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Fairy gardens can cast a spell on kids this summer

4 minutos de lectura


Published

2:15 pm CDT, Friday, June 26, 2020

Snap dragons and campanulas, pint-sized furniture and a fairy come together in this fairy garden. (Huntinton Beach) Fairy gardens allow people to excercize their creativity on a small scale.

Snap dragons and campanulas, pint-sized furniture and a fairy come together in this fairy garden. (Huntinton Beach) Fairy gardens allow people to excercize their creativity on a small scale.

Photo: Don Kelsen /Los Angeles Times Via Getty Images

Photo: Don Kelsen /Los Angeles Times Via Getty Images

Snap dragons and campanulas, pint-sized furniture and a fairy come together in this fairy garden. (Huntinton Beach) Fairy gardens allow people to excercize their creativity on a small scale.

Snap dragons and campanulas, pint-sized furniture and a fairy come together in this fairy garden. (Huntinton Beach) Fairy gardens allow people to excercize their creativity on a small scale.

Photo: Don Kelsen /Los Angeles Times Via Getty Images

Fairy gardens can cast a spell on kids this summer

Discover fairy gardening with this San Antonio Charter Moms summer project for kids.

So, what is a fairy garden?

“A fairy garden is a miniature landscape,” said Iris Gonzalez, who created the Charter Moms project. “It has become a popular hobby over the years because the small scale allows you to exercise your creativity and imagination on a small scale.”

The gardens are something like living dollhouses, with real plants and miniature accessories — often with a magical theme — that can be purchased from nurseries or craft stores or, in the case of this project, scavenged from kids’ toy boxes.

Ginny Peters manages Spring Creek Gardens, a garden center in Spring Branch that sells fairy garden supplies. She attributes the broad appeal of the whimisical little landscapes to their “being inexpensive and adorable.”

Fairy gardens are perfect for kids in need of something creative to do this summer. Look around your house and you might find everything you need to create a tiny world of your own.

— Ingrid Wilgen

What to do

Grab a container: They can be as small as a teacup or as large as a plastic wheeled tub for storing linens under your bed. Make sure your container has drainage holes. If you don’t want to add holes, place crushed eggshells or packing peanuts on the bottom of a larger container and do not water excessively.

Dig up some dirt: Garden dirt can come from the nursery or your backyard, as long as it’s from a healthy part of your garden. Do not reuse dirt from a diseased plant.

Start with plants: Nurseries such as Shades of Green and Milberger’s carry fairy garden plants. If you already have plants at home, look for small offshoots on your larger plants, such as the babies at the base of a mature succulent. Stunted foliage plants, often sold at a discount, can stand in as a tree in a fairy landscape. Trim plants as needed to fit in your garden. When choosing plants, group them by their needs for sun and water in the same container. That will make it easier to keep the fairy garden alive.

Accessorize: Miniature accessories are as close as your kids’ toy collections. Decide upon a theme and find tiny treasures that reflect it. You can also make fairy garden ladders from twigs and string or use natural elements like acorns, small rocks and tiny pebbles or aquarium gravel to create paths and add interest.

Lesson plans

Gardening teaches young people patience as they watch plants grow over time. An imaginative fairy garden also brings the joy we experience from creating something beautiful.

Preschool: Imaginative play is so important for preschoolers. They can add their favorite smaller toys to something as simple as a sturdy, shallow cardboard box. Add sand and live oak ball moss, and they can pretend it’s a beach. Sink a tiny cup in some dirt and fill with water, and now their garden has a fountain. Chances are the fairy garden will be a temporary one, but the fantasy play and imaginative role playing is enriching for preschoolers.

Grade school: Children in middle grades often approach fairy gardens as an art project with living plants; anything from bottle caps to popsicle sticks can be turned into fairy-sized furniture. Encourage boys to try some of these ideas. Designing spaces like fairy gardens can help students build problem-solving skills they’ll need later in life.

Upper grades: Mini gardens can be an enjoyable plant science project for your teens. Ask them to select a theme, research plants and their growth requirements, and find or make accessories to bring the scene to life. Have them search online for images like these to spark their creative process, and perhaps they can even incorporate STEM or science and technology elements into their gardens.

Resources

 Longtime miniature gardening expert Janit Calvo founded the Miniature Garden Society to help those interested in fairy gardening.

 Get ideas for a literacy-inspired fairy garden here.

 Teachers Pay Teachers lists educator-developed learning resources based on themes, including fairy gardening.