Thursday, January 20, 2011

Where Fairies Play

“The woods are full of faeries! The trees are all alive; the river overflows with them, see how they dip and dive! What funny little fellows! What dainty little dears! They dance and leap, and prance and peep, and utter fairy cheers!” - Anonymous

Aw yes, there are fairies to be had by gardeners this summer and now is the perfect time to plan.

For those who have the desire but want easy, pre-made houses, figures, and accessories, local nurseries and web sites offer everything you might ever want for a fairy garden.

For the do-it-yourself enthusiast, here are a few suggestions:

1. Containers: Bowl of a birdbath, flower pot saucer, under a tree, on the seat of an old chair, a terrarium, or inside dead wood.
2. Houses: Door on the side of an old tree, dried gourd, upside down flower pot, wood box, frog house, bird house or feeder.
3. Plants: Nurseries and garden shops often have small succulents, ground cover, ferns, bonsai, Japanese maple trees, and other miniatures. Some varieties are carried specifically for this purpose.
4. Accessories: Moss is a good ground cover. Chairs, tables, and fairy dolls. Shells, nuts, grapevine, small beads, glass, doll furniture and rocks. Found items abound.

Other Ideas:

1. Proportion: Plants, surroundings, and accessories should all be in proportion to each other.
2. Size: Fairy gardens may be very tiny or life size – depending on your vision and acreage. See for a life plus sized fairy garden.
3. Animals: Dogs and cats may be tempted to chew, trample, & use as a litter box. Don’t use nuts or grain if you have squirrels.
4. Weather: Landscape so water doesn’t stand in the fairy garden. Many bought items are weather-proof. Wind protection keeps it neat. Cement and plastic composite items are heavier & water resistant.
5. Venue: Inside your house, on a porch, inside a planter, incorporated in a rock garden, beside a water feature or tucked under a bush.

Whatever your personal choice, it only needs to be limited by your imagination since ideas and objects are abundant and often free.

For a little more fun, why not call Sheila & Jeff Johnson at Sunnyfield Nursery for one of the upcoming “Miniature Garden Workshops”. All instruction is free but reservations are required (309-852-4172). There is a charge for pots (or bring your own container), accessories & plants used. 

Sunnyfield Greenhouse & Nursery, 2440 E 2550 St., Galva IL 61434    
April 6, April 20 and May 4, 2011:  10 am and another at 7 pm each day
(They also schedule private lessons - great for groups of friends, family or organizations.)

Fairy gardens are a secret little hiding place for those flights of the imagination we gardeners go back to for memories and fun. It’s a place where a book could be shared with children. Perhaps the Narnia series, Gulliver’s Travels, The Time Machine, Aesop’s Fables, Peter Rabbit or Alice in Wonderland would inspire the imagination. In the middle of January, let’s have a little dream of fairies in our garden – come spring we’ll put it into action!

Thank you to Sunnyfield Nursery for the use of their miniature garden photos.

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