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DESIGNING A FAIRY GARDEN
According to Hans Christian Anderson, "Just living is not enough," said the butterfly fairy. "One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
The fairy garden is a miniature setting contained in a pot or perhaps planted directly into the ground. Potted fairy gardens have the advantage of being moveable. I have mine at my back door where I can enjoy it as I come and go each day. One plans the setting as if decorating a room in a house. There are miniature plants, a path made of gravel or smooth stones, perhaps a miniature bench for seating and surely a fairy. Choose plants that are slow growing and have the same requirements as to moisture and light. My fairy garden has a true miniature shrub as the tallest plant in the arrangement, with several types of sedum representing shrubs and ground cover. This planting requies morning sun (eastern exposure) and afternoon shade (protection from our scalding afternoon sun). Be sure the pot has good drainage. Galvanized buckets and hypertuffa pots (whatever that is!) are also used for containers. Of course, there are classes for making hypertuffa pots, too. Flowers are more of a challenge. Since these gardens are designed for the long term, the ony flowering plants recommended is chamomile, which flowers in the Spring. Moss is found to be undependable. If the plants overgrow their boundaries and cover your walk, for instance, root pruning is recommened to keep them in bounds. And...there you have it: material for another pot.
Imagination is a pre-requisite for planting a fairy garden. Use a marble glued to a base as a gazing ball. Bend wire into an arch for an arbor, an entryway, or a trellis. Many types of accessories are available for a fee, of course, but making your own is fun and considerably less expensive. Fences from twigs or popsickle sticks are interesting and fairy-like. A small shell could be a bird bath.
Another recommended tall plant is Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip', a lovely dark, arching plant with striking blue flower spikes that are extremely fairy looking. Try Blue Fescue grass; the small, blue, ball shaped mound could have a gnome underneath it. Some of the grasses do very well in shade. All types of creeping sedum work well. Try herbs such as creeping thyme, santolina, rosemary, etc. An outstanding selection is Hen and Chickens (sempervivum), a beautiful addition to any fairy garden.
The experience of making my own fairy garden was fun and now I have more ideas. Oh, for the time and energy to make all the things I have in my mind!