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Fairy Gardens  
Fairy Garden Basics: Soil and Plant Selection
By Janit Calvo
4/21/2014 8:00:00 AM  

Sure to attract garden fairies and pixies to your yard, this Miniature Fairy Garden Ivy Furniture Set
is a fun and whimsical addition to flowerbeds and planters alike.

Tell your fairies to put on their jeans, tie back their wings and grab their garden gloves because it is time to get planting! Spring is the perfect reason to make a garden for all your fairy homes and accessories that you have collected over the winter. Here is a brief overview of soil and plant selection to get you off on the right fairy foot.

How to Begin

Starting with the right soil is important to give your plants the best environment to grow in. Not all soil is equal and the easiest way to judge is by looking at it. There should be composted material with small barks bits. It should look alive, dark, rich and full of organic matter. Dirt is the lifeless, gray sandy stuff between the cracks in the sidewalk.

If you are planting edibles (plants that you eat) in your fairy garden and you are not sure of the soil quality, you can get it tested first or ask an experienced gardener for advice. If you are planting ornamentals, like small trees and perennials, you don’t have to be as cautious, but you still should see a nice blend of organic matter in the soil.

Your soil should have a good blend of compost and bark bits. For this container,
vermiculite, the white bits, are added to improve the drainage of the soil.

Starting New

A brand new garden is an exciting project because you can design it exactly the way you like, but still spend a bit of time on the soil before you begin. There are different types of garden soil in your garden bed: sandy, loamy or clay, for example. This depends on where you live and whether your garden bed has been cultivated, or used as a garden before, or not. Topsoil is meant for adding to garden beds, but compost may be a better choice to introduce more organic matter to the soil.

If the ground can be worked, meaning you can shovel it and loosen the soil; you may only need to add some compost to improve the quality for planting. If the soil is hard clay, consider building on top of the clay by using raised beds. Lasagna gardening is another ideal method for building raised garden beds on lawns without needing to rip-out the grass first.

The Gray Fairy Garden Cottage is nestled into an in-ground garden. The creamy
Adirondack Furniture Set is a pretty combination with the blue trim.

Fairy Garden Pots

Potting soil is engineered to have everything that a plant needs to keep the plant healthy. Choose plain organic potting soil with out any added fertilizers or moisture-retention. Different kinds of plants like particular types of potting soil mixes. A cactus, succulents or sedums, for example, like dry roots and will need a different kind of potting soil than a spruce or pine tree where the roots of these conifers need the soil to stay damp. This information is usually noted within the plant’s care instructions on the tag. Group plants with the same soil requirements together in the same pot. Note that topsoil, or soil from your garden bed, is not a substitute for potting soil.

Most plants like a bit of air around their roots. If the regular potting mix does not contain enough drainage material like vermiculite or perlite, you may need to add a handful or two to your soil mix. Providing a good blend of well-draining soil now, will help keep your potted miniature garden together for years.

The Miniature Stucco Fairy Garden Cottage with Thatched Roof is a great match with the Woodland Fairy Garden Set.
The colors of the cottage and the woodsy-ness of the furniture add a country feel to this miniature scene.

Selecting Your Place, Selecting Your Plants

Once you start to look for plants for your fairy garden, you will find a lot of different choices that may be a little overwhelming. Narrow down your plant selection by deciding where you want to plant your garden. If you are working in-ground, is the garden bed in shade, part shade or full sun? If you are planting in a pot, where will the pot be placed? Indoors? Outdoors in part sun? Now you can go find the trees and plants to suit that location.

Indoor plants are different than outdoor plants for most regions. Indoor plants are tropical plants that need to stay 60 degrees or above all year, and they adjust their growth spurts and flowering time by the amount of daylight. Outdoor plants need the changes in temperatures to know when to go dormant, and when to grow. The golden garden rule, is “right plant, right place,” follow this rule for the best success.

Use Sedum cuttings or small rooted drought-tolerant plant starts for your miniature planters because
that little amount of soil won’t be able to say damp. Keep them out or the rain, so the plants don’t drown.


Janit Calvo is the author of the Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World from Timber Press. For more great fairy gardening ideas, visit her web site, Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center.


