15 Creative Ideas for Fairy Gardens
Invite some wee folk to a picnic, build them a pebbled cottage, or design a frozen "pond" for them to skate on. These magical fairy gardens and plants will inspire you to come up with your own creations.
Two-Story Fairy Cottage
Fairies aren't good at building homes, says Betty Earl, author of Fairy Gardens: A Guide to Growing an Enchanted Miniature World, so give them a whimsical cottage, beach house or castle to live in. Here, a path lined with thyme "bushes" leads to a two-story dwelling. A fragrant dwarf conifer stands guard at the edge of the house.
Furnished gardens have lots of fairy appeal. Give your tiny visitors a cozy retreat with a twig-styled pavilion and bench. Here, a thimble-sized pot holds a pinch of greenery and a button fern cascades over the roof.
Dwarf Boxwood Fairy Garden
Dwarf boxwoods like 'Wee Willie' are excellent for fairy gardens says Nicholas Staddon, Director of New Plant Introductions for Monrovia Growers. At some point, he says, most plants will outgrow these miniature settings, but you can often maintain the size you want with careful, selective pruning.
Fairy Picnic Garden
Fairy Garden Flowers
Keep the scale, colors, and proportion of your fairy garden in mind when choosing flowers. Also consider how much light and water your location gets. This hardy geranium, Erodium foetidum, also called Heron's Bill or Storksbill, needs a sunny spot.
Winter Fairy Garden
Tiny, red ornamental peppers pick up the colors of peppermint-candy tables and chairs in this wintery fairy garden. Photographed at the Independent Garden Center Show, the garden is planted with a tall, gold cypress in the rear bowl. In another bowl, gnomes in red and blue hats are flanked by dwarf boxwoods.
'Little Ollie' Dwarf Olive
Don't forget to provide some shade in your fairy garden. 'Little Ollie' is a dwarf, non-fruiting olive tree with deep green leaves; when the wind blows, they reveal a silvery-green underside. Give it full sun and train it, if desired, into a topiary.
To make your fairy garden feel magical, put it slightly off the beaten path, says Fairy Gardens author Betty Earl. Welcome the wee folk, and encourage them to stay around, by giving them a home on a tree stump, in a ferny nook, a hollow log, or even in a basket or container.
Container Fairy Garden
Let children help create a container fairy garden for a tabletop or apartment balcony. This one uses ferns, spider plants, a polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya),and a small New Guinea impatiens. If dwarf plants aren't available, prune the plants to keep them in check, or replace them when needed.
Fairy Hammock Garden
'Berry Bright' Saxifrage
Add vibrant color to a woodland fairy garden with 'Berry Bright' saxifrage. This herbaceous perennial thrives in full to partial shade and blooms when the weather is cool, from late fall to winter. Use it in containers or in the ground.
Fairy Garden Forest
If you can't put your fairy garden in or near the woods, grow your own forest. Here, two large cypress plants add layers of interest to the scene. Grass-like tufts of foliage are ophiopogon. A variegated hosta grows behind the pine cone house while a boxwood sits near the brown rock on the right. Remember to use plants that have the same requirements for sun and water in your mini-forest.
Seashell Fairy Cottage
Not all fairies make their homes in the woods. Some reside near lakes or oceans, where an abundance of seashells can be used to shingle the roof. This fairy keeps a scallop shell outside as a handy water basin. The cottage walls are made of mortar and pebbles.
Daffodil Fairy House
Some fairies prefer temporary housing. If other materials are lacking, try fashioning a retreat from flowering plants like these daffodils.
Hydrangea Fairy Garden
A little magic is always welcome in a fairy garden. Here, a dwarf hydrangea, 'Bobo', welcomes fairies to open a door in a tree trunk and design their own hideaway.