A fairy garden. When you say it, many people imagine a miniature garden in a pot or basket. Maybe even a tree stump. But what about a life-sized fairy garden…what would that look like?
That’s what I decided to create, when my nieces were small. Something they could run around in, with wings tied to their backs and wands in their hands. And a garden I could enjoy, especially in the shade of the afternoon.
So, on the east side of the house, I carved a garden into the side of a small hill. With a grass path through the middle and another between the two sunny beds. The shady side (against the house) became the perfect place for a small table and two chairs. Black arches protected the paths, at middle and back, with a welcoming entrance at the front, flanked by mounds of white daisies.
Now, what to plant in such a garden? Roses. Of course, roses! Large, lovely shrubs in the back and smaller ones along the front. But also a myriad of perennials to bring in butterflies and hummingbirds. And butterfly bushes along the back of the sunny gardens, to keep yellow jackets away from the path. (That works…but I don’t know if it’s the plants or the fairies.)
To edge the sunny gardens, lavender. Lots of lavender. Hidcote is my favorite, since it can take all the water for the roses and our cold winters. It also keeps the deer from nosing into the roses. Other herbs are a necessary and wonderful addition, when you have deer. Pineapple mint and lemon balm (but be sure to keep an eye on these, they like to spread) and the king of spreading herbs…spearmint. Yes, it’s a handful, but worth every moment of work, when it blooms.
And now for the addition of large, small and unusual plants, to supply the magical elements a fairy garden needs. Bee balm, red and tall, with spiky purple centers. Sweet woodruff spreading throughout the shade gardens, with small purple violas blooming in its midst. White, lavender and purple alyssum surrounding a charming fairy castle and tiny english thyme between the lavender.
Finally, the arches. Coral and gold honeysuckle runs across one, while clematis blooms with large purple flowers, on the other. And don’t forget, a few alpine strawberries tucked here and there. Fairies love them and so will your little fairy helpers. Lily of the valley has an amazing fragrance, but it’s also poisonous….so with the little girls, I decided on violets. Think about your visitors, when you choose your plants and enjoy the magic of a delightful fairy garden!