Fairy Gardening

fairy garden

fairy garden summer learningFairy gardening is a miniature landscape complete with structures and smaller living plants. You and your family can easily complete a fairy garden in an afternoon using what you probably already have on hand.

For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.

Buddha mini garden Photo credit Iris Gonzalez

As a lover of all things miniature and a lifelong gardener, I’m always creating tiny landscapes. Maintenance is as easy as keeping a potted plant alive. If some plants don’t make it, remember the losses are tiny, too. Here’s basic materials you’ll need.

Containers can be as small as a teacup or as large as a plastic wheeled tub for storing linens under your bed (perfect for a fairy garden birthday party for five to six children). 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.

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.

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. I also search for discounted stunted foliage plants because they can stand in as a tree in a fairy landscape. Trim plants as needed to fit in your garden.

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.

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.

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.

Fairy Gardening for Preschoolers

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.

Fairy Gardening for Grade Schoolers

Children in middle grades often approach fairy gardens as an art project with living plants, as 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.

Fairy Gardening for Upper Schoolers

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.

Stefanie admires her fairy garden just completed in a plastic wheeled tub Photo credit Iris Gonzalez

Read More About Fairy Gardening

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.

Mini garden in a small planter Photo credit Iris Gonzalez

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Iris Gonzalez’s interview with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats.

For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.

About the Author

Iris Gonzalez is a passionate gardener who writes about innovation-focused companies at StartupsSanAntonio.com She has a teen son who knows “helping Mom in the garden” means dirty, sweaty work.

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