What fun we have had getting creative and welcoming fairies into our life. The imagination of a 2 year old is certainly blossoming and with a little help from yours truly, we have created several fairy gardens much to the delight of both our little girl and friend's children.
Making the Fairy Garden
Our first, more improvised fairy garden has been my favourite. Whilst camping over the New Year with 4 very excited children aged 2 – 6 years, we gathered exciting natural items like sticks, gumnuts, flowers and bark from around the campsite and we used these items to frame a doorway against the tree trunk, line a pathway, and build a mini bark bridge. What transpired was a beautiful and very tempting scene. This impromptu activity kept the kids and their imaginations in raptures for about an hour and then delivered on excitement again the next morning. The children decided that overnight the fairies would find our little garden and stay there with us in our camp. We were rewarded in the morning by the remnant of a dried dragon fly wing! The kids were ecstatic that there was ‘proof’ the fairies visited during the night.
This easy, free activity could be recreated almost anywhere - in your back yard, down at the local park, botanical garden, or out camping.
With fairies ever present in my 2 year olds world, I decided many months ago that I would like to create a fairy garden for her in amongst our veggie gardens at home. We spend so much time outdoors around the house that I wanted to create a special little corner just for her. At first I had thought of using an old antique style wheelbarrow, but decided on something much simpler and just utilised a bare corner of our garden that nothing seemed to grow in anyway.
Keeping in mind the plan of upcycling and making as much as possible by hand myself, we set about making and creating all the components of the garden well before preparing the garden itself.
I searched Pinterest, google images and fairy garden websites for inspiration. Fairy gardens are very popular at the moment so finding resources is simple, and finding readymade fairy garden ornaments and items is even simpler. That being said, I went about using air dry moulding clay from the cheap shop to create garden benches, a welcome arbour, stepping ‘stones’ shaped likes leaves, a miniature letter box, and even a fairy fire pit. We collected gumnuts from the park, sticks and branches to cut down, all with a gumnut fairy theme in mind. My 2 year old was able to get involved in the scavenging, playing with the moulding clay, and helping me put the whole garden together at the end, from planting the flowers to placing the stones along the pathway. Fairy gardens really can be an engaging activity for all ages.
Our favourite part of our little fairy garden was the creation of two recycled teapot fairy houses complete with paddle stick doors and crafty wooden ‘lights’. Coconut shell and bark completed the rooves, and the whole garden came together at the grand price of about $25. This was for the purchase of a packet of moulding clay, 4 small plant trays from the nursery, and a bag of red stones.
Once we had talked about how the fairy garden would look and what she would like to put in it, we put all of our creations together, added the coloured stones and some plants from the garden centre, and in just a few hours on a Sunday afternoon Rosie’s little fairy garden came to life.
A Few Fairy Garden Tips
- Upcycle and recycle: use things you already have at home first and add in purchased items later as the finishing touches.
- Plan well ahead: many great plants suitable for ‘moss gardens and fairy gardens’ require time to settle in, so if you are gifting the garden allow it time to establish.
- Think outside the box: a fairy house can be made of almost anything. An old tea pot, a rusty old watering can, an old tin can, a cheap bird house from the gardening centre.
- Making items for the garden is half the fun! Get the kids involved with the moulding clay, with collecting nuts and branches for rustic fences and gates, for building bridges.
- Older kids can help: they can draw out a plan or mud map of the fairy garden, plan where the house should go, and where the bridge and pathways should go. Their imaginations can go wild and will make the whole process much more engaging for all.
- Think about whether the fairy garden should be movable to accommodate the seasons, wet weather or cooler months. Will your planting choices withstand the change or would a pot on wheels or a wheelbarrow garden improve your chances of longevity.
- Make sure your ornaments and garden components are sturdy and will stand the test of play. Flimsy bridges and rickety fairy doors may not last long at the hands of an enthusiastic toddler. If you would like these things to last, consider this when choosing and making items.