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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Thanksgiving was a lovely day. After eating dinner, McHubby and I took our youngest son and his girlfriend to Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights. Meadowlark is a botanical garden and the light show winds through the trails. Even thought the night was a chilly one, we enjoyed the show. A huge fire pit greeted us at the end.

Here are some of our highlights (photographing lights at night is challenging):

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What are you doing to experience some holiday magic?

Amy

 

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I don’t know if you’ve experienced this phenomenon, but sometimes I can be my own worst enemy. I can let my fears get the best of me. Making my fairy garden has been one of those times when I kept procrastinating. I started my fairy garden over a month ago primarily because I needed to get a creeping Jenny plant re-potted. Then, I piled some stones around and stopped. The fear had beaten any creativity I had into submission. Today, I was determined to conquer any resistance and finish some projects. Let’s see how I did.

Before:

Note: I have four sunflowers growing in the garden now. They came up on their own from last year’s planting. I hadn’t realized when I mixed the old soil with the new that any seeds were present. What a nice surprise though.

After:

Fairy wheelbarrow, garden tools, home and bird bath

Second view of fairy village

Second fairy home

Back boundary of fairy garden

Back boundary of the fairy garden village

Fairy garden in its place on the deck

Overall, I enjoyed working on my fairy garden once I got started. I’m glad I explored fairy gardens. I’m even considering putting a fairy door on the container. We’ll see.

Update: I thought some daylight pictures would be helpful.

What fears have you pushed through this week?

Amy

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Welcome back to our exploration of fairy gardens. Today we will be looking at the accessories that you can include in your creation.

Houses- The dwelling that you choose to offer in your fairy garden can run the gambit from a traditional bird house to a traditional brick human home. You can also select gourds, mushroom/toadstools, stone covered, moss covered and wooden country homes. Fairy houses can be bought pre-made or you had design one even recycling household materials to craft them.

Mushroom Fairy House

A toad stool fairy house.

A fairy house covered with moss.

A traditional brick house designed for fairies

A fairy house made from a gourd.

A fairy house made from recycled materials.

A white country fairy house.

 

Use a bird house as a fairy house

Doors – If not included in your fairy house, one can be attached to the base of a tree.

Door examples for a fairy garden.

 

Paths/Stairs – You can use pebbles, stones or glass bits to make your own. I’ve seen preformed concrete/plaster paths also.

 

Make a path with colored sand.

A pre-made fairy garden path from etsy.com

A fairy path made from pebbles.

Wooden fairy steps.

Water Features include ponds and water fountains.

A glass pebble creek with a bridge.

A fountain for your fairy garden.

 

Play equipment- Slide or swings (maybe even a tire swing)

A swing made from clay.

A tire swing for your fairy garden.

“Patio furniture”- Craft miniature chairs, settees or benches.

 

A stone chair for your fairy garden.

A fairy dining set from wood twigs.

Wicker fairy furniture

Whimsy – Include toadstools

 

Include a welcome sign.

A pink toad stool

Gnome statue

Beach themed fairy garden

A miniature bicycle for your fairy garden

Fencing – Premade or use twigs or popsicle sticks.

Fencing around fairy garden.

You are only limited by your imagination.

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Welcome back to our fairy garden series. Today, we’ll be digging in a little further by learning which plants are purported to attract beneficial fairies to your garden. Some may work for container gardens; while others would work better for a fairy garden within a larger garden or woods.

1. Aster
2. Bluebells
3. Boxwood
4. Buttercup

5. Butterfly Bush
6. Carnation
7. Chicory
8. Chrysanthemums
9. Clover

10. Columbine
11. Cone flower
12. Coreopsis
13. Cosmos
14. Cowslips

15. Daffodil
16. Daisy
17. Elderberry
18. Ferns

19. Flax

20. Foxglove

21. Gardenia
22. Helitrope

23. Hollyhock

24. Honeysuckle
25. Hosta
26. Hyacinth

27. Impatients
28. Iris
29. Jasmine
30. Lady’s Mantle31. Lamb’s Ear

32. Lavender
33. Lilac
34. Lily
35. Lobelia
36. Marigold
37. Milkweed
38. Morning Glory
39. Nasturtiums
40. Pansy
41. Peony
42. Periwinkle 43. Petunia
44. Phlox
45. Pincushion
46. Poppies 47. Primrose
48. Pussy willow
49. Roses
50. Rosemary 51. Snapdragon
52. Sunflower
53. Trees: apple, cherry, pear
54. Tulip 55. Violet
56. White Lotus
57. Yarrow (fernleaf)
58. Zinnia

Next…Fairy Garden Accessories and their sources

Amy

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Well, I didn’t think this would be so difficult to write, but for some reason it has been. Fairy gardens and miniature gardens seem to be different names for the same thing for the most part. Perhaps an analogy would be that a square is a type of rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square.  So a fairy garden is a type of miniature garden, however, not every miniature garden is a fairy garden.

