Instructions for putting together plant-filled containers that attract the “little folk.”
By Terri Blazell
If you love gardening and RVing, now you don’t have to give up one hobby for the other. You can take your appreciation for gardening on the road with you by creating your very own miniature fairy garden. Not just potted plants, fairy gardens can be as intricate and detailed as your imagination takes you, containing gazing balls, trellises, walkways, trees, ponds, and more. These fanciful gardens thrive in an indoor environment and bring delight to everyone who sees them. They also make great gifts and are a hit at craft shows.
According to folklore, if you make a fairy garden, fairies will surprise you with a visit. If they like your little garden, they may even stay. So, let your imagination go wild and be prepared for guests.
- Here are some things you’ll need to begin creating your miniature garden:
- Shallow bowl at least 2 inches deep, without a drain hole. Even a coffee mug will do.
- Potting soil.
- Small pebbles.
- One large stone approximately 3 inches in diameter.
- Hot-glue gun.
- Plastic birthday candle holders.
- A marble.
- Wooden shish kebab sticks or toothpicks.
- Small mirror.
- Assorted plants with tiny leaves and flowers.
When choosing your plants, look for those that resemble larger ones. Select tall, thin plants that have a tree-like appearance, and bushy ones that resemble hedges, shrubs, or vines. Plants can be purchased from the garden center of mass-merchandise stores such as Wal-Mart; local nurseries; or home improvement stores. The plants used in the photos came from a local 99-cent store. The time of year can affect which plants are available, so be flexible and use your imagination.
Fill your container approximately three-fourths of the way with potting soil. A small layer of pebbles in the bottom of the container mixed with bits of charcoal can help keep the soil fresh, but it isn’t required.
Arrange your plants throughout the container. You can surround a “tree” with a border of stones. Use pebbles to create cobblestone walkways. Give the walkway an “S” shape and plant “hedges or vines” in the curves.
Using a small, flat mirror from an old makeup compact, glue pebbles all around the edges, and you have an instant pond. Glue a marble to the top of the birthday candle holder and stick it in the soil to make a gazing ball. A larger rock can act as a boulder.
Cut a shish kebab stick into four 3-inch pieces. Cut two more sticks into 1-inch and 2-inch pieces, respectively. Arrange the longer sticks in a fan shape and glue the shorter ones across it. With the narrow end down, place it upright in the soil, and you have a mini trellis.
This is just the beginning. In your travels, you may find or create other objects that suit your garden. Your imagination ultimately will dictate how your garden looks.
To create a mini marshland setting, use chives for marsh grass, a small mirror, pebbles, and a figurine of a duck or other waterbird.
Instead of potting soil, fill the container with white sand. Add a drink umbrella, a small swatch of fabric (for a beach towel), and seashells to create a beach scene. Then melt and pour blue wax on one side, and you have your very own ocean. Popsicle sticks can be used to make a boardwalk.
Turn a mini flowerpot (available in craft stores) upside down. Draw doors and windows on it with a marker; surround it with moss, pieces of bark, and tree-like plants; and you have a gnome home.
The red-and-white checkered lids on some mini jelly jars make great table tops. Using your hot-glue gun, attach the lid to a spool to create a picnic table.
Whole cinnamon sticks, when cut to different lengths, resemble logs and bark. They also can be arranged to look like logs in a campfire. Create a fire ring by circling the logs with small pebbles.
If your container is large enough, insert a glass votive holder with candle into the soil, and now your fairy garden is also an attractive candle holder. Arrange pebbles and cinnamon stick logs around it for a campfire effect. But be careful not to plant or place anything too close to the flame.
Many craft stores sell miniature figurines that can be used in the fairy garden. Just make sure that the figurines are in proportion to each other and the plants, so as not to ruin the effect. If the figurines are too big or too small for your garden, it’s better not to use them, no matter how cute they are.
Make your own mini garden signs. Hand-letter them or, using your computer, find a pretty font and print out tiny signs. Glue them to toothpicks and plunge them into the soil. Sayings such as “Fairies gather here” or “Where there’s a garden, there are fairies” are just a couple of ideas.
Sunlight and a light misting every day are all you need to keep your fairy garden happy and healthy. If the plants start to overgrow the container, just trim them back with a pair of scissors. Imagine telling your rally friends you have to miss the lecture on cleaning your coach’s black water tank because you’re working in your garden.