Playing with Mother Nature
I work at a landscape nursery, gift and garden center in Green Bay, Wisconsin called Ivy Trails. I am learning a lot about gardening and plants. We have fun classes some nights for our customers to learn new gardening techniques and more about using plants and herbs in creative ways. A popular class that we do a few times per year is “Fairy Gardens”. We’ve created an hour where the eternally young-at-heart can create a Fairy Garden to take home.
“What is a Fairy Garden?” I asked this question when I worked during the first class; I had never heard of this concept before. I discovered a new way to play with plants.
A Fairy Garden is a miniature landscape, complete with tiny plants surrounding tiny homes with small decorations such as bridges, fences, gnomes, fairies, wheelbarrows, gardening tools, benches, tiny stepping-stones, faux or real water features…the possibilities are endless. Succulents can be planted to resemble trees or bushes in the yard. Bright blue clear stones can be piled in a hole to mimic a pond. Tiny hanging baskets can be filled with small plants. Small blooming grasses and herbs look like pretty lawns. Tiny pebbles can fill a miniature wheelbarrow and small tools can be propped against it to make it look as though someone is working on a landscaping project. Small ceramic tiles can be placed in the dirt as stepping stone paths. Small arches can lead to secret gardens with a tiny fairy sitting on a bench or rock.
Some good plants to use in a Fairy Garden are: Mother-of-Thyme, Creeping Jenny, Hens and Chicks, and there are companies out there that specialize in tiny plants; we call them “Itty Bitties” and they are mostly normal houseplants that are just very young, like English Ivy, ferns, aloes and other indoor succulents, that pink spotted plant that people like to put on their desks in the office and even Norfolk Island Pines – which make great little Christmas trees in a holiday Fairy Garden.
Fairy Gardens are an utterly fanciful way of unlocking our inner creativity and letting our souls “play” with nature. What a fantastic way to relieve stress and interact with our Mother Earth!
I implore you to play with this gardening technique. You don’t have to spend lots of money; you can easily find inexpensive ways to incorporate items you already have or find at rummage sales, thrift stores and second hand stores. There is a “Re-Store” in our area now that has constantly changing inventory of merchandise removed from apartment complexes and restoration projects in businesses and homes. It’s a great place to find containers, stepping-stones and other props for your garden. And there are many more stores carrying items to play with in miniature gardens, like Ivy Trails. Ivy Trails has a good supply of Fairy Garden décor to get you started. Visit them online at www.ivytrailsgarden.com.
Discover just how much fun it can be to create your very own Fairy Garden. This is a great family project; many of our customers make their gardens with their children or grandchildren and it gives them ongoing entertainment as you can constantly change things up. Fairy gardens and miniature gardens can create a bond with a child that will last a lifetime!
by Kelly Giese
by Kelly Giese