Fairy Garden Expert
Everytime a child says ‘I don’t believe in fairies
there is a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.
James M. Barrie
There’s something to be said for digging in the dirt and planting little plants and watching them grow and thrive. Sometimes, however, gardening can get beyond the limits of your abilities. Do you like to garden but don’t have either the time or, perhaps, the space to pursue it? Whether it’s because you work 60 plus hours a week, live somewhere that either doesn’t have a yard or space to store the tools and equipment, or have physical limitations that hinder your desire, you may be among the many people who find themselves in a situation where they would like to connect with the earth in some way but not in the big way that a yard or garden requires.
That’s why some people do bonsai. Little gardens with little trees and little tools all of which take up little space and time.
But, another type of little garden that is becoming quite popular is fairy gardening. It’s miniature gardening, sort of like what you would do if your daughter said the residents of her dream doll house wanted a backyard living area to go with the fully furnished house—but, even smaller.
Summers Past Farms.com
Created for the fairies (what, you don’t believe in fairies?), these gardens are tended with loving care and a creative vision that puts many full-size gardens to shame.
Fairy Garden Expert.com
Furniture, tools, and plants are sold for this niche market including wicker furniture, little grills, beverage buckets, wooden benches, and adirondack chairs.
Two Green Thumbs.com
Books and seminars are available to help you design and maintain your own miniature, or fairy garden. They’ll tell you what kind of dirt to use and what kinds of plants to buy.
Janit Calvo, of Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center, has developed a business creating miniature gardens. Using pots, containers of any sort, or building one from scratch, Janit creates magical gardens and outdoor landscapes which, when photographed, can even fool plant experts into thinking that they are looking at a picture of Janit’s own backyard.
Two Green Thumbs.com
Two Green Thumbs
Beverly Turner has been creating fairy gardens at M & M Nursery in Orange, California since 2001. Motivated by the response she received, Beverly has become a Fairy Garden guru, written a book, and established Fairy Garden Expert, a website where she keeps her many customers happy with fairy garden products, ideas, advice, and installations.
Fairy Garden Expert
Fairy Garden Expert
Creating a miniature garden is a great way to introduce a child to the rewards and responsibilities of gardening.
Labeling it a fairy garden adds a magical element and another dimension from which to draw inspiration for projects, stories, and education.
Fairy In A Garden.com
Some day, when I no longer work in my big garden, either because I find myself strapped for space or complaining about my aching back (soon—very soon), I think I will try my hand at creating a charming fairy garden, or two. All of the ideas for gardens that I have in my head can be translated into these tiny little space-savers. Then, I can sit back and watch for the fairies.
There is a phenomenon that has been gaining momentum over the past few years called pop-up parks. The idea is that a park is planned to “pop-up” in a temporary space for a limited amount of time. Typically found in urban areas, pop-up parks usually entail closing a section of the street to cars and buses, adding some outdoor furniture, play equipment, games, and, possibly, some turf, to create an oasis in the hard-top jungle.
The concept began in New York City when a couple of lanes of Broadway were borrowed for the use of lawn chairs and a “plaza” was born.
New York City DOT
Since then, cities all over the world have joined the movement: San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, London, and Vancouver, to name a few.
National Parks and Recreation
Park(ing) Day was born as a grassroots movement to reclaim metered parking spaces, turn them into temporary mini-parks, and call attention to the need for green space in urban areas.
Twincities Sidewalks Blogspot
While some business owners may see this as a notion that is contrary to doing business, (What? Take parking spaces away?), the group has shown business owners, especially restaurateurs, that by taking a couple of the parking spaces, setting up a few tables in the space, and serving food, they can offer sought after outdoor dining. The notion of outdoor dining is appealing to many patrons and those restaurants which have no outdoor space available can benefit from just a couple of spaces. (Haven’t you ever gone specifically to one restaurant over another because one had outdoor dining while the other did not?) Locations can vary, allowing many businesses to benefit, not to mention the element of surprise this offers customers.
Pop-up parks can be established to change usage of a particular space. In order to slow traffic down outside the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, an area was absorbed from the street into what became known as The Porch. With outdoor furniture, planters and patio umbrellas, the space serves as an outdoor waiting room at the station on the one hand, but also serves the primary purpose of altering traffic habits.
Art Place America.org
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society created a beer garden from an unused green space in Philadelphia.
World Landscape Architect.com
In such areas, where urban decay presents an eyesore, or even a danger, pop-up gardens can transform the space and lead to more permanent changes. Often, a community can pull together the resources to install a pop-up garden in a very short amount of time—far less than it would take to go through more mainstream planning and budget controls. Once an area has been transformed and it is determined that the space will be used, both local government and the public are more willing to move forward with a permanent plan.
