Did you know fairy gardens first debuted in the US in 1893? They began as bonsai dish gardens and their popularity was likely due to the Japanese Pavilion at the Chicago World's Fair. The New York Times featured these miniature creations in an article not long after and the rest, is history.
What is a Fairy Garden?
A Fairy Garden is a miniature garden complete with structures and actual living plants, and can work well in any space. They are designed to give your green thumb a place to tend year-round and to lure fairies and with them, good luck, to your home. Plus when the weather warms enough in the spring or summer, you can move them outside to enhance an outdoor living space or garden. It’s a tiny space created and tended with love. The design and components are limited only by your imagination.
Designing and Planting Your Fairy Garden
If there is one thing we know for sure about fairies, it is that they love to hide! So, when designing make sure you keep things small and leave tiny spaces where fairies can peek at you, but you can’t see them.
Your first step in creating your fairy garden is to select and purchase the planter in which you will make your garden in. Keep in mind the space that you wish to put your fairy garden when completed, so that you don't get a planter that is too large or too small for that area. It's also a good idea to make note of whether the planter that is picked has a drainage hole or not. If not, get a bag of stones or use some from your yard to add at the bottom for a drainage layer. While you are getting your planter be sure to buy enough bags of potting soil that will fill your planter.
The next thing that should be done is, choosing what plants you will use. When selecting your plants, keep in mind about the size they get and how much sunlight and water each plant needs. There are plenty of miniature plants, that stay miniature, that fairies just love and that will look great in your fairy garden.
It's now time to pick out your structures and mini garden accessories. Some examples would be, mini birdbaths, mini benches, mini stepping stones, mini gnomes or fairies, mini animals, mini houses, ect. Fairies love places to rest just as much as someplace to hide. So they’ll be thrilled to see a bench for lounging or maybe a soft mossy or grassy spot for napping! Fairies have places to go and they’ll need a way to get there, so paths are always a good thing to have. While selecting which items you will be using, be sure to keep in mind the space you have to work with in the planter and the size of your plants.
Once you have everything picked out that you would like to use, it's time to start prepping for planting! First, if your planter doesn't have a drainage hole in the bottom, add a think layer of rocks to the bottom of the planter. If your planter already has a hole, don't worry about putting in the rocks. This is so your plants don't drown and their roots don't start rotting from sitting in water. After drainage is properly taken care of, fill the planter with potting soil.
Now, let your imagination run wild and design your garden! A good starting point when designing is to decide, like in any artwork, is what and where you want your focal point. Once that is decided work around it and design freely. It's also very helpful to place your plants and in the spots where you plan to put them before you actually do any planting. If you don't like the looks of something, you can easily change the layout to something else.
After you have your layout all planned, it's time to plant. Note, if you have chosen to use any style of arbor or trellis, and are going to have a trailing plant weaved through, place the arbor where it will be and plant around it. Select a plant and take it out of its container, tenderly squeezing its sides to loosen the soil/root ball. Gently pull it out after it is loose enough. You will want to pull the roots apart gently so they don't break off. This helps the plant get out of the form of its container and the roots will grow freely and out in the new planter, rather than staying balled up. Some soil will probably fall off the root ball when you do this, that is okay and to be expected.
Dig a small hole in the spot where you want to place the plant in the garden with either a spoon, garden trowel or your fingers. Be sure that the hole is as deep as the soil around the base of the plant so that when the plant is in place, the top of its existing soil lines up with the top of the potting soil in your planter. After the plant is in place, gently press directly down on the base of your plant to help secure it in its place. If need be, add a bit of potting soil, about 1/4", around the base of the plant. Repeat this process for all remaining plants.
Once you’ve finished planting, it’s time to give them a drink of water. Since it’s a new garden, the plants will be extra thirsty, so make sure to give them a nice long drink. Be careful not to over water. For the best care instructions of each plant, check it's plant tag.
Now that your plants are planted and watered, you can start adding your accessories. Once everything is in it's rightful place, your fairy garden in complete and can be placed in the area you have picked out for it.
Remember, fairy gardens are always a work in progress. Fairies enjoy variety, so to spice it up some don’t be afraid to rearrange the furniture every now and then! There are seasonal accessories that can be added for all four seasons, and even some for holidays like 4th of July, Halloween and Christmas.