What is a Fairy Garden?
Fairy gardens are miniature decorative gardens, generally consisting of small plants and tiny (often hand-made) accessories designed to spark imagination and bring a wonderful enchanted world of “fairies” to life. They can be created outside in containers, or with in-ground plants, or they can be created in smaller containers for enjoying indoors. (Gnome gardens are the same… but they have gnomes instead of fairies.)
There are some that claim that fairy gardens lure fairies, but for most, fairy gardens are pure fun.
My children and I created this fairy garden in a broken pot last summer:
(Can’t you just imagine that we snapped this picture moments after the fairies ducked out of the way?)
A fairy garden is a unique DIY project where your creativity can flourish. It can be an escape from the reality of the adult world, or an exciting way to engage with children and encourage their imaginations.
The goal is to design a space where – you could believe – fairies want to come and stay.
You can plant flowers, herbs, or even grow succulents in this fanciful space. You can imagine that many creatures would step out of your imagination and want to live there, including woodland sprites, gnomes, and elves.
Why are Fairy Gardens So Popular?
Fairy gardens provide a source of relaxation and a new fun hobby.
I personally love fairy gardens because I love creating tiny things – and I love seeing the joy my children find in the gardens.
Here they are, doing just that:
I love taking the time to step away from the phone and the computer and the demands of the world and just make things for the fairies (whatever things I want).
If you’re asking, “what’s a fairy garden?”, you probably haven’t encountered one before, but fairy gardens are adorable little worlds that take thought, time, and creativity to make – they can quickly become an addictive hobby!
Many individuals explore ways to express their creativity, and creating the perfect fairy garden is a great way to accomplish that.
We have painted rocks for the fairy gardens, or and experimented using polymer clay to make fairy garden accessories.
Fairy gardens are also a fantastic way to garden for those who enjoy plants but do not necessarily have enough space for a big garden, or enough patience to care for vegetables. They can be indoor or outdoor gardens.
They can create an exciting corner of magic in an otherwise boring space. Fairy gardens make FANTASTIC backyard décor, and a conversation piece for visitors.
You can create a whole little world that is artistic and unique. With fairy gardens, the possibilities are endless, and you get to choose whatever items you wish to put in them.
We made this dollar tree fairy garden above for less than $20.
Where did Fairy Gardens Come From?
It’s hard to say for CERTAIN where fairy gardens come from, as there are differing historical opinions on it. The history of fairy gardens is really quite fuzzy.
Many credit Annette Ashberry with creating the first miniature garden in the 1950s. She started a garden for the elderly and handicapped. It served as an inspiration to gardeners everywhere.
Others claim that the first miniature gardens first debuted in the USA in the 1890’s at the world fair.
Neither of THESE origins are specific to fairy gardens – just “miniature gardens”.
Fairies, tiny creators of folklore, are a far less new idea – belief in fairies is recorded as far back as the 1300s.
Fairies were familiar characters in Renaissance literature and Romantic art. They were prevalent in medieval stories and romances. Legend has it that fairies would use magic to disguise their appearance.
You can imagine that – maybe a child somewhere – after seeing a whimsical miniature garden, made the proclamation that tiny fairies would want to make a home there… and the rest is history.
How Do You Start a Fairy Garden?
We have an entire tutorial on how to make a fairy garden here.
For an indoor fairy garden, you will need a nice container with drain holes in the bottom and a high-quality potting mix for any plants you may want in your garden.
You can use larger containers for more extensive gardens. Many lawn and garden stores sell all-purpose potting soil.
Pour the soil into the container so that the entire surface is covered with a layer of soil. You can add different plants to make the garden feel welcoming for all the fairies and tiny creatures. Pick your plants according to which plants would do well indoors or outdoors.
If you clump some plants together, you can make a good hiding area for the fairies. You should grow plants that are easy to maintain. Some of the plants that work well in a fairy garden include the following:
- Miniature roses
- Globe basil
- Small bonsai trees
- Tiny violas
Some plants, like Rosemary and basil, can be pruned to look like little trees which is especially cute. Here’s a list of the best plants for fairy gardens.
If you use live plants, ensure that there is drainage in the bottom of the container because the creatures in the garden don’t like the soil to be muddy.
For outdoor fairy gardens, you can use a planter and locate a spot beside a tree or in the corner of the lawn to cultivate your garden.
Once you have chosen a planter or location, and planted your plants, it’s time to decorate the garden with your accessories – and let the magic come alive! (This is my favorite part!)
What Should I Place in my Fairy Garden?
You can decorate your fairy garden with so many different themes or decorations – the sky is the limit. Basically ANY ITEM that you’d like to add to the garden can be created or purchased. I bet the fairies like all the things you like – comfy chairs, plates of sandwiches, ponds to gaze in, beautiful garden paths.
Here are a few of the things my children and I have made to decorate our fairy gardens:
You can make your own fairy garden accessories – which is my favorite way to do things. I prefer to see what I can create over what I can buy! (I also tend to like the look of fairy decor made with “natural” or found items, like sticks, twigs, rocks, seashells etc over plastic store bought things.
IF you’re short on time, however, check any craft store for fairy garden supplies.
Many places sell tiny fairy garden houses and other pre-made miniatures to decorate your garden!
You can also use a small unused birdhouse. You can decorate it before putting it into your garden. You may also want fences and fairy lights.
When making a fairy garden, you should let your creativity flow.
Decorating your fairy garden does popsicle sticks for fences, or to make picnic tables, doors, or houses. You can turn a little empty mint tin into a fairy bed, you can put flowers into a medium-size teacup for decoration for the fairies.
So, what is a fairy garden? It’s a popular activity that can be fun for the whole family
They offer a wonderful outlet for creativity and imagination, as they bring to life the magical world of fairies and other small creatures.
They’re such a pleasure – a small peaceful space in a rushed world, where adults and children a like can step away from the less kind aspects of “reality”.
There are so many unique approaches to making a fairy garden, and there are so many various themes you could try – fairy gardening can be fun for everyone!
I hope this answers the questions of what a fairy garden is!