World Landscape Architect.com
Creating green areas in the urban landscape is important on so many levels. Not only do they encourage people to linger outside, but they add to the perceived value of a city, create ecological and health benefits to the population, encourage interaction between people, improve safety, and provide space for natural wildlife to survive. While most urban areas have stately and, perhaps historic parks which are central to the community, the idea of a scrappy little park that is looking for a place in neither history nor tour books has merit, as well. Any spot that brings people outside and allows them to interact in a world where personal interaction seems to be dwindling is a good thing. I love the idea and put my Outdoorlicious! stamp of approval on each and every one.
Where To Stay.com
Everyone loves to play games when they get together. Whether it is cards, a boxed game, a cerebral game, or a sporting game, games are a way to allow a group of people to interact with each other in an activity that includes everyone and focuses on something other than conversation. So often, when at a get-together, people split into smaller groups and numerous conversations are taking place at once. This is great when people who haven’t seen each other get together and want to catch up. Sometimes, however, it’s just fun to have a game be the reason for getting together. (How many Trivial Pursuit parties have you attended?)
There are so many great games that can be played outdoors: badminton, croquet, bocce ball (or boules, depending on where you inspiration comes from), volleyball, and I’m sure you can add many more to this list.
Healthy Living Arizona Central.com
How about this one—take an area of your lawn or patio and create a giant checkers or chess board? Life-sized, this becomes decoration (and certainly a conversation piece) for your outdoor living room—or, should I say, outdoor playroom?
Pre-made “boards” are available to purchase, but I like the idea of incorporating the game board into the hardscape. Using tiles, bricks, gravel, or grass, you can create an interesting board that remains a part of the landscape after the game is finished.
Two Men and A Little Farm.blogspot.com
Creating the pieces could be a bit more of a challenge, unless you wish to purchase pre-made pieces. It may take some thought and trial and error before coming up with something that works but this is the creative part. How unique you can get in your game piece creations is the fun part. Just remember that for chess you need two sets of everything: 2 Kings, 2 Queens, 4 Bishops, 4 Knights, 4 Rooks, and 16 Pawns and each set must be different enough to tell them apart.
Game’s On—and it is Outdoorlicious!
See and Do France.com
Two terms (both French) that are familiar to garden and landscape designers are bosquet and parterre, although neither is commonly known to the casual gardener. It’s a pity, though, as both of them are useful tools in creating outdoor rooms. Everyone has seen them, (parterre is a bit more common), often in a public park, or grand, formal landscape. Have you visited Versailles or Kensington Palace? If so, then you have seen fine examples of these landscape techniques.
A bosquet is a grove or plantation of shrubs or trees generally arranged in a geometric pattern or set in strict regularity and traditionally paved with gravel.
Versailles Bosquet de la Reine- Wally G, Flickr
A parterre, on the other hand is a formal garden consisting of planting beds that are arranged to form a symmetrical pattern, with gravel paths laid between. The beds are edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging and need not contain any flowers.
Bodysgatten Hall Parterre, Wales
Neither a bosquet not a parterre need be relegated to a public park or the grand landscapes of a past era. A little planning and some creative vision (it helps to draw it out first) are all that is needed to create one in your back yard. And, what an impact they make!
Even in a space as confined as a rooftop terrace, it is possible to achieve the effect of a parterre. Placing evergreens around the perimeter which are set on a “pathway” of gravel, gives the effect of a little parterre that is oh, so cozy and Outdoorlicious!
I can assure you that, if this were my rooftop aerie, I would be out here every day that the weather would allow. If that meant taking my blanket and wrapping it around me to keep warm, I would not be deterred from reveling in my own private park high above the bustle of the street below.
As you can see, whether set on a large expanse of acreage or in a small space, a parterre can really be effective almost anywhere.
A bosquet, with its rows of trees may need a bit more space, but in an efficiently planned landscape, including an average backyard, one could use this landscape technique to great effect.
I can’t get this one out of my head! I love it and want to go to work in my yard to create one just like it. Everything here is perfect—perfectly simple, perfectly elegant, perfectly manicured, and perfectly irresistible. It makes me think of a park in France with its combination of manicured lawn, trees, and gravel each standing proud on its own but harmonizing so well that one could not imagine one element without the others.
So often, a large table is rather stand-offish and formal for a single person or a couple. This one, however, begs to be used by anyone at any time because this space is all about serenity. This is a space that must be acknowledged and admired, but also used and not left only for those occasions when the table can be filled with diners.