Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Project #2 -- Real Men Build Fairy Gardens

I have a three-year-old who's into Tinker Bell. Like, in a BIG way.

Well, truthfully not as much as she was a year ago. But that doesn't mean she's not into fairies. Her favourite blanket (right now) is a quilt featuring fabric prints of the The Flower Fairies of Cecily Mary Barker. And her absolute favourite movie (which she got from the Easter Bunny) is Sesame Street: Abby in Wonderland.

So with springtime in full swing, it's time for Daddy to suck it up and do something special for his little girl. And what better springtime surprise than a fairy garden?

The original concept for this was much bigger, but after digging that hole for the square-foot garden and realizing how dense the root bed is in that sod, and how hefty the clay underneath it is, I elected to forgo renting the Bobcat for this season and try a little micro version of the idea, using the little garden bed at the front corner of the house.

The first thing was to prep the bed, and make sure that the soil was actually workable. So far, it looks OK. Not too heavy, and while a little on the dry side, we can probably pep it up with some Miracle Grow later on. Maybe next season I'll try to fix the soil with something healthy, but for now it's just a play garden anyway.

(Yeah, I'll admit I had fun with it...)

Next stop was the dollar store to find some fairy-ish stuff to put in the garden. As luck would have it, they had a little mushroom house, and a polyresin shoe with a drainage hole in the bottom. Can't get much more Mother Goose than that (for a buck fifty each!). I also found some solar garden lights there for $2.00 each...when in doubt, buy a few and see if they work! Can't beat that price.

Then it was off to the garden shop to pick up some flowers. I already had marigolds for the other garden, so those were easy. I also had a couple of (as yet) unidentified perennials and some day lilies I dug up from the back yard (why buy when you can dig?). So really I just needed some fairy-sized flowers to act as a ground cover.

I was lucky to find some pint-sized pink alyssum, a couple of yarrow, and a great campanula. These campanula are actually my favourites, because unlike other bell flowers these ones have double blooms that look strikingly like tiny blue roses!

In the end, all I needed to complete the look of a little fairy farm was a broken flower pot and last year's Christmas tree. No really...that's the lumber you see in the pictures. From there, it was just a matter of doing some arranging and creating a little setting. With luck, those little plants will spread and create a nice carpet, and the bigger plants will turn into something like a forest. I didn't have the lights in the ground when these pictures were taken, but they just rim the edge of the garden.

 All the response I needed was when my daughter came over (her mom and I have joint custody), and that little girl gasped and started petting the flowers. And said "good night" to the fairies in the house before we went in.

As a matter of fact, whenever we come home from anywhere, or on our way out to anywhere, she spends about five minutes sitting there talking to the fairies. Here's the bed a little more filled in after almost two weeks:

Any other ideas or pics of your fairy garden ideas? I'd love to hear about them.


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