DIY fairy garden ideas for kids who can dig their own dirt

If you haven’t noticed, everyone is gardening right now. Call it a side effect of self-isolation or withdrawal from reality, but sales of seeds and gardening supplies are on the rise. And when horticulture is booming, so are fairies. If you have kids and a garden, chances are you’ve got some sort of fairy garden – a small, scale garden nestled under a basil plant or amid bland shrubs that serve a population of fairies imaginary or molded in plastic.

Likewise, anyone who frequents the gardening section of a local hardware store knows that a cottage industry (ahem) has come to life, selling unnecessary trinkets to decorate your fairies’ homes. This ornate dollhouse furniture is cheesy, sure, but more than that, it’s missing the essentials. A fairy garden is meant to bring your child into the garden with you and let their imagination run wild with natural things. This rock? Looks like a dinner table. When you put these twigs together with a twist tie and flower, they form a fairy throne! Rocks, twigs, flowers – these are not things that are meant to be marketed.

There is a lesson in this.

“We live in a world where when we want something we can order it online and it arrives the next day,” says Lee Connelly, author of How to garden children, who started gardening with her daughter when she was 2 years old. “Gardening will never be like that, you have to wait for the plants to grow. Likewise, “take the time to build a fairy house”.

So the first rule of fairy gardens is clear: Avoid fabricated fairy bullshit – it’s the antithesis of it all. With that out of the way, you can have a bit of fun with it. Here are some tips for creating a one-of-a-kind – and loved-all fairy garden.

Let your child run the show

Adults are planners, planning each step of a project before they dive into it. But children’s brains don’t work that way – and the best ideas usually come from their spontaneity. “Ask your children to find a place where the fairies would like to live,” says Janit Calvo, owner of Two Green Thumbs Miniature.
Garden centers in Seattle and author of Miniature gardening. “If they say to you, ‘At the bottom of the garden behind a bush,’ then okay, put the house there. Ask them to understand how the fairies will move from the front of the garden to the back of the shrub. Now walk away and let them do their job.

Fun Fairy Garden: Sprinkle birdseed liberally on the walkways and your fairies will soon have friends (or be besieged by monstrous beasts).

Teach an architectural style

The type of house your fairy lives in depends on your architectural and plant tastes. Victorian mansions work well in herb gardens, fairy-sized colonials love to live in vegetable gardens, Gothic fairy churches enjoy ivy shade, and an Art Deco skyscraper would not be. not moved among the sunflowers. Of course, a natural look is more classic and easier to hide. “These days, it’s really about designing a return to the garden for me,” Calvo explains. This means using what is in your garden or yard to create your miniature world: small sticks for support, wood chips for walls, moss roofs, etc.

Fairy Garden Fun: Create the illusion of a pond by filling a small container with glass marbles or blue marbles. A classic drinking bird is a nice touch.

Vary the plants for the garden space

The most striking fairy gardens stagger the height of the plants, which allows for multiple places for the fairies to hide. You can plant taller plants around the perimeter of the garden to create a “wall” that hides the fairies or you can vary the heights in the garden and position your fairies on high and low perches.

What plants to grow exactly? “I always suggest herbs like thyme, rosemary and mint to be in the mix,” says Connelly. “If you really want to awaken kids to nature, whether it’s fairy gardens or gardening as an activity, let them grow something that they can also pick and eat. Interleave them with more leafy plants such as brunnera or bergenia (also called “elephant ears” for their large leaves).

Fairy Garden Fun: To really hide your fairy houses, cover all roofs with moss. Add foam hats for all the fairies and a foam quilt to cover the gnomes.

Trails and bodies of water

Just as the main garden uses cedar shavings to form paths through the rows of flowers, your fairy garden will follow suit on a smaller scale. Colorful marbles, seashells, and flat stones are all great materials for making gateways from one fairy house to another. Have them lead to a water feature. To do this, paint an empty margarine jar green on the outside, blue on the inside and fill it with water; or decorate a large, shallow bowl with seashells before filling it with blue colored water. Your ponds should be tucked away under hanging branches or leafy plants that just offer a glimpse of what’s below. Alternatively, you can take the classic fairy garden route and add a birdbath to the display.

Fun Fairy Garden: Create a forest by collecting large pine cones, turning them over, and painting the ends of each petal in a glittering silver or gold. Add peanut butter and seeds if you want to capture fairy monsters from the garden.

The joys of the fairy mailbox

Kids love the mail. By adding a miniature mailbox to your garden, your child can collect fairy letters at the same time as you receive mail. Letterboxes can be made in a number of ways, but one of the easiest is to take one of those little rectangular plastic receptacles from a dish of flowers that you plant and glue a popsicle stick to the bottom, then stick it in the ground. (You can also use a single plastic ice cube holder separate from an ice cube tray.) Note: If you are creating one, you will occasionally need to fill the boxes with pint-sized notes. .

Fun Fairy Garden: If space is tight, make your fairy garden Jack-and-the-Beanstalk style with a vertical planter and stacked pots. (BFG only.)

Close it.

A fenced-in fairy garden isn’t so much for space protection as it is a useful visual queue for adults trying not to crush the fairy city with footsteps. You will need small twigs (browse the yard), toothpicks, paper clips, or clothespins. Then use flexible wire to connect all the pieces together. It might not look as stylish as the ready-made miniature fences you can buy online, but “fairies don’t shop at JoAnn,” Calvo explains. “They make their homes with what they find in nature and around the house, and so should you.”

Fairy Garden Fun: Make road signs by writing the name of the street on a necklace in a permanent pen, then sliding it onto the end of a clothespin. Try, Bogie Blvd; Sylphe Street; Pixie Pkwy.