Around this time last year, my two littlest children and I built a little garden in the backyard…just for them to play in. The flowers grew, and the bees buzzed in and out. The children drove trucks through the little muddy pathways, they dug up worms, ate the strawberries from their own tiny patch, and watched the sweet peas climb the back wall. There were some very special hours passed in that little garden.
But something always seemed to be missing.
The winter came and the plants turned brown and crumbled into the earth. The freeze seemed to last an eternity. But when the big melt finally arrived, the kids and I were itching to get outside and transform that little patch of dirt into something even better than it was before. We had finally figured out just what our garden had been missing all along…
My 2 little ones firmly believe in the magic of fairies, and I am not one to argue about things of the heart…I am a huge believer in things one cannot always see.
So Coco, age 9, and Mr. Pancakes, age 7 went about planning their garden. They wanted it to be everything it needed to be for fairies to want to come and visit, and I wanted it not to cost me a fortune. We put our minds together, scrounged things from the craft room, visited our favourite thrift store, and gathered up a few things from our backyard. We also tried to use most of the bits we had already put in our garden last summer.
They started out with painting a generous pile of stones they had gathered from under our patio in the back yard…We used acrylic paints and glitter and covered them with mod podge and a clear coat of varnish so they stones would stand up to the heavy Spring rains. The kids wanted to make winding stone pathways through their garden for the fairies to walk upon to visit one another…I suggested that maybe the fairies would feel extra welcome if we gave them their own magical door into the garden. The door was purchased online at fancy.com and came with its own little ladder. It had been a gift to me from Christmas time, so we had it on hand already. The door comes in white, but this mama decided to give it a little more pop, so I joined the kids at the craft table and painted alongside them. I also cut little tiny triangles of felt from my fabric supply and glued them to a piece of twine to create a little bunting for the garden fairies…
*Some of the other bits and pieces we collected for the garden were seashells, twigs, stones, $1 tea cups and saucers, 50 cent glass bowls and a $3 bag of sea glass from the thrift store, little terra-cotta pots from the Dollar Store, plastic frogs, a ceramic bird, a plastic flying cardinal on a stake, and bird bath from last year’s garden. We took a trip to the Farmer’s Market and Coco and Mr. P. chose all kids of flowers and herbs to plant. The strawberry patch had already come back up in the existing garden, so that was a big bonus!
We spent the first afternoon planting the flowers, placing stones, and building the little fairy houses with tea cups and bunting tied to twigs. I used sticky velcro to attach the fairy door to the fence, and encouraged the kids to leave themselves each a spot “unplanted” so they would have room to sit and play…
And then the thunderclouds rolled in. Coco and Mr. Pancakes were desperately worried about their newly planted flowers! So I quickly fashioned a shelter from an old sheet and some garden stakes and we left the garden under a flowery canopy and waited for tomorrow. The morning came, more pathways were constructed, more flowers and herbs planted, and fairy hot tubs were installed…Mr. Pancakes thought it necessary to leave a sign in the garden asking the fairies to make the frogs come to life and stay in the garden where he had built a very special frog house for them…So without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to the three fairies who have come to watch over the garden in the day…
This is Iris. She lives here in Mr. P’s teacup house. Mr. Pancakes says she uses her magic to bring honeybees to the garden and to make the spiders stay out.This is Ivy. The kids tell me she is responsible for making all the herbs bright green and very tasty!And this is Bluebell. She lives in Coco’s teacup house and is a little bit shy of cameras. Coco says she likes to sing for the other fairies and birds nearby.The two kids have been playing in that little garden every chance they get. Each day they check to see if anything has moved about in their garden…proof that other fairies are using their little door into this magical little place. They come inside with dirty knees, happy hearts, and full of tales to tell.This garden was designed and built almost entirely by my kids. I painted the door and installed it, and I made the fairy buntings. That’s it. I let them choose the flowers and herbs and decide where they should be planted.
*The plants in their garden include strawberries, pansies, dianthus, wheatgrass (for their smoothies), parsley and cilantro for the hens, a pumpkin for jack-o-laterns in the fall, ivy, thyme for “fairy carpets”, peppermint for their fruit drinks in the summer, and a few other perennials of which I have forgotten the names of. The only direction I gave was to choose plants that were easily maintained and required the kind of sunshine that we get on that side of the yard.
The bits and pieces they built their fairy garden with, were also their own ideas, and they cost next to nothing, making this a project that didn’t wear me out, nor empty my bank account. I like that kind of project, don’t you?
p.s. The fairies are made by Safari Ltd. and were purchased at Michaels, but you can buy them online at Amazon. Safari Ltd. has also created a Toob of tinier fairies which can be purchased at Amazon. Oh, and THIS set is on Coco’s wish list and I can’t blame her!
Thanks for stopping by!
~Arlee, Small Potatoes