Miniature Garden Example

Fairy Garden Example

Miniature gardens are whimsical and can include objects that look like very small people could use them. Bonsai where trees are trimmed to keep them dwarf sized fit in to this category. Terrariums are miniature gardens enclosed in glass containers. Since terrariums are in theory closed ecosystems, they require significantly less effort to maintain.

Bonsai Example

Terrarium Example

Fairy gardens can be indoor or outdoor gardens. They are usually whimsical and are frequently made with the intention of attracting beneficial fairies to your home or at the very least paying homage to them. When found outdoors, they can be either in a container or be a part of a traditional in ground garden. In a garden variation, a tree or tree stump can be the foundation for some very unusual and adorable settings.

A Tree Stump Fairy House

Whether you still have a place in your heart for magic or Tinker Bell has always been one of your favorite characters, fairy gardens are a fun way to be reminded of the magic of the natural world. From time to time most of us need a respite from technology and the challenges of the modern world. We are reminded of childhood when all the most wondrous possibilities existed.

A child in garden. Photo by Paul Jones

Next post…Fairies: Getting to know them to build a garden around them

Amy

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Fairy in Moonlight from Graphics Fairy

A reader recently sent me a picture of her garden, specifically, the fairy statues in her garden. (I thought I might make it sound like she had gotten pictures of actual fairies in her garden, but decided not to.) An acquaintance had recommended to my reader that she should have fairies in her garden. So she rounded up some fairies and put them in her garden.

For some time, I’ve thought about making my own fairy garden. They seem to show up on Pinterest every so often. Although I do have to admit that I have been a bit slow at getting anything done about it. Having a clear mental picture of a fairy garden caused me to feel uncertain about how to put mine together. So, I’ve been researching fairy gardens and am going to share the information with you. I’ll look into what fairies are, why someone would want to have a fairy garden,  what types of fairy gardens there are, what plants work in them and what accessories to use. Hopefully by the end, I’ll have a beautiful completed fairy garden to share with you.

We’ll be looking at fairy gardens in “the Woods near Skyline Drive” way. Over the next several days, we’ll explore, discover, develop and play.

What do fairies mean to you? Fantasy, reality, cute idea…

Amy

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Birds and plants help people or be a problem for them. For instance, some plants need birds to eat their fruit and carry their seeds to another location where the bird eliminates them with their other waste. Unfortunately, the places that those birds leave their droppings, such as a car, head or deck aren’t always so nice for us.

I was reminded of this the other day noticing the large robin flying out from under our deck once again. The robins are on nest number two for this summer. I am happy to provide a nice location for them to nest, but I don’t like being yelled at by an irate robin when I’m only trying to use my own personal space.

Last summer, a bird couple of unknown species set up a nest in one of our asparagus ferns. Way cool, so we thought until we needed to water the fern. Imagine trying to water a plant, not drowning a nest and worrying about being dive bombed by a protective parent. Not so relaxing.

We aren’t the only one with birds nesting in container plants or hanging baskets. I thought perhaps I could find some good DIY remedies online. I found some, but I can’t vouch for their effectiveness.

Here is what I found:

Shiny metal objects- My friend swears by chopped up soda cans. I also saw a recommendation to use mirrors to scare the birds off. Aluminum foil balls are also shiny.

shiny scares birds away

Wind catchers, pinwheels, whirligigs- Apparently the movement is threatening. I suppose this could also be a nice decorative touch to you container garden.

movement scares birds away

Spiky things- Ouch! Birds don’t want to be poked while sitting on a nest any more than people would if they did. Remedies in this category include toothpicks, bamboo skewers and plastic forks with the tines up.

Birds won't nest with spikes in container gardens

Netting- Garden netting can be wrapped snuggly around the container. This probably isn’t the most attractive option although it’s effectiveness is probably high. Martha Stewart, in recommending this solution on her website, points out that the netting can be removed later in the spring once migratory birds are no longer nesting.

wrap container in garden netting

Scary predators- Putting a rubber snake in with your plants will keep the birds from nesting since they won’t want their eggs being eaten by a real snake. They aren’t going to check the rubber one out close enough to know that it isn’t real. You might unintentional scare some humans with this one too. Oops!

Rubber snakes to scare birds away

Rubber snake

Noxious smells- Dipping a cotton ball in ammonia and placing it on the soil stinks the birds away. Please make sure that children won’t be able to get into these containers and get the cotton balls.

I hope this gives you some ideas about how to live with nature and have your planters too.

Amy

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