Fairies bring a little bit of enchantment to gardening

Fairy gardening is a new trend in miniature gardening that inspires creativity and whimsy.
BY HEATHER WARLICK hwarlick@opubco.com Published: March 4, 2013
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Do you believe in magic and the power of pixie dust?

Spring arrives March 20, and a new gardening trend could add a delightful touch of whimsy to your gardens while sparking your creativity and humoring your inner child.

Fairy gardening puts a magical spin on miniature gardening, a trend that's been popular for several years.

“If you haven't done this, you could think ‘This is kind of silly, come on,'” said Julie Bawden-Davis who wrote “Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden” along with co-author Beverly Turner. But the trend is gaining popularity among both women and men, she said. It's contagious, Bawden-Davis said, and a great way to get your kids interested in gardening.

“You'd be surprised. You go into a whole other state where you go back to childhood, when you were playing with dolls or playing in the dirt or pretending you were lost in the forest,” she said. “The time just goes by and you have this wonderful piece of art.”

Some fairy gardens are designed to attract fairies to the garden, playing to one's imagination. Others are designed around fairy figurines.

“Fairy gardens remind us that we are never too old to play ‘Let's Pretend,'” Turner writes in “Fairy Gardening.” She's been incorporating fairies into her miniature gardens for more than a decade. Bawden-Davis calls her the “Fairy Godmother” of fairy gardening.

Turner got started fairy gardening when, as an adult, she decided to fulfill a lifelong wish for an elaborate dollhouse. She started with a dollhouse kit, she writes in the book, and proceeded to do a little “kit-bashing.”

“I took that classic Edwardian-style dollhouse included in the kit and added on to it. And added. And added. And added. By the time I finished, my diminutive home had a garden rivaling Central Park!”

Her friends made comments like, “Don't you wish you could have a real garden that's as tiny as this?”

“Why couldn't I?” she thought. She began experimenting with plants to see how they worked in small scale settings.

At first she used mainly herbs and bonsais for trees but over the years she found many great options for miniature landscapes. Cryptomeria, junipers, conifers and cypress, she writes, lend softness to a landscape for a mountainous or forested look. You can create single-trunked trees from plants including boxwood, cuphea, myrtle or serissa.

“This sparked my creativity and I got excited,” said Jennifer Crotty, of Muskogee. She's an avid gardener and an artist, so fairy gardening was a natural for her. She likes using azaleas for trees because they're inexpensive and easy to prune.

Enchanted fairy gardening is more than just throwing together some little plants and figurines, the experts agree. The first step to creating a fairy garden is choosing a theme. For one of Crotty's gardens, she took inspiration from the movie “Moulin Rouge.”

Others draw inspiration from storybooks, fairy tales, movies or any other theme. You can also create a holiday fairy garden that you change seasonally with your holiday decor.

Let your theme flaunt your interests, Turner advises. “Show your love of horses by creating a meadow inhabited by a grazing equine figurine, or allow your inner surfer to take refuge in a planting edged with sand and overlooking an ‘ocean' of blue glass.”

Anything you love in real-size will be even more irresistible in miniature. Part of making your fairy garden look realistic is making sure to provide your fairies with things they want and need, such as a place to find cover from rain (fairies can't fly if their wings get wet). They like companionship, so be sure to provide them with some tiny woodland friends.

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