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Fairy Gardens  
Fairy Tale #3: Donna from Thomaston CT
By Karen DeLong
4/16/2014 9:55:00 AM  

Fairy Tales: Plow & Hearth customers share their love of fairy gardening

Offering a fun and magical way for diehard gardeners, hobbyists and dabblers alike, to bring enchantment to their gardens, fairy gardening has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. To help you get started (or give you inspiration), we’ve talked to some of our “fairy best” customers about their own fairy gardening forays!


 

Fairy Tale #3: Donna A., Thomaston CT

 

A Childhood Pastime Blooms Into Grownup Fun

 

Donna Andersen has always loved gnomes and elves and is a fan of Shakespeare’s classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which features fairies. Her German mother was a collector, and when Donna was 10 they visited Germany, bringing back miniature treasures including gnomes and mushrooms, which are very popular in that country. “Fairies and gnomes were a part of my childhood,” she says.

 

Later, Donna received Plow & Hearth’s Elf Door and Windows as a gift, and that inspired a renewed interest in miniatures and miniature gardening. A gnome on a mushroom now guards this door, which is attached to a tree in her yard.



 

Donna’s Miniature Garden Today

 

About 10 feet from the tree, Donna has built a fairy village using several fairy cottages from Plow and Hearth with accessories and elves from other sources, including a case of whimsical faux mushrooms from a local garden center.

 

“We have a stone wall with a patio and a table where we can sit and enjoy the village,” she says. She added gnomes to the village “and we have fun moving them around all of the time so my daughter’s boyfriend’s kids think they’re real,” she added.

 

Donna’s garden is carpeted in artificial moss purchased from a craft store and enhanced by perennials and “lots of annuals,” she says. “I particularly like our Non Stop Petunias. They are huge and they cascade beautifully over the stone wall.”

 

The garden is always a work in process, and Donna plans to keep adding more scenes over time. “Right now I’ve got my eye on the Plow & Hearth bridge!”


 

 

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Fairy Gardens  
Fairy Tales #2: Genie from Indiana
By Plow & Hearth
4/3/2014 10:50:00 AM  

Fairy Tales: Plow & Hearth customers share their love of fairy gardening

 

Offering a fun and magical way for diehard gardeners, hobbyists and dabblers alike, fairy gardening has seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. To help you get started (or give you inspiration), we’ve talked to some of our “fairy best” customers about their own fairy gardening forays!

 

Miniature Fairy Garden Tale #2: Genie S., Valparaiso, IN

Genie is a garden enthusiast whose professional background includes terms with the Nature Conservancy and FEMA. Now retired, Genie resides in Indiana on a professionally landscaped lot overlooking 400 acres of wetland.


Fairy Gardening: Fun For All Ages

Genie's interest in fairy gardening began when she help a neighbor’s kids build fairy gardens at her home. “Fairy gardens are fun for kids,” she says. “It’s always good to entertain them and to instill in them a desire to respect the environment,” she added.

 

While Genie enjoys sharing her love of gardening with her grandkids, “It’s really for me,” she admits. She enjoys working with miniatures and the surprises they bring. In addition to miniatures, Genie enjoys a Plow & Hearth whirligig in her garden and has her eye on our Pixie Tree, new in Spring.

 

Big Plans For A Miniature Garden This Spring

Genie has also done several indoor miniature gardens in her home over the years, but has since given them away to friends. Now armed with the Plow & Hearth fairy homes and accessories collected from other places, she has big plans for her little fairies this spring. “I went out and bought a bunch of stuff. Now I’m letting it speak to me to help me find the best way to use it.”

 

While the garden accessories wait in the garage to see the spring grass, Genie has taken photos of the area with the snow on it to illustrate the “before” stage. She has plans to keep a photo diary of the full construction, where she will enlist the help of her grandchildren. Rather than one spot in the garden, Genie envisions weaving enchanted touches throughout the property. “I always like it when you turn a corner and see something unexpected,” she says, adding that she will hide fairy things in trees and bushes, as well as in planters on her deck.

 

Always A Learning Process

Seeking more information about the enchanted world of fairy gardening, Genie says, “Whenever I hear about a fairy garden workshop, I’m usually there,” adding that miniature gardening “is like decorating for St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas, except you don’t need a holiday!” She noted one workshop where the leader made a fairy house, garden swing and birdbath, and used a shell for a fairy-worthy sink!

 

Her advice to other miniature gardeners: “Look for consistency of scale, and be conscious of your plants and where they come up,” she says.


