clock (because of Capricorn’s affinity with Saturn, or Father Time); antiques and architectural fragments (because of Capricorn’s love of history); and chunks of gems and minerals (because of Capricorn’s affinity with the mineral realm). Attractive mineral specimens can accessorize table-top gardens or be used as topdressing for houseplants.

Winter is the Capricorn time of year. Andrew Wyeth nicely described this time of year when he wrote, “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.” 

AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18)

Aquarius is a social and friendly sign, so their gardens will likely be gathering places for groups of like-minded people, including the local garden club. Community gardening has special appeal to this idealistic, humanitarian, and group-oriented sign. Their streak of rebelliousness might also lead them to guerrilla gardening, which is gardening without permission on land you don’t own (often in an attempt to beautify neglected public spaces).

This future-oriented sign favors contemporary styles. Their garden containers might be made of sleek-looking chrome and will contain bright and unusual flowers.  Aquarian colors include electric blue, sky blue, azure, aquamarine, and chartreuse.

The trees associated with Aquarius are beeches and silver maples. This sign has an affinity with bird of paradise, orchids, Solomon’s seal, kumquat, elderberry, and star fruit. Aquarius is drawn to unusual, weird, and freakish looking plants, such as the carnivorous pitcher plant. Other exotic favorites, which might only be found in botanical gardens, have names like Monkey Face orchid, Bat-faced Cuphea, Swaddled Babies, and Hooker’s Lips.  

Aquarians are intrigued by the most bizarre-looking fruits and vegetables found at the grocery store, including horned melons, hairy little rambutans, the citrus fruit known as Buddha’s hand, and the fractal-looking Romanesco broccoli. Unusual vegetables found in their gardens might include yellow watermelons, blue potatoes, white tomatoes, and striped radishes.  

Garden art and accessories for Aquarians would likely be sleek, modern, and highly original, including bright colors such as chartreuse and sky blue. For inspiration, check out the wild and weird environmental artwork by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, bizarre topiary shapes by the fictional Edward Scissorhands, and environmental art by Andy Goldsworthy.

Aquarian garden sculptures might include a statue of Prometheus, the mythological titan who stole fire from the gods for the enlightenment of humanity.

P.S. Your Aquarian dog would prefer an ultramodern doghouse.

PISCES (February 19-March 20)

Pisces is a sign known for its spirituality and creative imagination. It is also a monastic sign that needs occasional periods of solitude and escape from the workaday world. As such, the ideal garden for Pisces is a quiet place for contemplation, creative inspiration, and spiritual renewal. This enchanting and magical sign has a natural affinity to miniature fairy gardens.

The colors of Pisces include sea green, soft purple, iridescent and opalescent hues, and soft colors that nicely flow together, as seen in Impressionist paintings.  Edouard Manet wrote, “There are no lines in nature, only areas of color, one against another.” Another great Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, always said, “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.”

Pisces, sign of the fish, is ruled by Neptune, god of the oceans. It is therefore associated with places that are damp, wet or foggy. A koi pond makes a luscious addition to the Pisces garden. Pisces rules trees, mosses, and ferns that grow near water and also aquatic plants such as water lilies. The weeping willow is a favorite because of its fluid and graceful growth habit.  

The Pisces garden style is soft, feminine and romantic. It might have meandering pathways covered with a ground cover that looks like soft carpet. Pisces favors delicately scented flowers (such as freesia and lilac). Her vegetable garden might include lettuce, cucumber, melon and pumpkin (all high in water content).  Pisces herbs are ones that promote vivid dreams, such as skullcap and mimosa. Grow some mint for a nice afternoon cocktail (a mint julep).

The current trend of building a “she shed” (or “he shed”) in the yard is very appealing to Pisces types.  Such an outbuilding could be used for creative, artistic or spiritual pursuits (such as meditation), or just for an occasional escape or afternoon nap.

Pisces-themed art and accessories should add a spiritual dimension to the garden. They might include a water feature; a gazing ball balanced on a pedestal; a Buddha statue; a walking labyrinth (if space permits); a yin/yang pattern made of carpet-like groundcovers; or statues of cherubs, angels and saints. St. Francis of Assisi is a garden favorite.

Find inspiration in the book Spiritual Gardening by Peg Streep and by looking at images of Monet’s garden at Giverny.

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