How Does Your ( Fairy ) Garden Grow?

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Tending a garden, or even maintaining our landscaping, has gone by the wayside since the kids arrived.  We’re doing the bare minimum at this point, which is a shame because in the past it’s given me much joy.  Thank goodness my clematis is about as effort free as possible.  At this point, I’m not doing a thing to it besides watching it grow!

As with anything I do lately, I’ve learned the best way to find time to do something– cooking, working out, cleaning– is to include my kids as much as possible.  As my list of things I want to do in the yard this year grew, so did my need for something to get the kids involved.

That’s when our fairy garden was born.

It began with a trip to the farm for some organic potting soil.  I don’t want them playing in chemicals, so I sprang for the $10 bag of the really good organic stuff.  Then we were off for an adventure to Ott’s Exotic Plants, the coolest nursery ever.  I mean, how many plant centers do you know have a full scale waterfall– with a trail you can walk above and around it– as evidenced by that fence at the top of the photo?

They also have a ‘mountain’.  This is 1/3 of the mountain pictured below, I couldn’t get more photos because my kids made a beeline for it– as you’ll see there’s a walkway on top that beckoned them like a siren.  Can’t you just picture my Danger Twins hanging off those rails?  Yikes.  In spring it’s covered with pansies but it’s the autumn that gets the fireworks– mums cover the entire structure.

Plus it has a tunnel.  Just long enough to be a little scary in a fun way for two bear-hunters and monster-finders.

But want to know what stopped me in my tracks?  Check out the old floors of the greenhouse.


I mean, really, WHERE ELSE would you find such stunning pattern on the floor of a nursery?  Paris, maybe.  Not that I would know.  Sigh.

We scooped up a few plants.  Bee helped pull the wagon, very intently.  He reminds me of a secret service agent here.

The fairy garden started with a big plastic tub with handles.  I liked it because it was lightweight and easy to bring inside if the temps get too cold.  It really came together with a birdhouse and fairies purchased from Michaels (they were in a plastic tube, in the same section as the plastic animals).

These blue glass marbles are from The Dollar Store, which was supposed to be a river but looks more like an ocean.  On a hill.

Gnomes and metal flower from JoAnn Fabrics.

The metal letter A and an Eiffel Tower were from a vendor at the flower show. Random, but fun.

The kids had other ideas of what to do with those ‘treasures’.

Here’s the most important rule when putting together a fairy garden for kids: let them do most of it themselves.  Sure you can guide them, but I had to remember this wasn’t for me.  When Noodle covered the entire hillside with the marbles meant to be a river, she was so proud.  And then she filled the birdhouse with the rest of them.  Oh, well.  She loves it!

The fairy garden is so adored by both kids I’ve decided to make another one more age appropriate for Bee (because he doesn’t quite understand how to be gentle with the plants).  We’re working on a dinosaur ‘garden’– with a cave and rocks– which I’m sure both kids will fight over.  That post is coming up soon, once I wrestle it out of the kids hands.  😉

By the way, I’m fairly convinced I should only take photos outside on cloudy, dreary days.  Why does that seem to make the colors pop so beautifully?!

Have a happy Totful Tuesday, and now get out there and GARDEN!

How does your garden grow this time of year?  Any favorite low maintenance plants you love?  How do you find time to garden with the kids around? 
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  1. I LOVE IT! Have you gone to the Magic Onion site to check out her garden or to enter her fairy garden contest? I also love the dino idea for boys. Noah could use a good place for his animals to play! (And thank you for the reminder to let kids do the work. I forget about that part too often.)

  2. Okay, now I have to check out Ott’s. We stopped by Styers this morning, and of course, looked for all the waterfalls, but they were nowhere near as big as Ott’s. Lots of discussions about how the pumps work.

    And yes, a perfect Fairy Garden!

  3. so cute! my kids and i just did a terrarium today. 🙂 hope to do a fairy garden this summer.

  4. I love faerie gardens. My grandmother made one for me when I was a little girl and it was the first garden my own kids had, too. We plant a new one every year and they really look forward to it.

  5. We just got some of those fairies last week! My youngest liked how shiny they were. Picked them over the pirates. And the colors really do pop on cloudy days…I guess the diffuse light helps? Anyway, the project is cute, and your kids definitely seemed to enjoy it.

    Jess @ TupeloCreative

  6. I am in love! When we were little our neighbors put glitter in their gardens, some in shapes, some just your ‘garden’ variety sparkles. We were entranced! This is so much cooler! Thanks! Great post!

  7. Such amazing photos! Wow. The fairy garden is so precious, as are the children! I want to build a little fairy garden this spring with my preschoolers. I think they would love making one.

    1. Thanks Sherry! They’ll love making it, and probably love playing in it even more (my kids had such a blast with the gnomes and fairies!)

  8. They say that the best light conditions for pictures are overcast days. So you aren’t crazy for thinking that the pictures are better. The fairy garden is perfect!

    1. Thanks Karen! I’m going to take my camera outside more often on overcast days from now on, that lighting was perfect.

  9. Pingback: Garden Inspiration: Philadelphia Flower Show 2014 | Making Lemonade

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