At Home Activity: Fairy Gardens!

Over quarantine, many of us have had extra time on our hands. We've taken up the art of sour dough bread making, planted our own vegetable gardens, learned our neighborhoods on countless walks and spent hours working on adult coloring books. Or maybe that was just me....?

If you didn't go down a rabbit hole like I did, and you're looking for something to pass the time creatively, consider making your own fairy garden!  With the help of my ridiculously talented coworker Pilar, together we've been constructing miniature gardens and accessories out of nature scraps as a new display for the Learning Garden. I've made fairy gardens in the past, and I have always loved to include them in public spaces, because they are a fun way to engage people in the garden. It had been been years since I've made one, so this was a super fun reminder for me!

To build our Fairy Gardens, Pilar and I set out to find some workable sticks, branches and stones, and we got to work.  While the Learning Garden has been closed to the public, I've been able to spend some time re-thinking areas and adding features. So, here are some ideas and tips for making your fairy gardens at home based on what we've learned. 

A door or fairy portal: popsicle sticks, glue, twigs and leaves.

Oh and what are Fairy gardens, you ask? Exactly what they seem!  They are miniature gardens consisting of small landscapes with trinkets, furniture, tiny plants, all designed to "attract" fairies to your garden.  Fairies are said to look over gardens and protect the space. You don't have to believe in fairies to love a miniature garden- Fairies or no fairies, these tiny garden worlds are just cute!

What you'll need:
- hot glue gun, and glue
- additional glue, like E600 in clear: Get it from Michaels here
   you can also get it at Home Depot, online, etc.
- sticks, mosses, stones, pebbles branches, mulch, plant parts, whatever you can find!
- old flower pots or terra cotta pots- broken are just fine
- popsicle sticks, gems, crafting materials if you have some!
- imagination

Fairy Garden Components:
-small scale foliage (only a few inches high)
-miniature path, stepping stones,
-chairs, tables, homes
-water features (pond, fountain, waterfall)
-swings, hammocks, signs,
& more!

Your goal is to create a small village, so anything that makes your miniature garden home feel complete can be included. I've even seen some fairy gardens with miniature pets or ponds!  Spend some time outdoors collecting sticks, seed pods, coconut husk, mulch, whatever your heart desires. 

To build fairy gardens I love to use E6000. It's a permanent, weather proof bonding adhesive, and it works on everything. I think it's the best glue for working with plant material, so it works especially well for fairy gardens. The hot glue will also help things to stick quickly. 

sit down at the fairy table and enjoy a woodland snack

When you begin your fairy garden, its important to think about where you want your garden to be.
 If you have a yard or space, you can incorporate it into the ground. If not, containers and flower pots make perfect fairy gardens, because they are already small and contained. Some plants for fairy gardens include ground covers, mosses, ferns, succulents, and anything with small leaves.

After you've gathered some materials, chosen your space you're ready to get to work. As you build, don't be shy with the glue and twine.  If you have glue blobs showing, just remember you can cover them up with leaves, moss or small stones if you need to.

             A waterfall made from hot glue and stones.                         Picnic tables of popsicle sticks, and mushrooms of recycled Easter eggs!

 Anything goes in your fairy garden!  You can draw some inspiration from these photos, or search Fairy Gardens on Pinterest or any search engine and you'll discover a whole new world of creativity.

Hope to see you soon in The Sensory & Learning Garden to welcome our new Fairy village!