No Bigger Than Thumbelina

fairy garden jungle

Fairy garden jungle?

Imagine for a moment that you’re no bigger than Thumbelina. You’ve been away for a while, and when you return your garden is overgrown.

Nature’s been kind this year. The longed-for rain finally fell and the earth smiled. Precious seeds pushed up through the dampened soil, welcomed by the warming sun.

curb garden pink flower

They grew healthy and strong. Encouraged by continued rains, seedlings turned into plants. Starter leaves became true leaves and from there they spread. Tiny greens stretched out across the land, filling the once-vacant landscape.

The fairy house still stands, but the garden surrounding it looks more like a forest. The giant gardener who presides over the land retreated for quiet contemplation.

Allowing nature to be her guide, the giant gardener issued a decree:

The land heretofore known as the fairy garden will be given over to the trees and any tiny deer passing by.

fairy garden deer

Foraging in the forest

And it was so.

The giant gardener waved her magic spade and a lake-side, fairy-sized, mossy, watery retreat appeared.

fairy garden lake

Fairy Garden Lakeside Retreat

Verdant moss to tickle the toes blankets the earth. Tiny succulents line the edges for privacy and a break from the wind.

fairy garden chair and lantern

For reading by lamp light

A small chair for reading nestles in the greens, and a hammock is at the ready nearby.

fairy garden hut with canopy

Lots of places to relax, but it’s particularly fragrant under the umbrella

Fairies can cool off in an improvised lake, a ceramic bowl rescued from a nearby thrift shop.

fairy garden ceramic pond

On Fairy Garden Pond

All our welcome in the wee-sized, lake-side fairy garden retreat.

A straw umbrella, made from the shell of an orange and a few strips of raffia give shelter from the hot sun.

fairy garden grass hut

Refreshed from a recent rain

There is, however, a small price of admission: one must possess a child-like imagination and the ability to leave one’s worries at the foot of the tiny ladder below.

fairy garden rope ladder

Leave your troubles at the foot of the ladder

Top Ten Reasons to Grow a Fairy Garden

Everyone loves a top ten list.*

If you’ve been on the fence about starting a fairy garden, read on. By the end of my top ten, I hope you’re ready to let your creative juices take flight.

Lets dig in.

10

Fescue yurt and an orange peel umbrella

Fescue yurt and an orange peel umbrella

Fairy gardens are a short cut to our inner child. Not the cranky, I-don’t-want-to-take-a-bath-and-go-to-bed inner child but the child that loves digging in the dirt with a spoon.  Remember chasing butterflies and dandelion fluff on a warm summer day? Fairy gardens are a wonderful way to express that carefree joy once again.

9

Replanted Fairy Garden, The Long View

Fairy Garden on the Deck

You don’t need a lot of space to grow a fairy garden. You can plant in a pot on your patio or fill an old wheelbarrow in your back yard. Grow your tiny garden indoors or out. Let your imagination be your guide.

8

fairy garden lavender bed

Lavender mattress frame

Fairy gardening is affordable…or free. You don’t need to buy a thing. A traditional fairy garden might live under a shrub or near the forest floor. Smooth stones make wonderful seats and twigs are perfect for fences, walkways and four-poster beds.  Fairies enjoy resting on the soft side of a flower petal with a blanket fashioned from a sprig of fern.

7

One spooky Halloween night

One spooky Halloween night

Decorating on a dime. If you love decorating but have run out of money or rooms, this is the hobby for you. You can switch out the decor of your tiny garden as often as you like. It’s fun to put up lights for the holidays or lay down green stones for St. Patrick’s Day. The sky’s the limit, without the price tag.

6

fairy garden chairs and tableFairy gardens are a fun way to up-cycle household items. I’ve used wine corks, empty tea light holders, scraps of ribbon and the cap from a bottle of champagne, pictured above. You can use up old paint, or give a second life to a discarded toy. I love the challenge of using things I have on hand.

