Fairytale Gardening

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What if it were possible to recreate the enchanted lands nestled in the pages of your favorite childhood storybooks? Or to assemble a real-life replica of those pixie dust-filled dimensions that once belonged to the crevices of untampered imagination?

The concept of creating “fairy gardens” emerged over a century ago as a whimsical hobby for green-thumb enthusiasts. Inspired by the bonsai dish creations at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, gardeners began to put their aesthetic skills to the test by crafting miniature structures and landscapes perfectly fit for magical sprites. While the fairy garden trend reached its peak of popularity in the late 20th Century, it remains a cherished pastime for experienced and first-time gardeners alike.

When it comes to constructing tiny, floral worlds, intricacy and precision are key, and a heightened attention to detail is a must. Finding an appropriate container or defined space is a good place to get started, since doing so will help you create a per-determined size or scale to follow. From there, you can decide what sort of location will best suit your fairy home. This could be beneath a tree, in a birdbath, tucked in the corner of a porch or anywhere that caters to your particular design goals.

Before adding any structures and accessories, you’re going to want to include all necessary plant life and landscaping. Moss and succulent varieties work well for fairy gardens and are easy to maintain. Alpine and other compact plants are also favorable choices because you won’t have to worry about them getting too big and overcrowding your space or container. Whatever you pick, selecting plants of varying shapes and colors will make your mini garden all the more interesting and eye-catching for humans and pixies alike! Along with greenery, adding pebbles or colored rocks to your garden will complete the foundation before moving on to the final step of making your garden habitable.

When you build your first fairy garden, it’s important to add all of the structures and accessories last so that you know you’re satisfied with its overall aura and appearance. Many stores and online retailers have an assortment little houses and buildings specifically designed for fairy gardening. However, if you’d rather keep a more DIY, natural look, you can always just paint and decorate stones and pieces of wood to look like tiny dwellings. Whichever method you prefer, both will allow you the freedom to either base your design solely on imagination or to model it after a certain theme, such as Rapunzel or Alice in Wonderland. And don’t forget the most important part—the fairies themselves, just like the accessories, can be purchased from a number of garden suppliers or online. After all, what would a fairy garden be without elfin inhabitants?

If fairy gardening sounds like a hobby you may want to explore, there may be a class in your area to help get you started and equip you with some tips and tricks. Down to Earth Garden Center is one location in Eau Claire that offers miniature gardening workshops along with a wide variety of other classes. For a complete list of workshops, please visit

Some might say fairy tales are just for children, but creating miniature enchanted worlds can be an enjoyable and satisfying activity for any child at heart as well. So what are you waiting for? Grab your gardening gloves, a pinch of pixie dust, and get started.

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