Fairy gardens are fun and meant to catch the eye

Fairy gardens are miniature gardens developed with small plants and accessories. They can be located outside or in. Outside, they are located in nocks and crannies; inside, in a large shallow container.

Fairy gardens are miniature gardens developed with small plants and accessories. They can be located outside or in. Outside, they are located in nocks and crannies; inside, in a large shallow container.

To make an inside fairy garden, start with a large shallow container that has drainage holes on the bottom. If there is fear of soil escaping from the holes, cover them with a mesh screen.

The soil should contain peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, and some soil or compost. The ideal soil will soak up some moisture while draining the excess away. If the soil holds too much moisture, the roots of plants tend to rot.

All plants in the container are going to have the same growing environment so choose plants accordingly. Do not mix plants that need full sun with ones that prefer filtered light. Likewise, check to see if the plants like to be wet, moist or have dry periods. Optimum conditions for all plants will mean a great dish garden.

Many garden centres will have plants labelled for fairy gardens. Varieties will vary between establishments but don’t limit the garden to only these plants as others will also work well.

Look for plants that are either small, slow growing or easily contained by pinching back new growth. Varieties of the genus pilea and peperpmia are used for smaller indoor gardens. Polka dot plant and babies tears are two more easy to find and easy to grow tropicals. The latter two will need to be pinched or cut back regularly.

Small succulents and cacti also work well as they come in many shapes, colours, textures and grow slowly. It is best not to mix succulents and or cacti with tropical plants.

As with any garden, choose plants of a variety of shape, size and colour as it will add interest to the garden.

Knowing how many plants to place in a container can always be an issue. Too many will result in it looking overgrown. Too few will leave it bare. An eight-inch round container will hold two to three plants depending on how much ornamentation is being added.

Start building the fairy garden by filling the container with moist soil. It is much easier to start with moist soil as opposed to trying to wet it once it is in the container.

Place the plants on top of the soil along with ornamentation to get an idea of how many will fit and the design. If desired, contour the soil to form small hills and valleys.

Once satisfied, dig the holes for the plants. Take the plants, one at a time out of the pot and examine the roots. If the root ball is completely white, cut an X across the bottom of the roots to encourage it to spread outwards into surrounding soil.

Roots balls with less root showing can be placed immediately into the hole and covered with soil. Press the soil down around the plant to eliminate extra air pockets that can dry out the roots.

At this point, ornamentation can be added. Size of the container, imagination and pocket book is the limit. Twigs, rocks and sand, plain or coloured, can be used to define paths and streams.

Gift shops, dollar stores, garden centres, florists and craft stores have a multitude of miniature items that will fit into the fairy garden. It’s best to pick one theme and choose items with that in mind.

The ornaments need not stay forever. They are quick to change, making it a great seasonal display.

Indoor fairy gardens are cared for the same as all house plants. Check the moisture level in a couple of spots before watering. Fertilize regularly when the plants are actively growing, less during their dormant season. If one plant becomes unsightly, remove it and replace it with another. If plants get too big, they can be removed and a new one added.

Fairy gardens are meant to be fun and they catch the eye of many children.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist who lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com.

Just Posted

New admissions have been suspended for Engineering Technology diplomas (Instrumentation, Electrical and Mechanical) and the Transitional Vocational Program at Red Deer College. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Developmentally disabled impacted: Red Deer College suspends program

Transitional Vocational Program comes to an end

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman holds up freedom of information requests that turned up no records. The Opposition requested back-to-school re-entry plan correspondence between Education Minister Adriana LaGrange and school boards, teachers and the media. Photo via Facebook live
NDP renews calls for Alberta gov’t to scrap K-6 draft curriculum

The NDP is once again calling on the Alberta Government to get… Continue reading

Earlier this week Alberta Health Services warned that Rocky Mountain House Health Centre emergency department would be temporarily without physician coverage from May 12, at 6 p.m., to May 13, at 7 a.m. (Photo contributed by the Town of Rocky Mountain House)
Doctors needed in Rocky Mountain House

Emergency department temporarily closed due to doctor shortage

The owner of Mae’s Kitchen in Mirror, says hamlet residents were ‘disheartened’ by a recent anti-restriction protest. The restaurant is following all the health restrictions in place. (Photo courtesy Mae’s Kitchen Facebook)
‘We don’t need that’: Mirror restaurant against recent anti-restriction protest

A week after a large anti-restriction protest at The Whistle Stop Cafe… Continue reading

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Supporters dance during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror, Alta., on Saturday, May 8, 2021. RCMP say they have ticketed four people after the rally that was attended by hundreds.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leadership responsible for protests against public health orders: expert

Alberta leadership responsible for protests against public health orders: expert

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney answers questions at a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Kenney is distancing himself from a decision to expel two members from his United Conservative caucus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Kenney distances himself from caucus vote to turf dissidents with ‘personal agendas’

Kenney distances himself from caucus vote to turf dissidents with ‘personal agendas’

Alberta's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday, July 6, 2020. A judge is expected to rule this morning on a challenge of the United Conservative government's inquiry into whether foreign groups have conspired against Alberta's oil industry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Judge dismisses attempt to quash ‘anti-Alberta’ activities inquiry

Judge dismisses attempt to quash ‘anti-Alberta’ activities inquiry

Albertans receive vaccines at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary on Thursday, April 22, 2021. Alberta Health Services says it has obtained a restraining order against a Calgary mayoral candidate who the agency says has threatened health workers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta health agency obtains restraining order against Calgary mayoral candidate

Alberta health agency obtains restraining order against Calgary mayoral candidate

In this file photo dated Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, doses of AstraZeneca vaccines for COVID-19 sit in vials at the Fiocruz Foundation after being bottled in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Some health experts are questioning Canada's decision to accept thousands of doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine this week just for them to sit in freezers in an Ontario warehouse because provinces have shunned the idea of using any more of them for first doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Bruna Prado, FILE
Experts call on Canada to use COVAX doses of AstraZeneca or give them back

Experts call on Canada to use COVAX doses of AstraZeneca or give them back

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Federal health officials are laying out their vision for what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal officials lay out road map for post-vaccine life as third wave ebbs

Federal officials lay out road map for post-vaccine life as third wave ebbs

An aerial view of housing in Calgary is shown on June 22, 2013. The Calgary Real Estate Board says the city's housing market is expected to stabilize, with some prices forecast to rise this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Alberta health agency obtains restraining order against Calgary mayoral candidate

CALGARY — Alberta Health Services says it has obtained a restraining order… Continue reading

Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault is seen during a news conference Thursday, June 18, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Guilbeault doubles down on Bill C-10 as opposition MPs demand Lametti testify

Guilbeault doubles down on Bill C-10 as opposition MPs demand Lametti testify

Most Read