Here’s a great way to introduce children to a little bit of gardening… with a miniature fairy garden! My 10 year old (she’d for sure want me to correct myself here and say almost 11 year old) granddaughter has really been wanting to experiment with planting indoors and has been quite inspired with a few trips to the local nursery with me, where they have a wonderful display of a miniature fairy garden. So, taking advantage of her Christmas break as she stayed a few days with me, here’s how she did her garden using some store bought items and a lot of creativity to make more accessories for her miniature fairy garden…
Last year I started a little miniature garden and have it on the bay windowsill in the breakfast room. I’ve added (and subtracted… when some plants didn’t survive) to that miniature garden…
and am considering just turning the whole bay window area into a miniature garden because our grandchildren love it so much. I must admit, I do too… there’s something about it that just carries your imagination away as the little scenes are set up with tiny accessories and the houses made from stones, twigs and moss or pieces left around in the forest that a fairy would repurpose into a home for themselves, and set in a planter with the living plants as part of the scenery.
We gladly took a little trip out to that nursery I mentioned that has the wonderful miniature fairy garden display, (Rose Floral for those of you that are close to Stillwater, MN) and gathered lots of inspiration from their miniature fairy garden display, as well as some really cute accessories and beautiful plants.
But first we started out with selecting a planter for her… This one works well because it’s fairly shallow, and has drainage holes with a tray below. This is her first time caring for houseplants and over watering can be a real problem for beginner gardeners, so having a way for drainage will help alleviate that problem. It’s also a good size to create a miniature scene in it, but not so large that it’s overwhelming for her first attempt. The planter is faux terra cotta so it’s not too heavy either.
Then we walked around and around and around the display and accessories with the planter as her little mind start whirred as she began to visualize how she wanted to see her little garden. With a bit of direction from me to help her stay focused, and a reminder of the limited budget, she did really well in her selections.
Once we got home and laid newspaper down, she set to work putting it all together.
My granddaughter is pretty darn creative… in fact I’d say she’s gifted that way. She did still need a little bit of direction with basics like learning how to transplant the plants she chose to put in, and soaking the potting soil first so that it’s not so dry for the baby plants tiny roots. But for the most part, regarding the overall design and creative layout, she pretty much did all that on her own.
We purchased some of the accessories for the miniature garden, and made some.
Michaels has really good pricing on their miniatures I found online… just looking at the different options and accessories they have, evokes imaginative scenes to create in a miniature garden.
Here you can see how phase one of the planting with a few store bought accessories is completed:
The moss is from some that I harvested in our yard this last summer. I’m not sure if it will continue to grow or eventually just give up, even though it’s starting to turn brown, it still looks nice covering the potting soil and will help hold in some moisture.
At the greenhouse nursery, she really had her heart set on a miniature house that was a complete house. It was also $30! That just seemed outrageous to me, and with a lesson from grandma about how much more fun it would be to create a house, she found the window box for a lot less money.
We initially were thinking we’d hang it on a round log to create the house. But once we started ‘dry fitting’ it on some round branches, or logs, we quickly realized they were too round for it to hang flatly against the back and it looked awkward. Instead, a split piece of firewood was totally perfect! It offered that nice flat side, with the bark still on, for the window box to hang from.
The piece of firewood was long enough to set it in the bottom of the planter and she firmly packed soil around it to keep it secure in the planter.
Once she got that part finished, she set to work on the ladder.
With twigs gathered from the backyard, we hot glued them together and tied raffia around each joint. She purposely placed the twig steps a little cock-eyed for that handmade fairy look.
Then with a few small branches I cut some pieces on the chop saw, (this wood smelled so much better cutting than the deer antlers I cut a few weeks ago on it for the candle holders!) The table is a pedestal design and for it and the stools, we just simply glue gunned some toothpicks on the bottom to help hold the tiny furniture in place in the planter.
Part of the fun of a fairy garden is the design idea that a ‘fairy’ would use found objects in the forest… that would include a miscellaneous shoe along with rocks, twigs, and moss. This little baby shoe house is so precious tucked in under the plant.
She placed an owl on the window and even put some soil and a tiny plant in the windowbox…. Not sure if we’ll remember to water that enough to keep it growing but it’s cute for now.
Then fashioning a welcoming arbor to the front of her pebble path using some birch twigs the miniature garden is complete.
Our granddaughter loves having this miniature fairy garden in the bedroom she has at our house. I do think it’s a great way to introduce a little gardening to children, and it gives them an opportunity to be thoughful and care about another living thing besides themselves.
I hope this has inspired you to work on a miniature fairy garden project with the children in your life… I’ve been checking out lots of fun ideas for miniature and fairy gardens, including repurposing all sorts of empty containers into fairy garden accessories be sure to check out my fairy garden Pinterest board… I’m adding to it as I find more and more great ideas.
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