When you hear the word fairy, the tiny sprite "Tinker Bell" may come to mind. This minute flying creature first made her appearance in James Matthew Barrie's "Peter and Wendy" in 1911 and launched into notoriety by Walt Disney in the story of "Peter Pan". Think tinkling bells and tiny figures flitting about when you're deciding what should be planted in a fairy garden. A mix if flowers and herbs, and an area of part shade and part sun are appropriate fits for this type of miniature landscape.
Herbs that grow low to the ground are essential plants for a fairy garden, as this landscape resembles a miniature habitat for the tiny creatures. Have fun with this garden and incorporate some myths about herbs and fairies.
According to the "Farmers' Almanac", in fairy folklore, thyme is mentioned as an herb that helps communicate with the creatures. Plant 'Blue Boy' rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) for its aroma and diminutive stature as the smallest of the rosemary plants, with small one-half-inch leaves and reaching a height of up to 24 inches.
Small plants that produce vibrant flowers add charm to a fairy garden. The tiny blooms are just right for the nymphs to land on, or for butterflies to visit. Choose plants with clusters of colourful flowers, such as zinnias and marigolds, which produce red and yellow blooms that butterflies find appealing. Plant flowers in different heights and styles to create depth and character in the garden.
The iris (Iris danfordiae) grows to just 6 inches tall, and produces yellow flowers during the spring months. Plant these flowers in the sunnier areas of the garden so they will bloom.
Evergreen ground covers add to the ambience of a fairy garden. They grow well in the shady areas of your garden, and some produce tiny colourful flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Ground cover plants to consider growing in your fairy garden include rose verbena (Verbena canadensis), which spreads nicely and produces small rose-coloured flowers; and silver mound sage (Artemisia schmidtiana), an herbaceous perennial that produces silver grey leaves.
Intersperse ornamental statues in your fairy garden for a truly whimsical appearance. You can find things in a variety of places such as garden shops, craft stores and your own long lost treasures in the bottom of your closet. Fairy figurines are sweet additions along with tiny houses, such as those you find during the holiday season to make holiday mini villages. Tinkling bells and a low stone bench complete this fanciful fairy garden.
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- "Peter and Wendy"; James Matthew Barrie; 1911
- "Farmers' Almanac"; Herbal Folklore For a Less Haunted Halloween; Oct. 25, 2010
- University of Illinois Extension; Fairy Gardens; Jennifer Schultz Nelson; March 21, 2010
- National Gardening Association; Best Herbs For Indoor Growing; Conrad Richter
- Colorado State University Extension; Ground Cover Plants; J.E. Klett, et al.; 2009
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Iris danfordiae