Gardening Magic in Miniature

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Photos and Story by Amanda Causey Baity

If you’ve been inside a nursery recently, or spent any time on Pinterest, you’ve probably seen some version of a miniature garden. Mini gardens are a whole cottage industry now, with classes and clubs and a cult-like following. Fairy gardens are closely related, and are simply miniature gardens “tended” by small replicas of mythical fairy creatures.PWLiving July 2015 iStock_000008153489_Large

These gardens are easy to maintain, take up little space and can be brought indoors during the off-season. When making them, I love combining one-of-a-kind handcrafted items with storebought accessories. Children of all ages light up at the whimsy of a fairy garden, so it is a great piece to add to your outside entertaining space.

It is incredibly easy to do, as many garden centers are now catering to customers’ cravings for miniature items. Most
garden centers now have areas entirely devoted to this fairy garden hobby. From the tiniest of trees, plants, succulents and accessories, anyone can make a garden like this on their own. Without the need for lifting large bags of heavy soil or bending down to dig in Virginia’s unforgiving clay ground, there’s no age restriction. Young and old alike can take part. But be forewarned, many find these gardens highly addicting.

Here is what you need to get started with your own fairy garden:

Supplies:
■■ A container: Get creative and take your time looking. You can get some inspiration from my Pinterest page pinterest.com/greenowlcrafts.

■■ Mini plants: You can use a wide variety of plants, just think small. Some that are easily found include fairy vine,
Platt’s Black brass buttons, dwarf grasses, ferns, miniature evergreens, hens and chicks, succulents, wooly or creeping thyme, lavender, miniature roses, miniature daisies, miniature African violets and dianthus.

■■ Moss: Found in the garden center or craft store. You may have some in the backyard which will save you some cash.

■■ Potting soil

■■ Accessories: Whether purchased or homemade, this is the most fun part of fairy gardening in my opinion. A great
place to start is with the house or container. Once you have that piece the rest will fall into place easily.

Look around your home for dollhouse items that are no longer in use, or that need some updating. In our fairy garden, we incorporated both store-bought and homemade items. When I am out and about shopping, I seem to always have miniature gardens in mind right now. I love discovering fun little items at thrift stores, yard sales and garden centers, or even repurposing items found in nature: Acorn lids make perfect plates. Leaves are natural blankets and placemats. Sheets of moss can be transformed into rugs for houses. Some people even like to decorate their gardens for the holidays.

As far as directions go, there really is not a step-by-step beyond the obvious: add soil to your container and follow
the package directions for each plant as you put it in the soil. Add water (enough to saturate, but not overflow).
After this dries a bit, starting adding your garden’s tiny inhabitants and their belongings. There’s really no\ wrong way to craft this, so just dive in.

To care for your fairy garden, be sure to water regularly. Also, feel free to give a gentle pruning to any plants that
seem to outgrow their space. If you happen to lose a plant or it is not doing\ well, just carefully remove it from the garden and replace it with something else. These gardens are always growing, changing and evolving, just like their full size counterparts.

If DIY is not your thing, you can visit Etsy and purchase a kit or even a completed garden. Though after getting the hang of it, you’ll probably get the urge to start another from scratch. Part of the fun is the hunt for unique items and the time spent creating the project together as a family.

Amanda Causey Baity, Prince William Living’s marketing director and photo editor, also blogs about thrifty family
activities on her blog GreenOwlCrafts.com. She can be reached at [email protected] princewilliamliving.com.

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