Designing gardens can be a hobby even if you have a small yard or balcony. Are you short of garden space, but want to add a magical, enchanting touch? If so, there’s good news. You can create an enchanting fairy garden in a unique and charming container. It can be as small or large as your space will allow.
There are several things that you can use to give your container fairy garden a touch of magic. Search yard and garage sales for old dollhouses, toy castles, wooden wishing wells, old wash tubs, children’s wagons or use an old boot or terra cotta container. Anything that will hold water is great for this type of garden. Whatever you choose will add a touch of whimsy.
Take the container home and punch a few holes in the bottom using a hammer and a large nail. This will give your garden sufficient drainage. Then, add a few stones to the bottom of the container and add topsoil. Now, it’s time to begin creating the garden.
The first thing you need to do is place a layer of small pebbles or shale chips over the topsoil in a winding pattern to create a path for the fairies to stroll along. Place miniature garden benches, chairs and rockers intermittently along the path. These give the fairies somewhere to rest, or to visit with their friends. Add a miniature castle or thatch-roofed cottage for a fairy dwelling. Around the dwelling plant several perennials of your choice. If your garden and dwelling are large, you can even add a miniature rosebush. Depending on the scale of your garden, you might add forget-me-nots behind the castle or house to give the effect of a blossoming tree.
Be careful when choosing the plants for your container fairy garden. It’s necessary to buy plants that fit to scale. You will need to gauge the size of your plants by the size of your choice of dwellings.
There are a wide variety of plants to choose from. English violets add a quaint touch and they are very fragrant. Small bonsai trees, alpine plants and ground covers are other options. Dwarf arborvitae trees, miniature astilbe, mungo pine and thumbnail hostas are great for larger gardens. For small gardens, buy ground covers, fiscus bonsai and moss. If you’re unsure of what types of plants to buy, take your dwelling to your local nursery or garden center. The staff will be more than happy to help you choose the plants for your container fairy garden.
For a rustic look, create a trellis out of popsicle sticks or small pieces of wood. Stick it into the soil behind one of the garden benches and coax moss to climb it.
Check out dollar and discount stores, for miniature watering cans, wheel barrows and garden tools. Place them throughout your garden so the fairies will be able to tend the plants.
Garden shops and nurseries often sell garden miniatures. Look for tiny animals such as rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, lady bugs and butterflies, or any other creatures that might be found in a garden. Remember, they have to be able to withstand water. Porcelain is best for garden ornaments because heat and water will not cause damage.
Make a fence with a gate out of popsicle sticks or wood. Resin stair cases and fences are also available. If you can’t find ornaments for your garden locally, try searching online. Various websites sell ornaments for fairy gardens.
If you wish to have the look of water in your garden, use blue plastic to create a stream or brook. Cut the plastic wider than the desired width of your stream, so you can lay pebbles on the edges. This prevents them from being seen and stops the plastic from moving.
While you are visiting garden centers, nurseries, dollar and discount stores, keep your eyes open for miniature porcelain or resin fairies in different poses. Don’t forget to keep them in scale. Then, place them in your garden. One can sit with her legs curled to the side beside the stream, while another might be molded so she can sit on a bench. Have one or two standing or sitting close together as if in deep conversation. Add miniature gnomes so the fairies will have someone to visit with. Fairies and gnomes are great friends and they look great together as long as they are to scale.
The ideas are endless. Scout out the places that I’ve mentioned and use your imagination. When your fairy garden is complete, you will be filled with wonder at the effect that it gives even the smallest space. It will be the talk of family, friends and neighbors who will delight in its enchantment.
By Mary M. Alward
I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers– Claude Monet