Fairy gardens are miniature plantscapes filled with very small accessories, greenery, and more. Fairy gardens are a very enchanting idea to brighten your home. Start with a container, potting mix, a few plants, accessories, and your imagination.
Any vessel that will hold soil and also allow excess water to drain away will work. The best containers for little landscapes have a large open surface area to accommodate many garden features. Ceramic and terra cotta pots, wicker baskets (with a liner), hyper-tufa troughs, and wooden boxes are all good choices.
Fairy gardens need a special spot when established in the ground. A location under a tree or near a bench can anchor the little landscape and ensure visitors won't miss seeing it. Protection from rain, strong wind, and direct sunlight will help to maintain the integrity of the garden and pieces.
The growing media for a fairy garden in a container must provide good drainage. The average potting mix—with peat moss, perlite, vermiculite—that is used for garden planters and window boxes will work. Stay away from mixes containing actual soil/dirt, as it will not drain well enough.
This is the fun part. Before planting the garden, place all of the features, accessories, and plants to be included in the design in their respective places on top of the soil. This gives you the chance to experiment with different arrangements without overhandling the plants and basically making a mess.
Plant with the largest root mass first as they cause the most disruption to the soil level. When finished planting, smooth the soil a final time and gently water the entire surface with a sprinkling can.
Sun, water, and weather are hard on us all, especially for fairy garden pieces. To protect any garden pieces, apply a clear UV protectant coating/spray each year.
The best location for your garden will depend on the plants you choose. Sun plants should be grown with at least a half day of sun, and shade plants should be grown with protection from direct sun after 10 or 11 a.m.
Fairy gardens are best watered by hand, using a watering can or a watering wand and hose set at a trickle. Too much water too fast will scatter stones, pavers, and soil and upset the whole garden.
For beginning gardeners and those who don't want to deal with overwintering, try treating the containerscape as a seasonal arrangement. Remove the plants at the end of the growing season and store the accessories in a dry place out of direct sunlight. For those who want to keep their garden indoors year-round, be sure to select only houseplants and plants that can handle the low light levels found indoors.
Plants like to grow, so a little pinching and pruning is necessary to maintain the integrity of your fairy garden. If the leaves and stems are just growing over their section of the garden, simply cut those long pieces back until the plant is a little smaller than the size you want.