Fairies. There’s something magical, mysterious about fairies, or at least that’s what I think now. My earliest memories of fairies were of the Tooth Fairy and Tinkerbell. Although I knew the Tooth Fairy brought money for my teeth, which was exciting, it was also a little creepy. How did she know that I lost a tooth? How did she get into our house? And my room!?! How did she know where I put it? What if she was short on her allotment of teeth for the month and needed more? Could she just snatch an extra while I was sleeping? And what the heck did she do with all those teeth anyway? And then there was Tinkerbell, she was a little creepy too. Or maybe it was the essence of Captain Hook that clouded my memory, making me want nothing to do with her.
Okay, so my memories of fairies as a child we’re all that fanciful. And honestly, I don’t think that changed until I met Twig at the Renaissance Festival a number of years ago. A friend of mine and I brought our kids to the “Ren Fest”. As we wandered the grounds chatting and laughing we saw a small crowd of people gathered around something, or rather someone, on the ground. Twig, a woodland fairy, was sitting, perched, playing her flute and flirting with children and adults alike. She was beautiful. Her hair, her eyes, the sparkle that seemed to hover around her. And while she didn’t speak a word, the way she played the flute was memorizing. The kids stood, as if in a trance, not taking their eyes off of her. And then she would put her hand into the little pouch that hung so gracefully from her shoulders, and from it she would take a small stone and place it ever so gently into each child’s hand. The children would close their fingers tightly, hanging on to their stones until they would finally turn, slightly dazed and go back to their parents to show them what they got. Each child unfurled their little fingers to reveal a magical stone covered in fairy dust. I fell in love. While I knew in my grown-up mind that Twig could be easily be a friend or relative playing the role of a fairy, there was something magical about her. I went traveling back oh, so many years to become that little girl again who believed in fantasy. This time instead of being creepy, it was dreamy, more like my visions of princesses, only with wings. It felt amazing. Every year since, I seek out Twig to catch another glimpse of that magic.
I’m not sure if it was before or after my first encounter with Twig that I discovered Fairy Gardens, but the timing was pretty close. I remember being in Bachman’s, a garden center in the area, and seeing a little wooden box. In it stood a miniature world. A pebble pathway meandered through tiny plants blooming the smallest flowers I’ve ever seen in my life. The path led to a miniature bench. Beside it stood a tiny bird bath, a wheel barrow and a couple of tiny pots tipped over on the ground. The whole area was surrounded by a little picket fence. Amazing. Some genius had just transformed what I formerly knew to be called “Alpine Plants” (which frankly I had no interest in) into something I suddenly became extremely interested in: Fairy Garden plants. All of a sudden I had to have them, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Actually, I’ve had a couple of rounds of Fairy Gardens at my house. Both have died due to neglect. I tend to get a little busy in the summer months and although Fairy Gardens don’t require any more maintenance than other plants, they simply were forgotten about during the busy outdoor garden season. This doesn’t stop me of course. I’m about to plant up another one. I’ve had a lot of inspiration over the past few months to get it going again. My son made a fairy house out of a tree stump at the Arboretum this past summer fully furnished with a twig ladder, branch furniture and crab apples on the wooden dinner plates. Another garden center I frequent, Uncommon Gardens, had an amazing little Fairy Garden this summer on a little larger scale. It was planted up in a raised cedar garden planter elevated off the ground. It even had a little stone cottage, I could just envision the fairies coming out of their little cottage when we weren’t looking and tending to their tiny gardens…
And then the Arboretum again, I never cease to find something of interest there! While attending another function last week, I took a few extra minutes to visit the Tiny Treasures: Fairy Gardens and Gnomes display. Oh, what inspiration! More little gardens, more little houses. It must have been obvious that I was enchanted because while we were visiting the gift shop later and I happened upon a Fairy Garden book, filled with more Fairy House inspiration entitled “Fairy Houses and Beyond!” and my dad was kind enough get it for me. I can’t wait to get started! If you’re thinking about starting one of your own Tonkadale Nursery put together a nice gallery of Fairy Gardens as well as a step-by-step to get you started. You can find more info on their Fairy Garden page.
One of the things I love about Fairy Gardens is that they are perfect for kids. If you’ve ever wanted to have a children’s garden and didn’t know where to start, Fairy Gardens are a perfect. They are kid-sized. They have small plants, small benches, small worlds for their imaginations to run wild in. We’ve had mysterious and magical things happen in our Fairy Gardens at home. Gates left open, pots and wheelbarrows moved, all sorts of things… you never know what you might find when you have a Fairy Garden!
Even if you don’t have kids, but you’re still a kid at heart, Fairy Gardens can be quite fun. The scale of them makes it easy to incorporate bonsai trees into as well. Plus, sometimes it’s just nice to have a small place of wonder to visit and escape from reality.
So with that, I blow a little bit of fairy dust on each of you and hope that even if you aren’t as enchanted as I am, I hope you’re at least “a little” amused.