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Spring Makeover- Indoor Fairy Garden

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The indoor fairy garden got a recent update… complete with a shimmery blue pool and a very violet African Violet. Lala and I were going for magical.

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We traded the stone path for little round wood discs and refreshed the design with some new plants including a Fire Fold Leaf Sedum (front left), a Dwarf Brush Cherry (the tree-like plant in the back) and Elfin Thyme (right front). The new violet is called SaintPaulia.

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I love how long African Violets stay in bloom!

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The planter makes a sweet centerpiece and lasts easily through spring and summer!

Indoors or out-  if you’ve never made one you should try it! Many garden centers are now carrying miniature plants and items for fairy gardens. I find them enchanting. Here is a link to our outdoor fairy garden project and the indoor garden decked out for the winter/holiday season.




Indoor Fairy Garden

Do you remember the Living Spring Centerpiece and the Fairy Garden projects? Well, I was needing a little “plant time” last week and hopped on over to one of my favorite local nurseries/garden centers (Dickman Farms in Auburn, NY). They have a wonderful greenhouse selection and to my surprise/delight all of their house plants were 50% off! Sa-weet.  I knocked myself out.

Now, before I go further, you must know that I was driving hubby’s car listening to the new Coldplay CD Mylo Xyloto for the first time. I pulled up into the parking lot and was completely overcome listening to #5 – You and Me Against the World. Oh. So. Warm and Beautiful… the acoustic guitar and Gwenth’s Chris Martin’s voice. Love….Love.

Where was I? Shopping. I’m not a shopper typically- much to Farmboy’s delight. Plants, plates and ponies are some of my preferred items- much to Farmboy’s dismay. When I need a little retail therapy I head for the local nursery or Marshall’s rather than a horse sale, thankfully- for all of us.

Enough of my late-night, The Clone Wars is on (they all look the same)- pontificating. Here is the “how to” part.

Take a large container with no hole and fill the bottom third with gravel for drainage unless you plan to use a saucer of some sort to catch the water. Be especially sensitive to moisture when using a container with no drainage. Low and wide is better since it will be displayed on a table indoors.

Fill the remainder of the container with potting soil.

Get together all of your plant goodies…

Arrange low growing, mossy plants in the front and center of your Fairy Garden and add the taller ones to the back. Once your plantings are finished water gently until evenly moist.

* I found some wonderful Fairy furniture to add to my indoor garden at Dickman’s! Here is a link to fairy furniture images.

Be sure to add a stone path, some boulders (small rocks) and whatever you can think of to add ambiance! I wish that I could string lights in my little fairy garden. Wouldn’t that be great?!

This little garden has been inhabited so far by the following: Zoobles, My Little Ponies and Princess Polly Pockets. I think its magic is working. Soon, word will get out and the fairies are bound to come. We have recently put little Santa hats out and decorated the place for Christmas. I’m thinking that it’s enchanting- I think the fairies will agree.




How to Make a Living Spring Centerpiece

I don’t know about you but I have been needing to see some color and some blatant signs of Spring. I thought it would be fun to plant a large container with mixed with spring flowers that could be planted out in the border when they are done inside.

I’m always looking for ways to include the children while gardening and LaLa was anxious to get her hands in the soil. A perfect project for the two of us. I hope you will be inspired to go out and create a lovely centerpiece for your spring table!

First, find a large low container with no hole in the bottom. ( I did not want to have to worry about leaking when watering.)

Then head on over to your favorite garden center and pick out some healthy spring annuals and perennials that are already in bloom. My purchase included 3 Primroses (yellow), a Gerber Daisy (pink), 2 Violets (purple), and tiny Campanula (white) that I divided in two.

Have your helper add some rocks in the bottom of your container for drainage. Our rocks were about 1/3 of the way up the container.

 

Then start filling with potting soil and planting! It will be viewed from all sides so keep that in mind when deciding where to place your plants. Or, if you are working with a 6 yr old let them decide and rearrange the plants when they aren’t looking. Not that I would ever do such a thing!

 

Once you are all potted up be sure to water the plants in… keeping in mind that there is no drainage (don’t overwater- just enough to make everything evenly moist).

 

Now, bring it in and enjoy! I added some cabbage leaf place mats underneath my container to protect my table surface. When the flowers start to fade I plan to replace them with miniature plants, mosses and stone… to create a little indoor fairy garden. The primrose and campanula can be planted out in the flower border to make an appearance next year!

 

If you decide to create a living indoor centerpiece be sure to take a picture of it and send it to me! I would love seeing your creation. : ) Happy Spring! Oh, don’t forget to tuck some little eggs into your arrangement!

 

 

 

 




Winter Sowing

I did not come up with this idea… I wish I could take credit for it. I learned about it from Trudy in the Winter Sowing forum on GardenWeb a number of years ago and have since grown hundreds of plants using this method. I thought it would be fun to show how LaLa and I do it. This post will be linked to other post that I will be doing regarding gardening with children… so stay tuned for that!

First you get a milk carton and add your drainage holes.

