Halving The Fairy Garden, Doubling Down on Peace

Miniatrue Buddha

Miniature Buddha

The dictionary defines peace in a couple of ways:

“freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility” or “freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.”

My personal mantra for attaining peace is a mixture of what we all learned in kindergarten coupled with the moral philosophy of the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Simple, eh?

Yet here we are in a fractious and complicated world, trying to keep our heads up and our eyes open. I struggle finding the balance between remaining informed and drowning in the daily assault of depressing, maddening and unwelcome news.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been mentally planning a miniature peace garden. While it’s true that merely being in the garden is peaceful and uplifting, I wanted something more. I craved a touchstone for my own inner peace.

I started with a miniature Buddha, long a symbol of peace and enlightenment. I discovered my Buddha on a website dedicated to gardening in miniature.

Alyssum, Thyme, Baby Tears, Buddha

Buddha surrounded by sweet Alyssum, Thyme and Baby Tears

I bought a pair of shallow, glazed pots in a soothing green at a local shop.

miniature peace garden

Peace garden on the deck near our front door

Buddha sits under a tree of Lemon Thyme, with Alyssum on each side. I carpeted the rest of the garden in cool Soleirolia soleirolii also known as baby tears. Other than the boulder-sized stones, the rest of the items came from my fairy garden stash.

The cool colors and the lovely honey-scented  Alyssum are a balm to the nerves. As the summer wears on, the Alyssum will fall softly over the edge of the pot.

Across the log bridge you’ll find a small bench at the top of a path, and a few blue glass stones to suggest water.

Miniature Peace Garden

Across the bridge, a cool pond and a bench for quiet reflection

A simpler version of the fairy garden, reduced by half, sits on the wall along the walkway. Our Little Free Library is undergoing some renovations, so the books are temporarily in a purple bin.

Fairy garden and Little Free Library

A smaller fairy garden, moved to the front of the garden; our Little Free Library undergoing a renovation; LFL books are in the purple bin

This small garden brings me moments of peace. I hope visitors will gather a moment’s peace as well during these trying times.

I’m sending hope and light and love out into the world. Without them I’d be lost.

Miniature peace garden at dusk

Miniature peace garden at dusk

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67 thoughts on “Halving The Fairy Garden, Doubling Down on Peace

  1. Just reading about your miniature peace garden slows my breath and lifts my spirits, Alys! The tiny Buddha and the thoughtfully chosen plants make my heart smile. It will be lovely to have a special place to focus on peaceful thoughts and meditate in your garden. I love how you are also sharing a special fairy garden with everyone who stops to visit your Little Free Library! You are such a blessing in our world, dear Alys! Namaste, sweet friend. ♡

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dawn, I love that these images slowed your breath and lifted your spirits. I suspect you carry the weight of the world at times, too, for the simple reason that you’re a caring soul. I had to wait till the temperatures dropped again so that it wasn’t overly hot at the workbench. I couldn’t wait to get started. It was a pleasure choosing the plants, ordering the Buddha, buying the pots, etc., all sandwiched in between daily life. Now that the weather will be dry for months (ugh) I can safely leave the fairy garden near the curb and the Little Free Library. The pot is plastic so no worries of it falling on anyone. My neighbor has a day care, so the little ones like to come onto our deck and play. It’s nice to know that little hands are enjoying it.

      Namaste. ♡

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your miniature peace gardens Alys – that little bench and the lantern are especially adorable – I’m sure all visitors to your house have their spirits lifted just by seeing them.

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    • Thank you, Lynn!, I think if we all try to lift each other up in whatever way we can, the world will be better for it. Planning this little garden, choosing the plants and finally putting it all together was good for my soul. People who create, like you, also lift souls. Beautiful arts and crafts are such an enjoyable part of life. ♡

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  3. “Yet here we are in a fractious and complicated world, trying to keep our heads up and our eyes open. I struggle finding the balance between remaining informed and drowning in the daily assault of depressing, maddening and unwelcome news.”
    Your focus leads to a path of reasonable sanity in an insane world.

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  4. Another delightful little idea from Gardening Nirvana – I especially like the second garden with the small lake and the resting place to contemplate the sight and sound of the water….. 🙂

    Of course the most important thing we can all do is send light and love and hope out into the world and to keep those things shining in our own hearts and minds as much as possible. Brava Alys!!.

