At a recent Decorator Show House, I had the task of designing a space in a courtyard area that was a perfect location for a fairy garden. Fairy or miniature gardens have become an immensely popular gardening trend and I thought this would really draw attention to my area.
The centerpiece was going to be my fairy house that I made on an earlier post out of bark, branches, and antlers. Go to http://thegardendiaries.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/the-realm-of-fairy-creating-fairy-gardens/ to see how to make this. But first, I had to prepare the site for the house by creating a small contained garden in the landscape with fencing, hills, plants, and moss.
I found the perfect spot under a large Chamaecyparis tree that had no lower limbs. The upper limbs would hang over and shelter the area and create a ‘ceiling’. There was a straggly yew that had to go. It was chain sawed down and the leaves cleaned up. The drain pipe was relocated and the wheel stayed as a great visual element.
A fence had to be added to delineate the space. My curly pussy willow was looking good so I cut a bunch and wired it together. I kept it in a round tote for a week to keep that nice rounded shape.
To keep the fence firmly in place, I took short pieces of wire stakes and drove them into the ground at the perimeter of the fence and inserted the bundled pussy willow onto it. This will keep the fence from moving when I fill the interior space with plants and moss. I made an arbor out of the same material and placed that at the entrance, inserting the ends into the soil.
I experimented with different positionings of the pathway and house and once satisfied, I remove everything to start placing the accessories. Once I knew where the pathway would go, everything else fell into place.
Mounding up soil and pressing it firmly in place to mimic hills and valleys made the space more interesting.
Then, I placed the largest items, like the houses – the bark and a gourd house, and the bridge. Once situated, I started with the plants. I chose plants that were colorful enough to contrast with the moss covering that was planned to top everything off. I planted my plants both inside the fence and outside. I used a couple a miniature conifers, violas, polka dot plants, ivy, ferns, armeria, and saxifrages.
To construct the stream, I first placed a strip of landscape cloth on the ground as the base for the stream bed. This prevents the gravel and stones from washing into the underlying soil and keeping it clean.
I added my pathway and topped everything off with a layer of mood moss. Mood moss is a moundy, springy moss, much nicer than regular sheet moss. It gave dimension to the whole garden. Moss also gives the garden a finished look and a good backdrop for all the accessories and plants. I bought a case of this from a local wholesale florist.
To the stream, I added colored gravel and small boulders. Colorful glass balls were pressed into the moss to add color. Wheelbarrows, chairs, and various other fairy accessories were added on top of the moss.
To keep this garden going, I will spray it with a fine mist attachment of the hose to keep it moist, once every couple of days depending on rainfall. The garden is in the shade so it will not dry out quickly. It is important to keep the moss moist but not drenched. The plants need to be pruned and groomed every few weeks to keep them small. The garden should last the entire season and will need renovation next spring.
- The Realm of Fairy- Creating Fairy Gardens (thegardendiaries.wordpress.com)
- Hypertufa Fairy Cottages (thegardendiaries.wordpress.com)
- Woodland Fairy House for your spring gardens. (betweentheweeds.com)
- Woodland fairies love fairy size funiture. (betweentheweeds.com)
- Garden Inspiration: DIY Fairy Gardens – Roundup (apartmenttherapy.com)
- Fairy Garden Tutorial with The Magic Onions (naturemoms.com)
- Places: The Fairy Garden (ext.homedepot.com)