Fairy Gardens, what you need know about them, and why you need one!
Tiny Little Flowers, Tiny Little Pebbles, Tiny Amount Of Work, Huge Pay Off!
Recently, gardening fads have gone all over the place ranging anywhere between planting nothing but white flowers (moon gardens) to planting nothing but Native plants (weeds more or less) to tearing up grass to make way for rocks to save on water. All of these trends have something in common, the people that followed the trend found something about it they liked. From the simplicity in color selection of having no other options than planting white flowers to the ease of maintenance of Xeriscaping. Gardeners, much like flowers all have unique qualities and tastes and quirks, and that’s why this new trend, Fairy Gardens, really rings a bell for some Gardeners.
A brief description of what a Fairy Garden is:
There are a couple of schools of thought when it comes down to Fairy Gardens (not to confused with Lawn Gnomes, very VERY different, don’t think Travelocity Commercials, think more along the lines of Peter Pan).
One school of thought is that a Fairy Garden should attract fairies, whom some believe exist and reside under the leaves and bring good fortune to the garden and the visitors to the garden. Also mythology tells tales of The Garden Fairy battling evil and keeping their tiny little fairy world happy and full of mischief. Placing little lure to attract them will assure your garden to flourish and remain a happy place (but don’t expect them to pull weeds, they’re too good for that). It really depends on how out in left field you want to go with it, if you’re not looking to trap fairies to keep in a jar for your own amusement, you can purchase a fake fairy.
The second school of thought, which will go a little more hand in hand with your fake fairy, is that a tiny little garden with tiny little plants will create almost an adult doll house. A little area that you can create tiny a tiny little life using tiny little plants, furniture and even build paths and walkways for them to travel (hypothetically). Tiny little plants, tiny little furniture, but a great amount of interest. Anybody on the block can plant a row of Knock Out Roses and call it a garden, but does it really have any character? Does it really define a gardeners personality? No.
Location and Size Selection:
Of course you don’t need an entire tract of land to create a Fairy-land rival to Disney, oh no, not at all. As a matter of fact, you don’t need a yard at all. You don’t have to pick up the first shovel (or pick with the soil around here) to create a Fairy Garden! Location isn’t limited to outdoors either, Fairy gardens can be created in small terrariums, planter bowls, or even amended into an existing potted plant, the first thing you must realize is there is absolutely NOT a right and wrong when it comes down to it.
Size doesn’t matter either–when it comes to a Fairy Garden. You can devote an entire corner of a garden bed with a Suburbia of tiny little plants and accessories, its all up to you, and how the spirit moves you. Just a tiny warning, it seems that once you start a Fairy Garden, you’ll want to expand and watch it grow, but still stay very small.
Where you place your little oasis is going to really delegate what your plant selection will be, and just a heads up, just about any plant can be made into a Fairy Garden plant, but how much work are you really going to want to put into keeping things small? You don’t want your to select plants that have fantastic flowers but will soon dwarf your dwarfs (oops, Fairies, sorry). Some varieties of conifers, succulents and ground covers can be trimmed and almost bonsai-ed into plants that mimic life sized trees and flora.
Heads up on selection of plants for outdoors, annuals can be a blessing and a curse in disguise! Although they are full of color and uniqueness, they WILL have to be replaced seasonally (is that something you really want to be responsible for?). Also, herbs are your friend and most of them like Rosemary, Sages and Lavender can be trimmed to create an illusion of a miniature shrub and do double duty for you, the more you harvest the happier the plant AND the more spices you have in your spice rack.
BUT WAIT, I mentioned being able to do so in containers too….
Anything you can accomplish outside in the the yard you can replicate in an above ground container as well!
Any container will work, provided it drains and will hold soil. Make sure while selecting a container you chose one that will accommodate for a broad array of plants and Fairy Accessories. As shown in the above picture, it was as simple as a few terrarium plants planted in a lovely metal planter…the fairy just “showed up” one day. Its an excellent conversation piece (and if you’re alone in the office with it, it makes a great listener if you want to complain). If you’re going to be using your container outdoors, make sure that the selected container is weather resistant and sturdy, in case of Fairy Riots or something along that nature.
Choosing plants for your container Fairy garden is very similar to if you were to choose them for planting in the ground, with one primary exception, root space. Many conifers that look great as small bonsai type plants in the ground will establish quite a large root system and if your container is too small, you’ll have problems with one plant over taking the rest-or even worse-a difficulty keeping water to it. Plan to under-plant at first and add little bits of annual color until your permanent plants mature.
Just having plants isn’t enough, there is large selection of embellishments you can add to your Fairy garden to give it that little extra POP. Kits are available that include miniature Wheelbarrows, Shovels, Swingsets and even furniture. Adding these little bits of whimsy has the same hardscape effect as a large statue in a formal garden would.
No fairy garden is complete without some sort of pathway either! You can make it as simple or intricate as you please with possibilities including using a mosaic walkway kit, glazed pebbles and stones or even a little mortar walkway. Decorative rocks and chunks of mosses also create a magical look, without using too much effort, time or money.
You’ll find that selecting little trinkets for your Fairy Garden will become almost a hobby, finding little things wherever you go that will fit right in! Almost like a charm bracelet or scrapbook, wherever you go, you can bring back a little piece and add it to your garden, ideas include Sea Shells from trips to the beach, Bottle Caps from tasty beverages you might consume, interesting rocks you might find on hikes or even tiny fairies (you can find them at more and more gift shops nowadays.
-Cyber Geek Side Note-
I’m not big on the whole Fairy Garden Theme, but I do respect the idea and encourage you to plant one if its your bag. Here at the nursery we have tons of supplies and time to devote to you to create one of your own, and we’d LOVE for you to send us picture of your finished product. Personally I was thinking of building one here, but instead of it being super whimsical and fru-fru, I was going to get a gigantic fake insect to but in it eating the little fairies…but then again…that’s a bit dark.