This is the perfect time of year to make your garden design. Maybe you would like to include your children or grandchildren. Well, how about a fairy garden with tiny accessories to go with tiny plants? All the garden supply stores should be well-stocked. My grandchildren are continually searching for the perfect addition to our next-spring’s fairy garden.
Here are a few necessary steps for a perfect fairy garden. First, develop a theme such as camping, farming, backyard play area, Victorian, bird house, gazebo, party, water feature, fairy, church yard — the themes can go on and on — they are endless. The children tend to change the theme from year to year, depending on their interests.
So, let’s select a focal point. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, grandest, or the most expensive focal point but it will tell the story of your fairy garden. It should capture the eye to the most visual point of view. It might be the largest ingredient to spot first. Start with something you love.
Keep a tape measure handy when shopping
It is recommended that 1:12 which means that one inch in fairy land equals one foot in real garden. Keep a tape measure handy when shopping or looking for your small treasures. Have your little ones search their toy box so they can offer their small treasures for the fairy garden. This will definitely make you proud to show off and keep it weed free.
Design around the focal point that will complement the surroundings. You might want winding paths, water streams, court yards, camping scenes, back yard scenario, or maybe a water feature for your theme. You might consider an architectural feature. It tends to make a strong focal starting point.
If inserting an archway, use the rule of symmetry — what you plant on one side, mirror on the other. You don’t want to overload with your adorable miniatures. You could create two fairy gardens instead. It would be wise to position your fairy garden near a well-traveled path such as a porch, patio, or favorite sitting area, especially if you have included a water feature. This would be two-fold, you, and everyone else would enjoy the beautiful fairy garden sight and listen to the soothing sound of the water feature. It would be a favorite place for relaxation at the end of the day.
Assorted mini trees for the fairy garden can be found in the local nursery or novelty shop. Strategically place them along paths, around lakes, next to a building for added color and depth. Your local library is a good source of inspiration. There is probably a whole section just on “fairy gardens.” They will give pruning instruction so you can keep your plants well groomed. Look carefully at your plants before buying to make sure they are root-bound because the plant will forever remain stunted and not outgrow the fairy garden. You want a plant that has branches and trunks that give the look of gnarled or aged.
Which comes first, the fairy or accessories?
Try to keep your accent pieces similar in color range. There are kits or pre-cast planters in many stores and online. These kits will make the decision for you.
Which comes first, the fairy or the accessories? There is no set answer. It is up to you. Creating the special fairy garden reflects your own personal tastes and interests; this is what makes yours and your children or grandchildren unique.
So, you have all your accessories, focal point, and other assorted pieces ready to arrange your fairy story. Some fairy gardens can be planted in a container. Such containers could be wheelbarrows, bird baths, boxes, bathtubs, baskets, urns, and even a bicycle basket can be used as the base for a fairy garden. They are all eye catching. The container should have good drainage.
Put a screen or broken pottery over the holes to keep the soil from eroding. Add a layer of gravel then place a high-quality potting soil (not too much) to your masterpiece. It is best to avoid soils that contain water-saving polymers as they tend to save water in an uneven manner. The watering schedule is up to you but keep the soil moist, not soggy. Fertilizer should be added at half strength when plants and foliage look pale. Do not overfertilize because you don’t want your plants to become overgrown.
Make a trip to the library, scour some children’s fairy books, or magazines to get a head start on your and your little one’s next fairy garden. This could be your best spring ever.
• Mark your calendars for the Sandusky-Ottawa County Plant Sale on May 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds.
Susan La Fountaine is a Master Gardener with the Sandusky and Ottawa Counties Extension Offices.