Don’t let the term scare you; there are no fairies needed. A “fairy garden” is just a miniature garden or landscape in a container, including some hardscape items such as stone paths or fairy chairs and little houses or some sort of miniature objects to give one the perception of a miniature garden. The use of many types of small leaved plants with an assortment of leaf colors and textures along with a combination of growth habits and plant structures can give the illusion of a true miniature garden.
To begin, find a shallow container or a bird bath, maybe even a broken terra cotta pot. from 2 to 4 inches deep and 12 to 20 inches wide. This size would make a suitable miniature landscape, but the size can be as big or as small as your imagination will let it be.
Normally, a container that is porous and with a drainage hole is recommended, however, when a shallow container with such wide proportions is used, the water can evaporate much more quickly and more oxygen is available to the shallow root system, allowing healthy root growth without much of a risk of rotting. If the container is much deeper, the addition of a drainage hole would be desirable.
When a drainage hole is not present, place a layer of horticultural charcoal in the bottom of the container then top with potting soil. Because of the large surface area of the container, the plants also have the risk of drying out too quickly. This moisture balance can be aided by the use of moist, long fiber sphagnum moss, sometimes referred to as orchid moss, to mulch the top of the soil layer.
This can be an enjoyable and satisfying form of gardening for children as well as adults, and your only limitation is your imagination.
Many garden centers are now featuring a large assortment of miniature plants that are well suited for miniature landscape gardens along with the miniature objects that give the garden character. It would also be fun to make some garden objects out of things around the house. With a good imagination, the possibilities are endless.
Some possible plant selections would be low growing sedums, little leaved ivies, Muehlenbeckia (wire vine), Hypoestes (poka-dot plant), Fittonia (mosaic plant), Columnea (goldfish plant), Selaginella (club moss), Peperomia, Ficus pumila (creeping fig), even jewel orchids grown for their foliage instead of for their flowers. Tiny succulents would also be good to consider when choosing plants for your landscape.
No matter what plants you choose, or your imagination, creating your own “fairy garden” is sure to be fun and creative. And it will become a focal point in your home or in your garden.