‘Fairy Garden, fairy garden…fairy garden…’, it’s all you can hear now….the enchanted realm is calling, the fairies are itching for you to get started and your children keep asking for one. Now is the time!
At Garden Sparkle HQ, I regularly receive messages from fans with requests for information on how to get started. Such a very good question indeed! In this tutorial I will show you how to make a fairy garden in a pot. Of course you are welcome to free-style it however if you’d like a step by step guide, here you go.
Ready to get started?
The most important thing to remember when embarking on this journey is that with fairy gardening there are no rules (yes NO RULES…you can sigh with relief now!). Of course there are are more traditional approaches to miniature fairy gardening, however through my eyes and experience it is a joyful, creative, exploratory and almost meditative process that is sure to fire up the imagination of all involved. It is a chance to be swept up in the magic of childhood, enchanted miniature worlds and fanciful fairy tales – no matter your age!
Step 1: Prepare
First up there are a few things you need to consider:
What sized pot/container will you use?
Fairy gardens can be created in pretty much any sort of container (traditional gardening pot, wheel barrow, old roasting dishes, old sink, plastic sandpit container, bath tub etc). Just make sure that there are drainage holes. Remember the larger the surface area the more room you will have to create your fairy garden landscape. The pot I used in this project has a diameter of 55cm.
Location, location, location?
Where do you plan to position your fairy garden? Indoors or outdoors? For an outdoor fairy garden a sheltered area is recommended e.g. on your veranda, patio or under some sort of roof which will help to protect your accessories from the harsh elements. The best location will also depend on the plants you choose and their growing requirements (sun/shade & water). For indoors you will need to make sure you position your pot where there is adequate sunlight. I intend to place my garden in an sheltered area on our patio which receives morning sun and shade for the rest of the day.
Fairy garden accessories
Rest assured that I have handpicked the very best for you in the Garden Sparkle range so your task of choosing accessories will be sooooo much easier! TIP: If you still feel swamped for choice, sometimes it can help if you choose a theme (like you would for a birthday party!) e.g. enchanted woodland, rainbow, country garden, tea party or a certain colour etc. This can help to fire up your imagination and narrow down what you want. It can also help to dream up what you think the fairies will need in their new home and the activities they’d enjoy ie. an eating area with a table setting, mini playground, mail box for letter writing, wheel barrow and watering can for gardening or a water feature etc.
I suggest you start off by choosing the following:
- Center piece + key features: Choose a center piece (focal point) for your fairy garden e.g. a fairy house or fairy door plus a few key features. I was keen to create a whimsical woodland fairyland so chose the Woodland Cottage as my centre piece, a medium pond as a water feature, and a woodland arbor and cobblestone pathway for the magical entrance.
- Accessories & accents: Select extra accessories and accents depending on your budget and what you’d like to provide for your fairies. I chose a leafy table set, acorn tea set, opening mail box, acorn lamp, fairy garden ladder, a sunflower see-saw, and a set of fairy garden toadstools.
- Fairies & Friends: Then choose your fairies and friends. I absolutely adore Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies™ so chose my favourite, the gorgeous Red Campion Fairy as well as a pet dragon and two garden elves
Fairy Garden Plants
Visit your local nursery/gardening center to choose suitable plants and supplies. Keep in mind what grows well in your area and climate. Choose plants which have the same growing requirements (VERY IMPORTANT!). Because fairy garden accessories are the key focus of your garden, select plants that will set off the accessories and make them stand out. Choose plants of varying heights, shapes and colours that way you will be able to create an interesting fairy garden landscape with elements of contrast.
Keep it simple when choosing plants:
1. A tree for your fairy garden (miniature of course) to give height. I chose one of my favourites, a Cuphea hyssopifolia ‘Compacta’.
2. A couple of small shrubs (mid height) which can be used to create an element of repetition in your landscape and help tie it all together. I decided to choose a mix of different coloured Hypoestes. A decorative foliage plant with green leaves splashed with pink, rose and white. Great for a splash of colour and contrast.
3. Ground cover which can add patches of greenery either in the form of a low growing vines, succulents, live moss or grass. I absolutely love using Ficus Pumila which is a miniature creeping fig with crinkly, heart-shaped leaves. Vines can easily be woven into arbors (as pictured below), arches and other structures.
4. Fairy folk also love flowers so you might like to choose a miniature tree or smaller shrubs which will flower (in this case I opted for a flowering Compact Cuphea with pretty pinky purple flowers).
TIP: Remember you don’t want to over crowd your pot so be selective and remember to give your plants room to grow.
You’ll want to make sure you are kitted out with some basic supplies for fairy gardening. You might already have these at home or may need to purchase them from your local nursery/gardening center.
- Good quality potting mix
- Gardening gloves and a mask (remember to use whilst handling the potting mix)
- Gardening trowel/or substitute
- Watering Can
- Natural found objects can also help to create that special themed setting. Have fun collecting interesting rocks, pebbles, shells, seed pods, pine cones, driftwood etc
- Natural and or coloured pebbles
- Faux moss rocks or faux moss (if you like!)
Step 2. Dream & Plan
Once you have chosen your accessories it can be fun to brain storm and map out your ideas of where they will be positioned in your fairy garden. The whole family can get involved! You don’t have to follow your plan exactly but it can be a great way to spark up your imagination and help to generate ideas. You might even end up creating something completely different but what ever happens just let it flow….
Step 3. Planting
It’s GO time! Fill your pot/container with potting mix and plant your plants. I prefer to plant the tallest plant (miniature tree) towards the back of the pot, shrubs to the side and ground cover at the front. TIP: You might like to play around with the arrangement of your plants while they are still in their pots. If necessary add your fairy house or door at this time to work out the right placement for your plants.
Step 4. Add the main features, pebbles and extra natural materials.
Add your centre piece ie. fairy house or door and the key features. Then use pebbles to fill in areas. I like to use a mix of coloured and natural pebbles to create contrast. Whole areas can be blocked in with pebbles, it depends how much soil you want showing. Pathways can also be marked out with pebbles. Extra natural materials can be added to create interesting areas in the landscape e.g. a dry river bed, a mini cliff top or cave etc.
Step 5. Add accessories, fairies and friends
Add extra accessories in certain areas.
Step 6. Add fairies and their friends
Invite the fairies and their friends into the garden!
Step 7. Water your plants and add special touches + a fairy blessing
Water your plants to help them settle in. Add special touches by collecting flowers to decorate window boxes, water features and other areas. My fairies regularly leave little gifts in the miniature mail box for me…fresh flowers, little letters and treasures. Bless your fairy garden with a sprinkling of magic dust and sparkles.
Remember fairy gardening is an ‘evolving’ process. It can be a real joy to watch your fairy garden change and develop over time especially with the creative input of the whole family. Enjoy the journey of fairy gardening!
I can’t wait to see what you create! Share your fairy gardening projects with us and be featured in our ‘Customer Gardens Hall of Fame’ by emailing photos and a description through to firstname.lastname@example.org or share directly onto our Facebook page.
Blessings & Sparkles,