5

Fallen Log Bridge

Fallen Log Bridge

Scavenging for your fairy garden is a great way to spend time outdoors. I brought home a tiny “log” from one of my hikes and turned it into a bridge. I used broken twigs from a pine tree to make a small rope ladder. One year I fashioned a hammock from the soft petal of a magnolia. Using nature’s discards is fun.

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fairy garden birthday

Celebrating birthdays in the fairy garden

At a loss for words? Fairy gardens are wonderful conversation starters for guests five through 105. People always have questions or comments when they see my fairy garden. Chatting about fairies is a terrific icebreaker.

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Fairy House

This fairy house roof line is decorated with straps from an old pair of sandals, a bottle cap and a bit of glitter. The door is cut from the tough bark of a large fern with a seed for a door handle.

Fairy gardening is a unique way to express thoughts and emotions that are hard to put into words. Creative endeavors help lower stress and anxiety. An hour in your fairy garden can help you feel calmer and happier. It allows you to create something uniquely yours which in turn can bring you a sense of pleasure.

2

fairy garden sign and hammock

Tiny garden gifts from friends: a wee little welcome sign, a small hammock and a woodland chair

Your friends will join in the fun. A few of my friends started their own fairy garden. Several others send me wonderful little garden treasures in the mail. I’ve found a few anonymous surprises on my doorstep and even more in the garden. My neighbor’s daycare children add flowers and the odd sticker to let me know they’ve stopped by. It’s fun to be a part of this not-so-secret society of fairy lovers.

1

fairy garden rope ladder

This way to the fairy garden

Designing and tending a fairy garden allows your imagination to soar. There are no rules, no guidelines and no restrictions. Creative endeavors relax the mind and feed the soul. Even the busiest among us can carve out time to tend to a wee garden. In exchange, the tiny garden will tend you.

Stay tuned for my latest fairy garden creation: time at the lake.

*There’s a website called ListVerse that publishes top ten lists. According to their About page: “We publish lists that intrigue and educate, specializing in the bizarre or lesser-known trivia.”

Fairy Merry Christmas

Winter Solstice just passed in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning our daylight hours will start to grow longer. My friends in the Southern Hemisphere are honoring the longest day of the year.

Meanwhile, San Jose’s fairies are celebrating the arrival of several wet storms, a welcome pause in our very long drought.

Merry Christmas!
Happy Solstice!
Good tidings of summer!
And for those of you feeling the winter blues, just think: The first day of spring is just three months away.

fairy garden Christmas long view

Fairy Garden Festivities

fairy garden kitty with scarf

Look who has a bright red scarf for the holidays?

fairy garden with reindeer

There are a couple of reindeer on the roof. The rest of the team must be on a coffee break.

fairy garden merry christmas sign

Merry Christmas!

 

The Luck of the Draw: Fairy Gardening 101

You won’t believe my luck!

Sheryl Normandeau, the blogger behind Flowery Prose, hosted a book giveaway.  Yours truly, lover of all fairy gardening, won!

Sheryl reviewed two books on her blog, Fairy Gardening 101 by Fiona McDonald and Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden – Julie Bawden-Davis and Beverly Turner, then generously gave both of them away.

Here is an excerpt of her review of McDonald’s book:

Fairy gardening 101 book

Side by side: My Fairy Garden and a book filled with future inspiration

This purposeful how-to book gives you all the information you need to create a fairy garden, with lists of supplies, suggestions for interesting containers or settings, and tips for successful long-term maintenance of your beautiful creation. Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions cover the making of miniature furniture, fences and other garden structures – and, of course, even the fairies themselves! What I’ve always loved about fairy gardens is the use of recycled/upcycled materials and found objects (either natural or man-made) that you discover in your home, yard, neighbourhood…or garage or thrift sale! The sky truly is the limit when it comes to sourcing materials for your mini-garden – and that’s half the fun!

In addition to blogging from the Canadian prairie, Sheryl writes numerous articles and short stories. She is a contributor to the forthcoming book “Growing Gooseberries” in The Prairie Garden 2017: Fruit and Berries available this month.