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    • Pauline, you make me smile. Thank you. I like to imagine myself and others in that cool, green place, all the more so since recently reading about Siddhartha. Dedicating one’s life in search of meaning and enlightenment while at the same time minimizing your stamp on the world. He’s inspiring, as is the Dalai Lama. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. When I picked up some clothes from the dry-cleaners today, a place I’ve gone for many years, I asked the gentlemen how he was doing. He’s always lighthearted and joking as is his wife. The last time I saw him, something had changed. When we spoke today he told me he had cancer. We said he is taking it in stride, because he knows he’s led a good life. He told me that he sits quietly for ten minutes, eyes closed, and immune to the outside world and it sets him right for the day. Be the peace. ♡

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      • I’m glad to hear you have been reading about Siddhartha – my Siddy’s namesake! I am currently reading another book on the eight-fold path and trying to up my game again 🙂 The only way to change the world is to live the change we wish to see. Your man is on the path! Be the peace ❤

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        • Reading made me appreciate Siddy’s name all the more. I remember spotting a Siddhartha statue in your garden a few summers ago. Marlene is hoping to find a full-sized one for her garden. I hope she can find one via freecycle.

          Be the peace, be the peace, be the peace. xo

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          • Sidd still sits in my garden, even as it is demolished about him. It’s a particularly serene statue of the Meditating Buddha, which I love. I’ve always wanted to find a St Francis of Assisi statue to accompany him – so I could have both Sidd and Frank in the garden spreading peace and love 🙂

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  5. Beautiful gardens. You sentence about trying to find a balance between being informed and not getting overwhelmed by it all really resonates with me. When I told Mr Snail the other day that I couldn’t face watching the TV news any more he got rather cross and told me how important it is to know what’s going on… I tried to explain that I was getting plenty of news from other sources, but I think he felt I was being an ostrich. Anyway, I have been finding solace in the soil – I can forget the world a little when I am nurturing my plants. I think everyone needs one of your little gardens!

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    • Thank you, Ms. Snail. Like you, I find solace in the soil. It’s interesting what we gravitate toward when our time is our own. For me it’s often solitude: in a book or the garden, cutting flowers or puttering around the house, petting the cats or helping someone in need. As someone who absorbs the energy around them, good or bad, I completely empathize with you. I even self-sensor my movie and media interactions, knowing that seeing something upsetting will settle on me and lay me low. I don’t think we’re ostriches at all but people who feel deeply and as such can’t take in the constant barrage of information. Things have changed. When I was a girl, my parents watched the nightly news, delivered in a calm manner by an educated news person. They also read the paper. Now it’s 24/7 and it’s everywhere. Social media, blogging, newspapers, TV, billboards, and even bars and restaurants often televise news. Since the US election last fall, things to worry about seem even more accelerated. It’s exhausting. Globally, we have contentious elections going on in several countries, the refugee crisis and on and on. I think our mental health *requires* regular breaks. Arms around you, sister. ♡

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  6. Huge ripples spread from one tiny pebble, and I hope much peace spreads from your tiny garden, in much the same way. If one passer-by smiles and feels a moment of joy and peace, you have begun a ripple in the world. And I think the scents and smells you have chosen are perfect!

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  7. A peace garden, lovely idea and it is really beautiful. So glad you found a way to escape. I agree with your philosophy, if we all could live by the golden rule it would be a much more peaceful world. When I’m hiking, I’m able to forget about all the evil and focus on how beautiful this earth is. Peace to you Alys!

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    • Thank you, Karen. Peace to you, too. Hiking is a wonderful escape. I’ve fallen out of the habit after the wet winter, though I have been walking on paved trails with friends. It’s wonderful solace. This week I spotted a pair of geese and five, fluffy off-spring. I wanted to stay there all day. Nature in all her forms lifts my spirits.

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  8. Did you realize that Wesak (or Vesak), the primary Buddhist holiday that commemorates the Buddha’s enlightenment, birth, and death, started yesterday? Your Peace Garden is perfectly timed for the occasion.

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    • Making the garden did bring a level of peace. Seeing it everyday is helpful way to remain grounded in the present. Staying off of Facebook is helping, too. These are indeed crazy, scary times. It’s overwhelming. ♡

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  9. What a beautiful, uplifting post — and what gorgeous miniature gardens you’ve created! Your little peace oases are a lovely manifestation of a couple of mantras I’ve been repeating with increasing frequency: “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and “Do what you can where you are with what you have.” We may not be able to stop the giant destructive machines of institutionalized greed, but we CAN choose how we respond to them. And your beautiful response will send out little ripples of peace and reassurance to everyone who encounters your post. THANK YOU.

