Thursday, October 15, 2015

How to Build a Fairy Garden

I've wanted a fairy garden ever since I first saw one at my local garden center a couple of years ago, but I've been afraid to try it on my own. The display gardens used big (expensive!) planters that had been artistically broken to allow the garden to spill artistically down the side. I was sure I would shatter the (expensive!) pot if I tried that on my own, so I waited. And stewed. And wanted a fairy garden.

Imagine my delight when I saw a notice in the newspaper that the same garden center was offering a fairy garden workshop free to the public! I signed up immediately. I had a wonderful time and created an adorable mini garden, so I thought I'd share with you what I learned. It was very easy, so don't be afraid to try it yourself.

  1. Select your container. The owner/designer demonstrated on a big, broken pot. Key fact: the container arrived at the nursery already cracked or broken. He did NOT take a hammer to a perfectly good $700 planter. He showed us how to break out additional small pieces to use as steps or walls and how to reinforce cracks by using epoxy on the inside to stabilize them. I decided to play it safe and go with something small enough to get it home safely in my car. Even then, it was so heavy fully planted that OG had to lift it out for me. I chose this cute concrete planter in the shape of an old wicker suitcase. I love it! 
  2. Decide if your garden will live indoors or outdoors. It will affect your choice of container and plants. I wanted an outdoor garden for the deck. OG is in the process of building me a custom bench to hold it.
  3. Choose your accessories. This is harder than it sounds. The internet is full of wonderful fairies, houses, birdbaths, etc. The garden center also had a wonderful array. Everything is so cute, it's tempting to overpurchase. Don't. It's a garden after all. You want room for the plants, and the elements need to balance. I carted that heavy planter around the nursery on a cart and set the pieces in it to make sure my accessories fit the container and complimented each other. First, I chose the house.
    This little orange gourd house stole my heart. Next came the path, then the swing, and finally the bench.
    After the garden was complete, a dear friend sent me the garden shed, and happily, I had the perfect place for it!
  4. Choose your plants. I knew I wanted some tufty ground cover and a tiny tree, and the nursery designer helped me choose other sun-loving plants. I'm very happy with the final result. It's unique, quirky, and magical--just what a fairy garden should be!
  5. Fill the planter with potting soil, and decide on the placement of the accessories.
  6. Plant the plants.
  7. Settle the accessories into their final positions.
  8. Water thoroughly several times over the next few hours to soak the soil.
  9. Enjoy!