Now that I have time....
There are so many things that amid the chaos of normal life get forgotten, seem no longer possible, or simply take a back seat to other priorities. For me that is Fairy Gardening.
For many years, it was our tradition on Mother's Day to get our mini plants and, with my little boys and numerous cousins, spend the Sunday designing our magic gardens.
After a few years, I even started building my own fairy houses with cedar shake shingles, crooked roofs, and chicken wire windows. It was through Fairy Gardening that I learned much about scale and layering - knowledge that continues to serve me well in interior decorating.
We experimented with fountains, two-tiered gardens, and mixing faux with live materials. Each year the boys would pick a new theme for their gardens. I recall camping/woodland (there was a mini bucket of beer!) and farming. But I'll never forget the year Breckyn (my full-throttle daredevil) created his with toy monster trucks and Kayden (my aspiring architect) opted for a white on white on white palette. Could my boys be any more different!
We even taught classes through the store and with the help of local Garden Centre Extraordinaire Mary McClennon for a couple of years. The following is a little guide we created to help people to plan an execute their own little magical masterpieces:
These whimsical container gardens offer kids a mini, planted play space of their own with endless opportunity for customization and make-believe.
Even the least crafty of us can put together a fairy garden that entertains and enchants all who happen by. Plus, this family craft project can come together in just an afternoon and it's relatively inexpensive to build depending on your DIY aptitude.
These five tips will help you get started on your fairy garden:
- Pick your container
When selecting a container, your options might be dictated by how much space you have or the desire to reuse something you already have at home like an old pot, wash bin or hanging basket. The options are limitless, so consider what size works best for your space.
- Choose the fairy house
Log cabin? Tepee? Birdhouse? Beach chairs? Choosing the fairy's house sets the theme for the rest of the garden. Let the imagination rule. If your kid wants an igloo for his fairies and palm trees on the lawn instead of a fire pit, just say yes.
- Map it out
Before planting, gluing and otherwise setting up the garden, either sketch out where things will go on a piece of paper or position items loosely around the container. You'll quickly see whether you have too few or too many items as well as any other issues that might crop up.
- Location, location, location
Like any garden, what you plant should be based on what thrives in your area. Will your container have full sun all day, or will it be a bit damp and shaded?
Don't let a brown thumb scare you off. Let your kid pick out what looks good to her, stick the whole thing in a semi-sunny spot and hope for the best. You can always replant it!
What really makes a fairy garden special is the personalized flair that each kid brings to it. Your child might paint little fairy signposts out of popsicle sticks while another glues them together to create a mini footbridge.
Have your kids look around the house for unique items to add: seashells, aquarium pebbles, leftover tiles from home improvement projects, even buttons and marbles, bottle caps, twine, twigs from the yard - it's all fair game.
In the end, keep it simple. After all, someone might be playing in this garden, right?
I think that despite all of the tremendous inconveniences, great tragedies, and immense struggles caused by this pandemic, there may be some silver linings. For me, I intend to start Fairy Gardening again.
Both the Wainwright Flower Cart and Canadian Tire Wainwright, as well as all of the local greenhouses, have great supplies of plants perfect for Fairy Gardening. We have all of our Fairy Garden accessories listed on our website https://dainesdaubney.com/collections/fairy-gardens
Maybe this is something to entertain you and your family as we continue social distancing and enter the most surreal summer imaginable. It's a multi-generational activity great for grandparents, parents, and children of all ages.
I have to share one last tip - from my sister-in-law Trena. Sprinkle some glitter on your garden from time to time; evidence the Fairy stopped by for a visit.
Happy Gardening! Please send me photos of what you create together!