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    • Thank *you*, Heidebee. Your words are a gift. I’ve always liked “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I don’t recognize the second quote, but I like it. Instead of hand-wringing, getting out there and doing something, anything, that moves us forward. I hope you’re feeling a bit better with the passing days. You had a nasty fall, so it stands to reason that it will take some time for a full recovery. It you’re anything like me, you’ll have no patience for it, but patience we must have. Sending peace your way. ♡

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      • Peace to you also, Alys. ❤💕 And thank you for your kind wishes! You called it right: I have no patience for being injured, but at least now I’m at about 85% instead of 50%. Progress, no matter how slow, is a good thing.

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  10. What beautiful gardens you have made. They feel peaceful and I’ll keep the photos for future reference. You said it perfectly on finding the balance. I turn on the news with the sound off. If there is not imminent danger present, I go about my business. It’s not my circus nor my monkeys. They can play that game all day. The more peaceful I stay, the more I radiate out into the world. It’s that way with anything. I would like to find a garden sized Buddha that someone is giving away. Spent 3 days this week in the upper garden with resting periods under the trees. Glorious! Now I have the energy to lift others. As soon as the rain stops, I’ll be back out there. Have a little faith that it will all work out perfectly. The 45th still thinks he’s on his own reality show. 🙂 I think the rude awakening will come. :)Giant hugs,

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    • Thank you, Marlene. I hope you find a full-sized Buddha for your garden. That would be incredible. Do you have a freecycle in your area or one of those Next Door groups? I’ve seen people give and receive interesting things. Someone might be selling a home and they want to pass on their statuary. You never know. I’m glad you are feeling energized. From where I sit, I’ve seen you lift others all over the blogging world as well as within your circle of friends and family. You’re the bee’s knees. I hope 45 gets his comeuppance soon. I hope you have some dry days ahead, Marlene. We’re expecting some rain here next week. Hugs ♡

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    • I’ve been watching your election process from here. I know Brexit has created a lot of stress for you. We were sure Brexit wouldn’t pass, and then we were sure that 45 wouldn’t be elected. Stressful times indeed. An artist/friend is giving the library a whole new look. I’m so excited. I’ll write more about it as things progress.

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      • Brexit is a bad word for some over here – (I include myself here just for clarity – I voted to stay in the EU) the vote to exit the EU was used as an excuse to make a stand and be heard by those people who felt they didn’t have a say and had to live with the immediate effects of a sudden high immigrant arrival in their area and felt that they had stolen their jobs and invaded their schools and access to health care etc. Most of them (and I know a few) did not fully realise the implications of leaving and the fact that it would not have the impact on immigration that they wanted – putting it bluntly sending the foreigners home!! Truth lies somewhere in the fact that immigration since the free movement in Europe has been handled very badly both by this country and the EU itself. We are a tiny island – growing rapidly with an ageing population and little money available to spread thinly over our NHS, schools and social care and when people cannot get their children into a local school or get a doctors appointment for over 2 weeks the immigrants were easy target to put the blame on. In actual fact most immigrants aid our NHS and service industries – they are hard workers but equally some have come to access our benefits system and although this is just a minority it is this that the press pick up on and then it clouds good judgement and stirs up hatred in communities. I am not sure myself where all this is going and worry over who to vote for – their promises in their manifestos are often empty and at worst lies.
        Keep us posted on the Library – I wish we had this scheme over here – sometimes I have come across an old British red telephone kiosk that someone has converted into a library for the use of the village.

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  11. How beautiful, Alys. Like everyone else who has commented, I can feel the peace and serenity coming through. Thank you.
    I was delighted to see that a Little Free Library has arrived in a street near me! I must get some photographs and write about it ~ and deliver some books to it.

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    • Thank you, Anne. I’m glad this post is resonating with so many. I’m also delighted to hear that you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood. That is exciting! I do hope you’ll post about it. There are several more in my neighborhood, too, in the few years since we installed out box. There is even one fashioned after Tardus, the blue box in Dr. Who. I keep meaning to take photos and write a blog, but time gets away from me. ♡

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  12. I could drop right into the garden with the water and the bench. Aahhh. Exhale. It made me think I should create a peaceful little corner in my garden. Keep up the news blackout. It helps immensely.