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Fairy Gardens  
Fairy Tales: Plow & Hearth customers share their love of fairy gardens
By Plow & Hearth
3/28/2014 12:00:00 AM  

Offering a fun and magical way for diehard gardeners, hobbyists and dabblers alike, fairy gardens have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. To help you get started (or give you inspiration), we’ve talked to some of our “fairy best” customers about their own fairy gardening forays!

Miniature Fairy Garden #1: Mary Joriman of Port Orchard, WA

Mary Joriman’s interest in creating small-scale worlds dates back to her childhood.


“My family traveled a lot, and I learned that a cigar box could hold a lot of little treasures that were easy to take along on long trips,” the Washington state resident says.


This led to a lifelong love affair with miniature dollhouses, and finally, to fairy gardening.


“I’ve always loved to garden,” Mary explains. “About twenty years ago I read a cute story in a gardening magazine about a woman who created a miniature fairy garden for her daughter, detailing all the things she thought to put in it, and I got interested in trying it myself.”




Fun for every age

Mary talked about how fairy gardening became such an appealing hobby for her whole family.


“It’s such a pleasant, fun hobby, great for the imagination,” Mary explains. “I work on it all year round. Best of all, it’s not physically taxing, so it’s as easy for me to take pleasure in at 71 years old as it is for my grandchildren, who love to help with ‘Grandma’s magic garden!’”


Mary began by starting a small, outdoor fairy garden for her grandchildren. Her first one was simplistic, decorated with marbles and a set of tiny wind chimes that she found in a local dime store which made a soft, tinkling sound which she told her grandchildren was the sound of fairy wings.


“I don’t put fairy figurines in my fairy gardens,” Mary explains. “I like to leave them open for the fairies to find on their own…I leave that part up to the imagination.”


Her eight grandchildren found the stories she told about the fairies who inhabited the garden enthralling, which in turn inspired Mary to become even more creative with the miniature world she had begun creating outdoors.


“After we had to cut down a tree, we had a tall tree stump in the backyard, and I made that into a sort of miniature fairy ‘condo!’” Mary says with a smile.


Mary decorated her “fairy condo” with Lego® tires and tiny furniture and accessories she found in hobby stores and pet shops that sold aquarium supplies.

And it grew from there. “The best part of this for me is that I never have to be done…there’s always more I can do,” she says.

Learning more about fairy gardening

As Mary’s interest in her hobby grew, she began taking classes at local nurseries and even hosted annual summer “fairy parties,” where the invited guests could help by painting rocks for the miniature fairy garden she had created.


“Even my husband gets in on it now,” Mary says. “I’m the ‘idea woman,’ he helps with finishing up my projects!”


Mary’s fairy garden has grown to encompass much of her large backyard.


“I’ve sectioned parts of my garden so I can have a whole ‘fairy society,’” she says. “I told my grandchildren that the fairies (who are very judgmental) had no place to go on vacation, so I made a Polynesian fairy garden with boats and everything!”


Mary notes that a person interested in starting a fairy garden doesn’t need a lot of space, though.


“You can do a lot in a little space with fairy gardens. Part of the reason this hobby appealed to me was because ours was a military family, and so we had to move a lot. Having lots of furniture makes moving more complicated…but I can put as much furniture as I like in my fairy gardens, get as fancy as I like, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room. Plus, it doesn’t clutter my house up with more stuff inside!”


Mary still has her first fairy house from Plow & Hearth, which she purchased several years ago.


“It’s held up great, which is saying something with our rainy Washington weather,” she says. “I have every fairy cottage Plow & Hearth carries, and many of the fairy furniture and fairy garden accessories, too.”

Getting creative: fairy gardening as an art form

Mary enhances her fairy garden society with small-scale vegetation like miniature pansies, which provide a lot of color, and other plants suitable for container gardening. She recommends Janit Calvo’s book, Gardening in Miniature, as a great resource for finding the right plants for fairy gardens along with advice on getting started in fairy gardening and more.
“There’s just something so enchanting about fairy gardens,” Mary says. “Working with my fairy gardens is a way for me to be artistic…I’m always changing it, making it fresh and new. Something about it is so magical…I just love watching the birds bathing and hopping about in my fairy garden, even when I’m not working in it.”








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