Fairy gardens — hidden beneath stout trees or proudly displayed on tabletops at in homes — are captivating the imaginations of children and adults, providing an escape into a tiny world.
Young kids get caught up in the magic, industriously building homes for the fairies they believe are real. Older children enjoy working on the tiny scale: 2-inch plants and diminutive garden furniture.
Adults enjoy the creativity, too.
A fairy garden can be made in almost anything — an oak barrel, terracotta pot, even old luggage and basins. They also can be planted straight in the garden, on a patch of soil or a tree stump, or hidden beneath a bush.
You can create a tabletop fairy garden in a lined wooden crate, plant one in a shallow bowl with drainage, or in a pot of even a small aquarium. Some gardeners make them out of found objects, such as chipped metal basins and old dresser drawers.
› Use hardy plants with small leaves; herbs such as thyme and small-leaf basils work well, as do succulents, cacti, Irish moss and plants normally used for bonsai. Or miniature African violets, cyclamen and fuschia.
› Fill your pot with lightweight, sterile potting soil, leaving space for watering. Mound the soil in places to mimic realistic terrain. Have four sizes of rock on hand for pathways and landscaping, such as small gravel, aquarium rock, larger stones and rock collection specimens — they make great boulders.
› Sink tiny flowering plants into the soil still in their plastic pots so you can exchange them for all-year blooming. An indoor fairy garden needs light, like any other houseplant, so station it near a window.
› For children, making the furniture and accoutrements out of found objects is half the fun. But some adults prefer to buy their accessories, which they can do online and at garden centers and hobby shops (look for dollhouse furnishings).
› Two books offer inspiration: “Fairy Houses of the Maine Coast” (Down East Books, 2010) by Maureen Heffernan, and “Fairy Houses and Beyond!” (Light Beams Publishing, 2008) by Tracy and Barry Kane.
Source: Associated Press