Fairy gardens are fun, small-scale ways to introduce gardening to little ones—or they can be a way to add a bit of whimsy to your own life. Here’s how to attract a sprite or two to your garden.
Planning and Location for Fairy Gardens
Let loose and have fun. You can create a woodland setting, an oasis surrounding a water feature, or a cottage engulfed in flowers. Choose a site that won’t be interrupted by other garden activities. Consider forming the fairy garden on the ground. Among the roots of a tree, in a pot, or in a wheelbarrow or wagon.
What Plants to Use
Choose plants with a variety of colors, height, texture and scents. Quick-growing groundcovers make good lawns and low plantings for fairy gardens. Try baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii; USDA Zones10–11) or blue star creeper (Pratia pedunculata; Zones 5–10), which boasts dazzling blue flowers. The cultivar ‘County Park’ reaches just three inches tall.
Cranesbill (Erodium reichardii ‘Dark Eyes’; Zones 6–9) has delicate, long-blooming pink flowers. Irish moss (Sagina subulata; Zones 4–10) will cover tiny hills or mountains in your fairy garden beautifully. Spring and summer bring delicate white flowers. If you live in a dry, hot climate, consider substituting Canberra grass, also known as Australian astroturf (Scleranthus biflorus; Zones 9–11).
Ornamental strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa; Zones 5–8) is heat tolerant and produces white blossoms in spring and tiny strawberries in the summer. Expect feathered friends to feast on the berries. Thyme will add fragrance to your fairy garden.
Accessorizing for the Fairies
Just about anything you’d like to outfit your fairy garden—houses, doors, arbors, furniture, hardscaping, garden tools and more, as well as fairy figurines (for the doubters out there)—can be purchased at many nurseries and garden centers, as well as at online sites.
If you want to make your own accoutrements, start with your imagination. Thimbles can become cups; spools of thread (empty or full) can serve as seating; wire and twigs can be rigged as fencing. Make flags or miniature bunting from scraps of fabric and twine; create pallets from hay wrapped with twine; or build a table by gluing pieces of wood together.
Fairies aren’t overly particular—they’re just looking for a welcoming retreat from a skeptical world. Why not suspend any doubts you may have, and fashion a respite for your own good-luck fairy?
Beth Williams is a Cincinnati-based writer and editor.