Fairy Gardening 101 with Beverly Turner

Mini plants. Mini accessories. Mini fairies. Take one look at your local gardening shop and you’ll probably find a few shelves, if not a whole section, dedicated to creating fairy gardens. For the past few years, fairy gardens have become a popular hobby for gardeners of all ages. There have been magazine articles, books and even whole websites dedicated to helping people make them. And it’s not hard to see why, thanks to all of those cute, miniature decorating options!

I love fairy gardens for children as it’s a great way to get them interested in gardening and digging in the dirt. The theme is up to them – perhaps instead of fairies it’s superheroes or favorite dinosaurs? So long as there’s an idea, there’s a garden to be made.

While it might not take a lot to get a fairy garden going, there are definitely some tips and tricks to keep in mind when putting your gardening gloves on, especially if your child has expressed an interest in creating a small garden to look after. I had the chance recently to take a look at two fairy garden books available from Skyhorse Publishing: Fairy Gardening and Fairy Gardening 101. The books are a great start for anyone interested in seeing what it takes to put a small container garden like this together as you start out with some construction basics and then dive right into working with specific design themes.

If you’re going to ask someone about fairy gardens, you go to the expert: Beverly Turner. After all she is THE fairy garden expert! Beverly co-authored Fairy Gardening, along with Julie Bawden-Davis, and is considered to be one of the most knowledgeable experts today.

Why is fairy gardening so popular today?

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Fairy gardening is wonderful escapism. The hobby makes you feel like you’re 6 years old again and gives you permission to play.

What draws us to items in miniature?

People are drawn to miniatures. For the same reason everyone loves puppies and kittens. There’s something fascinating and adorable about anything so perfect and small.

What are your must-have tools for setting up your first fairy garden?

High-quality potting soil without polymers, needle nose pruners for trimming the miniature plants and scissors for shearing the groundcovers like baby’s tears or isotoma.

What are some common mistakes when creating fairy gardens?

A common mistake regarding fairy gardens is assuming that all fairy plants can grow indoors. They can’t; most are for outside only. To make a garden for inside, you must select from available houseplants. Likewise, when creating an outdoor fairy garden, it’s imperative that you choose the right plants for the lighting conditions – for instance for sun or shade.

What are the best types of fairy gardens for children to set up?

When it comes to fairy gardening with children, aim for simple plantings. Include in the garden one miniature tree and some ground cover. Then add non-breakable animals in the scene that they can move around the garden, because they will.

How can families work on fairy gardens together?

Create a garden in a raised planter bed. Choose a coordinating theme and then divide the planter into different areas. Designate an area to each family member. That way everyone can plan and shop together, but each section can reflect each individual’s taste.

What are some of the benefits of exposing children to gardening on this smaller scale?

Exposing children to gardening in miniature is an accessible, approachable way to get them unplugged and outside. Fairy gardening encourages kids to use their creativity and learn the responsibilities of taking care of their environment.

What trends are you seeing on the horizon for fairy and miniature gardens?

The gardening industry has acknowledged that fairy gardening is no longer a trend or fad but now considered a subgenre, similar to Zen, shade and succulent gardening. That means you can expect constant innovations and new plants and accessories every year. It means that fairy gardening is here to stay.

If your family is ready to create a garden together, make sure to pick up Beverly’s book to learn more.

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