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Create a Candlemas Nature Garden Centrepiece

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Candlemas is celebrated on February 2nd, coinciding with Imbolc, Groundhog Day, Persephone Day and St. Brigid’s Day in Ireland. It is a counterbalance to the Advent traditions where lighting candles brings hope and cheer into the darkest months. Now we can celebrate the lengthening days and the awakening of mother nature.

At Sunrise Waldorf School some classes make beeswax dipped candles or poured earth candles or snow candles.

You can also celebrate Candlemas at home. In our family we have often marked this day by bringing candles out into nature*, perhaps finding a space outside that you want to give special attention to, perhaps a site where something will be built or created in the future.

This little nature garden combines the awakening earth and the growing light, with live bulbs and candles. I like the contrast of the stone and mineral element, symbolising resting winter, with the living moss and new shoots of spring. You can include something from the animal kingdom as well with a small figure of stone or wood or clay.

This is a great activity to do with children. They will love to add their own creativity and find objects in nature for the little garden.

What you will need:

  1. Serving bowl or oven dish about 9 inches in diameter- I found a couple in a local thrift store.

  2. Potting soil

  3. Gravel

  4. Tealight or small votive candle (preferably beeswax)

  5. Moss – ask an old tree if you may take a little, or some from a fallen branch. A couple of different varieties enhances the look.

  6. Bulbs – many supermarkets have bulbs in pots at this time of year. Choose small plants like snowdrops, crocuses, mini-irises or mini daffodils. Or maybe you know a place where you can dig some up.

  7. Crystals (optional) – the little crystal chips you can buy in bags add a lovely touch.

  8. Small animal figure (optional) – you could also make something simple out of clay.

  9. Piece of bark approximately the length of your bowl diameter and half as high– I found an obliging piece among our firewood.

Part of the joy of creating this garden is collecting all the elements. Have fun with it, look for what speaks to you. Perhaps you have some special stones or shells you found on the beach, or a beautiful piece of wood, or a succulent that’s ready for a new home.

Building your Garden:

  1. Place your bulbs in one half of the bowl – depending on the size of your dish you might want to use 4 or 5 bulbs – and fill around the bulbs with the potting soil.

  2. Place your bark upright, horizontally up against the soil/bulb half.

  3. Add gravel to the other side, leaving a little well, and place your candle inside it.

  4. Cover the earth and surround the bulbs with moss (and succulents if you have them).

  5. Decorate your gravel side with crystals, stones or shells, if you choose.

  6. Give your garden a generous soaking and keep a spritz bottle handy for when the moss gets dry.

  7. Find the perfect spot for your little animal (if you have one).

Light your candle at each mealtime and watch the little shoots grow and blossom as the days pass.

*Do not leave candles unattended.

By Katherine Lampson

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