Friday, September 6, 2013

Fairy Gardens: What a crazy interest for a retired physician!

       This cute little craze sort of insidiously crept up on us. During all the time I have spent in garden centers in the spring, as of  a few years ago I never saw anything that said this love of miniature gardens was coming. Now every major garden center has and even smaller Ma and Pa garden and flower shops have a fairy garden display with tiny tiny plants, miniature evergreens, miniature fairy statues, a few tiny shovels, rakes and brooms, tiny bird feeders and birdbaths, and of course little houses, arbors and fences. You can find whatever you might need for a tiny little garden.
     Well, first my middle sister announced that she had gotten a fairy garden kit and put together one in a shallow wide mouthed pot. This kind of intrigued me, so I began looking on the Internet, under fairy gardens. Then I found the crafters that have gotten into the act making all sorts of accessories themselves out of clay, bent twigs, and wood. There are videos of crafters making miniature doors out of clay that then can be attached to trunks of trees to make it look like fairies live inside the tree. Add a little moss, some lichenized material as they use in model railroading, and maybe some green dyed Spanish moss and you are well on your way.
     I started buying stuff. I dried some twigs and bent them into various shapes. The easiest and best looking thing that I made was a fence with twigs and green floral wire. I'm still working on an arbor, and a gazebo made of bent twigs. I also constructed a couple wooden doors out of dyed popsicle craft sticks with hardware made of clay.
     Then I went wild with the clay. This is the first time that I have worked with polymer clay, which you bake after fashioning whatever it is that you are fashioning. My sister used to make jewelry, rolling it, cutting it and squeezing it into balls and disks with very colorful effects. So I used the clay to make tables, chairs, pots, and even doors also to place against trees or little wooden buildings.
     I used glass beads and flattened glass beads to form bodies of water. I built bridges across the water with pieces of bark, and I put down all sorts of paths with tiny pebbles. I used moss everywhere to make roofs, grassy areas, and even the roof of a Hobbit like home built into the ground. I had an old butterfly house with a copper roof that was rotting away out in my woody glade and so I put a couple of those clay doors on it and low and behold a two story fairy house. I placed a tiny fairy baby figure inside a grape vine globe and hung it from a stick.
      Some of  the things you can purchase are quite cute and can't really be made. For example, a little croquet set sits on a mossy grass area in my layout. And there was a white wire bicycle with handlebar basket that looks entirely real, when parked near the steps leading up to one of my doors in the tree.
     This year as in many years, it has been dry in August and now into September so some of the tiny plants set in that would remain there permanently dried out, even though I watered them semi regularly. And I couldn't get the moss to take very well. So next spring will tell the story to see if these survived and then I will need more plant material next year. I definitely need to plant more little miniature plants because right now at least two of my sites sort of look like hillbilly fairyville with just dirt and mud, not much greenery. But they are in the middle of the woods, so maybe they would still attract real fairies. I just don't know. Never had to worry about attracting fairies before.
     Here are some photos of this summer's attempts for a fairy garden in the ground in my little seating clearing in my woods.
     I love gardening but I never thought I would be spending time making landscape articles for a miniature garden. Well, one never know what the future brings and what passionate interests bud with the spring.

The Hobbit's little-in ground home with planters and table outside.

The old butterfly house with various fairy items outside.

Fairy baby asleep in a grape vine orb.

Note the little croquet set near the bottom. I made the table with the dishes.

The chicken house and the woodpile.

The path into my secret place with the fairy sites.

    These are my first attempts.  Next year I will add lots more greenery and there will be more because the ground will be moister. The woodland floor is dry in August and most of the plants there have gone dormant.  Over the winter I need to repair some of the items. The glue I chose to use does not hold up in the out of doors. And maybe I will work on making other items for the site. I will post updated views of my scenes next year. I have definitely been infected by the fairy garden virus and I will continue this fun hobby.
      Now I just need some little kids to enjoy this with me. My six year old grandson thought it was kind of hokey, though he did help me place some of the items. And as for my three year old grandson-- it was a different story. I had to talk him into putting mosquito repellent on and in order to do that I told him that some of the mosquitoes around here can make you sick if they bite you (West Nile encephalitis). Well that worked to get the mosquito repellent on but it spooked him so much he wouldn't even go into the woods.

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