I am not about to claim to be a goth. I do not apply make up announcing it to the world, nor do I dress or decorate my part of Sneer HQ in the proper aesthetic, aside from the occasional Baphomet, of course. I get the Depressions. I have met Marilyn Manson in the 1990s. I have known lots of goths — many of whom are lifelong adherents to the style.
I don’t know why I opened this like I’m on trial here, hoping that Real Goths don’t scoff at me and say “what would SHE know, look at her striped bright shirt!” I shouldn’t worry because they know that true gothery is found inside of the sullen human heart, and it comes easily to me when I decide to flex that little alabaster muscle that’s shaped like a raven. That’s enough for me to tell you how to garden gothically.
Assuming that your manse doesn’t have a gorgeous conservatory where you get to play pretend to be Morticia Addams, you will want to enjoy the outside garden after the sun goes down. Who wants to risk a tan? Luckily, there are many kinds of flowers that bloom at night. Often, these are big, white, fragrant flowers which attract moths which are also your friends. I prefer the Moonflower and Datura, or Devil’s Trumpet. (Which, I am going to mention here and now that it bothers me that the Angel’s Trumpet is often called Datura — it is Brugmansia and it is my good friend, thank you for never confusing the two again.) The fragrances are intoxicating. The flowers are hypnotizing, and a little frightening!
Boring normal people will speak lovingly of the tender beauty of delicate flowers, whose petals are soft and lovely. They are to be picked and arranged into bouquets — the flowers, not the people. Regular flowers are colorful and the butterflies and bees dance around them. Goths and Black Metal fans alike agree that this can be SICKENING and where it’s at, horticulturally, is with the plants that have turned the tables and eat the flesh of the living! Pitcher plants, sundews, and the eternally popular venus fly trap will pick YOU if you don’t watch out! Amaze your friends and intimidate your enemies with proud displays of death-bringing plants. You might have to display them indoors depending on what you want and where you live, but maybe that’s part of your thrill, you sickos.
We all yearn for the hour when the black flowers blossom, but for now, most of them are actually really really really dark purple or red. That’s okay. They get the point across when you have a bunch of them growing up by your wrought iron fence line, warning people to beware. There are Tulips and Irises and Roses who bring the darkness, but also this one I just learned about called a Black Hollyhock, or Alsea rosea nigra. They are all beautiful and buddy up nicely next to those Night Flowers, probably. There is also an exotic flower known as the Bat Flower which is not great for our American Gardens, but amazing as your temperamental showpiece houseplant. Give it a name, give it tribute, pray to it.
There are plenty of plants that you could grow that might make you, or any guest, child, or animal, get sick and DIE. Do you see beauty in that? Are you one of THOSE goths? How lucky for you because there are so many to choose from! Aside from the Datura and Brugmansia which I have already mentioned (and which some people use recreationally and by all accounts experience a complete break with reality and tend to often see the animated decaying corpses of their dead relatives for some reason), other gothic plants you could plant include: Poet’s Narcissus, Belladonna, Monkshood, Foxglove, but I am sure there are plenty more to choose from.
Don’t Forget Decorations!
You didn’t think gardening was only about the plants did you? Be sure to accent your yard with wrought iron fences, antique metal scythes, Alice in Wonderlandesque giant mushrooms made of glass, and fantastical sculptures that would cause Tim Burton to smile. In fact, load up on that Alice in Wonderland theme.
If you include a water feature, put little glowing fairy houses around it. I think a lot of goths also are into fairies and gnomes and pixie sorts of things. Add little toadstool homes as small decorations. They are cute. If you have a tree, add a more pagan version of those kindly old tree faces to it.
If you have any building that goes up to about twenty feet over the ground, add a real bat house. In fact, do that anyway because we need to give our bats places to roost! Love your bats, goth or not!