Cut the carton in half leaving one side attached, then pet Gracie who is patiently waiting for a treat…

I find it easier to label them before the soil is added. I’ve tried numerous pens and markers but have found opaque paint pens to work the best to handle the elements outside without wearing off.

I usually fill the utility sink in the laundry room with potting soil if I will be filling numerous containers but today I only had 4 to fill and I thought this would be easier for LaLa.

People use various mixes to start their seeds. I don’t fuss over it too much. I normally use a regular potting soil (miraclegro) and add additional perlite to lighten the mix. It is not necessary to use seed starting mix although I do add it to my potting soil if I have it.

So… add your soil, add your perlite and get those little hands going! Children (and adults) love to get their hands in the dirt when there is 3 ft of snow on the ground! It gives me a little gardening fix to get me through the long winters in Upstate New York.

After your soil is mixed and moistened, then fill your carton.

I keep my seeds in an old wine box. For some reason I cannot find most of my perennial seeds so we’ll go with Delphinium, Oriental Poppies and Lupines.

Now sprinkle those seeds! If they are tiny like poppies, just gently pat them to make contact with the soil. You can plant as little as 1 per carton but I usually sow at least 6 or 8 seeds (even with large plants).  Once they get started they can be separated or planted out later. If your seeds are larger you can poke little holes to put them or just sprinkle more soil on the top once you are done sowing.

Gently water in your seeds. I water them numerous times… until the soil is completely soaked and draining from the bottom. Remember the top half of the carton gets put back on and they will use the water that you put in now as condensation as the mini greenhouses warm in the spring sun.

Watch your children when watering…  they can be very overzealous as we know!  You don’t want the water pooling up on the top and your seeds washing away down the sides of the carton. At this point I put them in the sink and let them drain.

I have found that using a hole punch on the top and bottom and provides a nice little way to thread a twisty tie to hold them shut. The last step is an important one. Tape your cartons around the middle. You want the air inside to warm as the sun shines on them. I use packing tape but duct tape works too. Don’t put the cap back on the carton.

After that… put those little darlings outside and forget about them until the weather starts to warm. When they are ready they will sprout.  Your children will enjoy peaking down into the hole to look for green sprouts! I promise.

My sweet LaLa. I’ve done this every year with the kids since they were old enough to stand on a chair without falling off. I didn’t realize until now that that was my condition. : )

 

 

For more information on Winter Sowing click here. The forum is full of information, encouragement and overall gardening joy but be prepared to hear alot of rejoicing about green babies, zone wars and container counts!




Creating a Fairy Garden

First, set a fairy trap. No, just kidding. That is impossible from what I’ve heard. However, there are many ways to create a fairy garden. I was inspired to start one in an old tree stump after hearing a lecture on “Fairy Tales in the Garden” by blogging diva Amanda Thomsen of Hortmag.com’s Kiss My Aster. A timely lecture considering that it just so happened we had an old tree in the barnyard that was getting cut up for firewood. I found the perfect hollowed out stump complete with a fairy door in the bottom. Yay.

After zipping over to the barn with the skidsteer and picking up the enchanted stump, I found a lovely spot with shade in the morning and late afternoon situated in front of a young blue spruce. While I would love to have a sweet little wooded spot, we live on the top of a hill no mature trees. It could have gone in the nearby hedgerow but I wanted it close enough to see it daily and for LaLa to visit there often.

Note the lovely little fairy door at the bottom. All it needs is a walkway, paint and a doorknob!

Planting the garden in a tree stump is nice because it raises up the viewing level and creates numerous places to introduce your fairy decor.  Speaking of fairy decor… did you know that you can order anything that you can dream of online? I had no idea! I have my eye on a particular metal table and chairs after finding the sweetest tea set at a craft store. Stay tuned on that one.

Varigated ivy, Irish moss, Hinoki cypress and creeping thyme.

A fairy garden doesn’t haven’t to be expensive to make. I used a dwarf Hinoki cypress that had gotten stepped on a couple times in my perennial bed that needed a little TLC. It made a nice small tree for the arrangement. We used a small little wren house for the fairy’s cottage with a cute little ceramic gazebo and mushrooms from a set that LaLa got for her birthday.

Some good materials for a fairy garden include:

  • Moss covered stones
  • twigs
  • low growing plants such as irish moss, creeping thyme, creeping phlox and miniature conifers
  • pebbles
  • mushrooms- real or faux
  • polished stones
  • shiny things
  • picket fencing
  • rhinestones
  • doll furniture and accessories
  • your imagination

Once your little miniature outdoor landscaping project is planted start adding little accessories to bring it all together and enchant the fairies, your children and yourself. I found a charming little red wagon, some potted plants and a garden hose to add to my garden. I think the perfect little gardening fairy will come. I hope she will be willing to work for her keep!

So what are you waiting for?! Start that fairy garden and enjoy it with wonderment as though seeing it through the eyes of a child. Mine is far from complete so stop back in and see how it evolves! What would be featured in your fairy garden to make it uniquely yours?




ABOUT

Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.

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