Gardening with children is often a fun family activity, but it has to be captivating to be successful. Some kids like the whole idea of having a garden. They are fascinated by putting tiny seeds in the ground and eating the food that emerges. Others might need a little more encouragement. A fairy garden is a great way to try gardening with kids because it sparks imagination and does not require a lot of time or money.
A fairy garden suits the gardening hopes of many children and the gardening constraints of the adults helping them. The fairy garden itself is fairly easy to establish and small in size, but it can take on a life of its own. You can plan a fairy garden for whatever space you have, whether it is in shade or sun, damp or dry. If you are restricted by time, space or budget, you can even make a fairy garden in a basket on a patio or stoop.
Start the Garden
To start a fairy garden, have your child consider plants and flowers that they like and that they think will invite fairies into the garden. Take the time to look at the texture of the leaves and the color of the flowers. This gives the gardener, of any age, some ownership in the garden, making it more likely that it will be cared for and well tended. Make the space small enough so that it is cozy and inviting for a child. You want a swath of beautiful plants to welcome your child into the garden itself.
Plant things that fairies are reputed to like: small flowers, graceful ferns and soft places to sleep. Children delight in placing special items for the fairies or making fairy-sized furnishings out of things they find in the yard or on a nature walk. You can add a birdbath or a tiny fountain for some water. You could even consider directing the kids to leave out acorn caps, nut shells or big, cupped leaves that can hold a tiny amount of moisture. You can also pick out a few garden decorations like tiny animals or fairy birdbaths for the fairies to enjoy. If you ask many children, however, they will insist that fairies do not like things that are man-made; they prefer gifts from Mother Nature.
Depending on your budget and your time, a fairy garden can be completed in a weekend or over a couple of months. If you want to bring it together quickly, buy most of your plants. If you have extra time or want to save money, start with a few established plants and then build the rest of the garden area from seeds.
Once you have chosen fairy-pleasing plants, consider how you want the garden to look. Planting things in curving circles or semicir-cles, not straight lines, helps enclose the garden, making a cozy space for visitors (fairy or human) to sit and enjoy. If you want, a small chair could be placed in the middle, but many children might prefer to sit on a blanket or the ground.
Get Your Child Involved
Having the child choose just the right plants, flowers, and embellishments will also give you a glimpse into their imagination. Tradi-tionally, fairy gardens hold flowers such as highly-scented, but tiny, lily of the valley. Petite, happy-faced Johnny-jump-ups add cheer and whimsy. Fuzzy, low-growing lamb's ear offers a soft place for a gardener's foot or eye, and their tall purple blooms give the gar-den a little height. Snapdragons in all colors are a fairy garden favorite, as are wild violets in pretty purple and white.
Make it a months-long mission to collect special rocks in your travels to bring back to the fairy garden to create a small house, a fairy stage, a tiny room or even a wee stone wall. Kids can also collect sticks to make petite fairy furniture. Looking for shiny mica to make the fairy's space beautiful will enchant young and old alike. Long blades of grass work well to weave sticks together. Any found, natural treasure deserves a place of honor in a fairy garden. Pinecones in all shapes and sizes can be used as trim or even for fairy plates. Acorn caps or dried milkweed pods make nice beds for fairies, as do foxglove (if you look closely, you will see fairy footprints in the flowers). The children can go so far to make pillows from pussy willows or cat -o nine tails. Bits of moss or soft grass will create a pretty "carpet" or fairy sitting area.
So many children love the idea of welcoming a fairy into their yard by creating something special and magical. If you gently squeeze open the flower, you can look for fairies inside. Sometimes, if the temperature is just right, you will wake up in the morning and find the fairies have woven magical webs all across your lawn or garden in thanks for their new magical habitat.
Gardening gets children outside and searching for fairy garden treasures is a fantastic way to have them notice all the wonders of na-ture. And who knows? Maybe you will be one of the lucky ones who catch a glimpse of a fairy flitting happily through your garden.
Article provided by Homesteader
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