May, 2021 I'm devoting this issue to one of my favorite things - fairy, or miniature, gardens. I can get lost in them! And it's really fun searching for miniature plants and occupants for them. There are so many themes, and when I come up with a new idea I have to ask myself if I really have room for another one. After all, I now have 11! Well, maybe I need a dozen...or a baker's dozen....
Toads are Fairies Too!
This is one of my favorite photos ever. A fat toad has taken temporary residence in one of my fairy gardens. I found him in the strangest way. My sister and I were on the sand arena with her horse when I noticed movement in the sand. It reminded me of the way a mole tunnels through the dirt, close to the surface. But what would a mole be doing here in the sand? When I picked up whatever what at the head of the moving tunnel, I was surprised to see it was a toad - a very lucky toad who didn't get stepped on by a very large horse!
I knew he shouldn't stay in the desiccating sand of the arena, so put him the fairy garden - a safe, moist place. I wish he would have stayed, but he didn't. Perhaps he was disappointed that he couldn't fit inside the door of the little house. In addition to the toads, we also have tiny beautiful frogs living here. They're either a gorgeous bronze or a sumptuous metallic green. I hope they will decide to live in the fairy gardens. They'd easily fit in the houses.
I recently made two little stoneware dragons, intending to put them in the Fairy Garden section of my Etsy shop. But one got injured in the kiln. A crack opened up across his belly, so I couldn't put him in the shop, and I didn't want to separate them. What to do but build another fairy garden?
I decided I'd like them to have a lair, but how to do it? The solution came when I accidentally broke a beautiful ceramic cachepot. The pieces could be used to construct a grotto! I also had a clay pot that had broken in half lengthwise. I submerged that half pot partway in the dirt, then leaned the broken cachepot pieces as well as other pieces of broken pottery and rocks against it. Originally, I was going to use glue, but decided I didn't need it. The construction purposefully included little pockets for soil because I wanted to plant baby tears over it.
These little gardens never look good when they're first planted. The plants need to settle in and grow. I used baby tears in the soil pockets on the lair's roof, a wire vine (left front), a bracopa (right rear), and transplanted some violets and sedum.
Though I didn't use the glue for the lair, I did use it for the stone cairn in the front right. It was amazing - held fast and tight.
I have great hopes for this little garden. It's in a box (I made it from a few cedar fence slats) with cool vintage drawer pulls on the front, and I placed it at the end of one of the long rose beds in my garden. I'll have a good view of it from a small sitting area nearby.
You can see more of my fairy gardens on my website, www.KaarenPoole.com. This link will take you directly to the Fairy Garden page.
I hope you decide to create a miniature garden of your own. There's lots of information on the internet, and www.miniaturegardenshoppe.com is my favorite source for miniature plants. Check it out! I bet you'll be inspired.
A fairy, or any kind of miniature garden, is easy to create and need not be expensive. For a container, you can build a wooden box, or use an old drawer, a galvanized tub, a wide shallow flowerpot, or any found object that will hold soil. Your container doesn’t have to be deep. Even if you’re planting a tree like a Japanese Maple your container needn’t be deeper than 12”.
The Beginning of it All
This is the first fairy garden house I made. It's stoneware, so is perfectly OK for outdoors. I can't remember whether I wanted to make a miniature house then decided to make a garden for it, or if the miniature garden came before the house. It hardly matters. However it came about, I'm hooked on these miniature habitats.
This particular house started out in a garden planted in a wooden box. With these gardens, you have to replant them every few years. The soil level sinks, the plants can get overgrown, and trees need to have their roots trimmed. Or maybe it just feels like time for a change. In any case, I decided it would be nice to have a little garden that could sit on my round glass-topped table. This particular table has a hole in the center of the glass for an umbrella, and that hole is perfect for two things. I threaded a tube for drip irrigation through the hole and then up into in the pot. Also, water can drain from the pot through that hole and not get the table wet.
I often sit at this table and get lost in the little landscape.
I'm offering you, my precious subscribers, a 15% discount in my Etsy shop, TheFoxesGarden. Profits from any sales from the Bear section will go to Idaho Black Bear Rehab. Everything in the shop is hand made by me. From May 4 through 18, just use discount code MAY15OFF at checkout. I ship the day after I receive your order, and domestic shipping is free. Click on the image of the fairy house to visit my shop! (By the way, the only items that are not discounted are my books Tales of Love and Courage from Milkweed Manor and A Milkweed Christmas - The Inn at Ivy Knoll. If I discounted them, I'd be selling at a loss.)
The News from Milkweed
I'm working on illustrations for this year's A Milkweed Christmas book. The badgers will be this year's hosts. But each of the Milkweedian families has its own special traditions. Here, mama squirrel is hanging the Advent calendars little Effie and Lily made.
June - the Month of Love
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