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    • Are you on a news blackout now, Lisa? Good for you. I hope you’ll set up a little peace garden. You can create one inside or out. It might be just the thing as you manage through your remodel. Best of luck with it all. ♡

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  13. Pingback: Little Free Library | Anne Lawson

  14. That is really lovely Alys! Especially as it stands near your front door where visitors can also stop for a moment and reflect. I really thought the blue stones were water – such a good idea! Hope you feel calmer soon. As Lisa said before, a news blackout can help immensely. After all, what was news today will be forgotten in a week or so and the next story will be creating chaos! 😉

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    • Thank you so much, Cathy. You’ve planted a big smile on my face. I bought a bag of those smooth, blue glass stones several years ago at a craft store and have found them useful for a number of miniature garden projects. I like your attitude toward today’s news begin tomorrows forgotten story. I’m scaling back and it’s helping. xo

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  15. Out with the bad air, in with the good! Hi ((Alys)), seems like your little fairy gardens are like air purifiers. That’s a great Budda, I’m glad you found piece of mind building a garden for him to reside in. I especially like the second dish with the bench near the stone creek. Your home is so inviting. I havent managed much outside yet but did spray all the dirt and dush of the porch one day. So you’re paintiing your library?! Were you just tired of the wood look. I haven’t decided on colours yet and almost always change my mind at the garden centre anyways, LOL. So I might just go and see what looks good. I did yellow and pink last year and liked that. I think each year should be different though. The news is so very fustrating isn’t it. I’m inclined to turn it off when it gets too much. Hard to do but worth it to have carefree days xoxo k

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    • Hello Ms. Boomdeeadda, I’m glad you like the Buddha. He’s a great touchstone. Everything about this little garden soothes my spirit: the cool ground cover, the sweet smell of Alyssum and the tiny lemon thyme shaped like a small tree. mmmmmmm So the library started leaking during the rain. The wood, even though recycled, continued to shrink allowing water in. I covered the entire library with a large piece of foam and plastic packing material till the wood dried out. My friend Donna had her painter come to seal, prime and paint to protect it. The next steps are decorative and quite fanciful. There will be a faux tree “growing” out of the back of the library, and the roof will be painted to look like a little cabin. The project has dragged on a bit as these things often do, so a few people thought the library was done. I’m excited to see it finished so I can put the books back inside, but it hasn’t stopped visitors from visiting and exchanging books. That makes me happy.

      I’m glad you got your decks cleaned off from the winter debris. We’ve had heavy winds these past few days, so shortly after putting out our summer furniture and awnings, the wind blew pine needles all over everything. So what did you end up spotting at the garden center? I loved that place on our visit. And the garden, too. What fun. xo

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      • Oh how fun, a reno! LOL I will anxiously await the reveal then.
        I wasn’t able to get to the garden centre, no time after all. Which is ok since the weekend weather was good for gardening. Raining and cool here. Off to my eye Dr this am then picking out new glasses! I’m getting my own renovation, ha! xox k

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  16. I love reading your blog, Alys, and enjoy all the detailed comments from your pals out in the world. If there was some way for me to shelter you from the turmoil in the world, I would try. I’m sorry it affects you so deeply…..but I do think that your wonderful writing skills reflect your depth of feeling. Your peace garden can be a little place of renewal for you.

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    • Mary Elizabeth, you are so dear. Thank you. I’ve had a strong sense of empathy my whole life, and as such, gradually learned that I need to protect my heart when I can. I avoid certain movies and TV shoes and also situations that I know will be difficult. Thank you for being my friend.

      It’s wonderful having friends around the world. I would love reading any blog you thought to write. You have a gift.

      Sending love across the miles.

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  17. As your Buddha is a touchstone, this post has clearly touched many people. I love that you felt a need, had an idea, and went out and put it together. Here’s to many moments of peace in this beautiful place you have created. Love you!

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    • Thank you, Laurie. What a lovely thing to say. It’s often the little things, isn’t it, that help us feel grounded. Thanks for reading all my posts. I know you’re incredibly busy. I hope you’re taking a few moments at the end of each day to breathe. I often think that the best gift one could give to a busy friend is a few hours with a personal assistant. You are so darn busy! I hope we can manage a group Skype sometime soon. Love you.

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