One of my favorite chapters gives instructions for building your own fairy garden furniture, including a fancy looking canopy bed. Once I’m back on my feet I’m going to give that a whirl. Another chapter features fairy garden kits to give as gifts. Isn’t that a fun idea? I don’t know if I’ll be able to muster the energy between now and Christmas, though I know two little girls that would delight in one. I might put something together next spring.

Thank you, Sheryl, for this treasured gift!

Fairy Garden Halloween

fairy garden moon

Fairy Garden at Dusk

The wall is silence, the grass is sleep,
Tall trees of peace their vigil keep,
And the Fairy of Dreams with moth-wings furled
Plays soft on her flute to the drowsy world.

~Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

fairy garden halloween house

Welcome

fairy garden bench

Please have a seat

We call them faerie. We don’t believe in them. Our loss.

~Charles de Lint

fairy garden succulent fence

We’re over here. Please come join us.

And as the seasons come and go, here’s something you might like to know.
There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air,
playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day.
So listen, touch, and look around – in the air and on the ground. And if you watch
all nature’s things, you might just see a fairy’s wing

~Author Unknown

fairy garden kitty

We’re playing hide and seek

fairy door

Is anybody home?

A rustle in the wind reminds us a fairy is near.

~Author Unknown

fairy garden lantern

Do you hear the rustle in the wind?

fairy garden pumpkins

Happy Halloween

Special thanks to Everything Fairyland for the wonderful compilation of quotes.

When Six-Year-Old’s Decorate the Fairy Garden

Christmas Fairy Garden

Christmas Fairy Garden

The neighborhood kids were off from school last week, and a few of them came looking for the fairy garden. I moved my miniature garden to the back patio in December to make room for Christmas decor. I never moved it back.

My son helped me carry it back to the front deck and the little ones got to work.

fairy garden with azaleas

Aliens and Azaleas: The Magic of Being Six

fairy garden detail

Check out the detail work

finishing touches

Finishing touches

DSC_0042

When I was six, our street ended where a field began. A nursery operated on the other side, so we enjoyed an expansive view. Across the street was a vacant lot that filled with weeds after the rain.  With the freedom to roam that we had in those days, I remember gathering milk weed and clover and spending hours day dreaming while weaving creations with those glorious, green weeds.

It’s been years since I thought about that field, but it may explain my love of fairy gardening. Creating in miniature carries you back in time. It’s part wanderlust and a generous helping of nostalgia, but also a connection to a simpler time, of days spent belly down in a field of greens lost in thought until my mother called me home for supper.

ontario, canada

With my younger sister in our back yard, Ontario, Canada, early 1960’s

Pages: Fairy Garden Frivolity

Welcoming Christmas in the Fairy Garden

I thought I spotted Santa in the fairy garden! On closer inspection I realized it was a pair of reindeer and a bag of toys. Santa must be down at the local coffee shop, getting his fill before the big night. The reindeer lingered to see if they could spot any carrots growing in the curb garden. Sorry fellows. I’ve been a lazy winter gardener this year.

reindeer on the roof fairy garden

A couple of reindeer in search of a carrot

Boomdee sent this charming little Christmas sign all the way from Alberta, Canada. Isn’t it adorable? It will be welcoming the wee visitors for years to come.

christmas fairy garden

All decked out for the holiday

The miniature cyclamen is back in business, preferring the colder weather to our summer heat. The baby tears revived as well and are filling in nicely. I added a pair of hypoestes also known as polka dot plants  for a bit of white contrast. I’ve never seen this white variety. They’re usually pink.

cyclamen and baby tears

Baby tears and cyclamen

White 'polka dot' plant

White ‘polka dot’ plant

In case they’re looking for some exercise, I’ve added a small ice-skating rink. San Jose doesn’t get that cold, so like our local hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, we made our own ice.

ice skating pond

Fairy garden ice rink (we have to bring in fake ice and snow)

If I’ve timed this right, it’s still Christmas in the southern hemisphere and almost Christmas in the north. Merry Christmas!