Everyone knows that fairies love flowers, and what better way to bring your child into gardening than to help him or her create a diminutive, magical little garden space for fairies? Creating one can be simple, a fun activity to tackle in an afternoon or over a weekend, and can provide lots of fun, imaginative play.
Start with the right place. For a truly magical fairy garden, you don't want something out in the middle of the vegetable plot or in the middle of the yard. You want a spot that's a little bit secret, a sheltered spot, a little tucked-away place where fairies will want to come play. Here are a few options I've spotted around my own house:
- an empty bird bath, put into a sheltered alcove, can be filled with topsoil and planted for a fairy garden
- an open spot between the house and an evergreen tree
- along the edge of the woods
- between two shrubs in the flower garden
Go on a treasure hunt with your child(ren) for the perfect spot. Be open to suggestions. Any unplanted spot will work, or you can rework an already planted area of your flower beds, organic garden or other landscaped area.
Next you'll want to find the right plants. The key with plants for a fairy garden is to keep it small; since the space itself is small, and, of course, fairies are small, you don't need big towering flowers or overgrown foliage for this one special spot. Build the foundation with a ground cover such as creeping thyme or Irish moss. Both are low-growing, love shade and have the perfect magical forest feel. If you're going to plant a fairy garden that gets more sun than shade, you can still use creeping thyme, or opt for a low-growing and sun-loving option, such as a ground cover chamomile which will bear little flowers but can handle some foot (or fairy) traffic.
Build up the area with other flowering plants. Flowers are important for a fairy garden. Sweet williams are tiny and come in a variety of colors and variegations. Plant pansies for cooler spring or fall flowering. Or consider perennials that come back year after year.
Next, you'll want to add a bit of structure. You can keep this as simple or get a little more complex. A couple of smooth rocks or small logs for moss to grow over can serve as seats. If you're a little crafty, you and your child can tackle a simple arbor made with twigs and a bit of twine. You can also repurpose old doll furniture for the fairy's use. The structures can be temporary and redone every time your child plays in the garden; that's the beauty of keeping it simple. Bark, sticks, stones, acorn shells, vines and any other natural object can be creatively used for fairy purposes. It's really only limited to your child's imagination... and, of course, the fairies.