Getting Started with Your Fairy Garden
Putting together your fairy garden is a relatively straight-forward and painless process. Mind the important steps and you’ll have a garden for you and your little friends to observe and enjoy in a day or two. Let’s get started on choosing a location!
Choosing the right soil is important to maintaining a lasting and thriving garden. The same can be said for your little habitat. It doesn’t matter what size the plant is, it’s still going to require proper drainage and nutrients in order to flourish all season long.
What you want to see is a dark and fluffy mixture of bark, compost, and vermiculite. If you’ve ever visited grandma on the day she’s been working in the garden, you might be familiar with these little white pieces. The vermiculite acts as a spacer, allowing water to drain through the dirt instead of remaining stagnant.
Water that doesn’t drain will eventually accumulate to the height of the roots. If the roots stay in water too long, they’ll drown! Salts and chemicals found in your local water will also begin to accumulate. And before long, the soil will become far too toxic for any plant life to survive.
A bag of generic garden or potting soil from your local hardware store should do just fine for your fairy garden’s needs. You won’t need any added fertilizers or nutrients. If you’re starting your garden inside a pot or container, make sure there are drainage holes to allow the water to flow through. Depending on the size of your container, you should be able to fill it with soil from top to bottom. No additional dirt may be necessary.
If you’ll be constructing your garden in an existing patch of land or your vegetable garden, there are some notes to take before construction. Earth is comprised of three main parts: sand, silt, and clay. The composition of these three elements will determine exactly how and where to place your garden.
The ideal type of soil is referred to as loam. This mixture contains larger parts of sand and silt with a smaller portion of clay. If you’ve ever driven through an agricultural part of town, their crops are typically made up of loam. You’d be able to build right into this material. If the ground isn’t already loose, it should not take much effort to prepare a bed for your fairy garden.
If you have a very sandy soil, or earth so thick that you can’t even get a trowel through, you may need to consider building a raised bed for your garden. Soil that is too sandy will not be able to hold the moisture long enough for the roots to extract water. Clay tends to hold water too long, oversaturating the roots. Not to mention it’s very difficult to work with.
While you can always grade the soil, it may be beneficial to have your fairy hideaway in a separate or mobile container. This can also be useful in the winter months, primarily if frost comes around.
When looking for plants, you’ll notice small white information tabs stuck into their soil. Plants will be able to sustain no sun (shade), partial sun, or full sun environments. Consider this when putting together your plant selection. If you’re working with a separate container and you don’t mind moving the garden throughout the day, you may be able to use with plants that wouldn’t necessarily survive if left alone. Be sure to remind yourself to move them!
Refer back to the plant’s information tab in order to find the best-suited plant for your environment and your level of care. Take note that indoor plants are just tropical plants. They’ll need a minimum temperature of 60 degrees to survive.
Stonecrops, a type of succulent, are an appealing yet resilient plant. This cold-hardy variety can vary in color from green to a reddish purple hue. Their tolerance for low water and drought is another good reason to consider them for a first garden varietal.
If you’re looking for something a bit more tree-like, you may want to look into dwarf varieties, primarily Junipers or mugo pines. Both options require moderate to little watering and can sustain a period of time without water (just in case you forget).
Assembling the Ingredients
Once you’ve decided on the type of plants for your garden, now comes the fun; it’s time to put it all together! After preparing the soil, tentatively place your fairy garden structures where you’d like them to be. You have plenty of time now to get the orientation just right. Once you’ve decided on placement, let’s get those plants in.
Loosen the potting soil already surrounding your plants. You’re going to want to see some stringy roots hanging down. Set those little guys in the soil and make sure to pack them nice and tight. After watering thoroughly, you’ll want to set a schedule for watering based on your plants water needs.
Typically, keeping plants in moist soil is sufficient. Be sure not to overwater as this can drown your plant. A good rule of green thumb is to be able to feel moisture about half a finger deep. That will let you know there’s enough moisture for your plant’s roots to obtain water.
Once you’ve completed your fairy garden, be sure and check on the plant status every few days or so. Once you get into a healthy routine, you’ll be able to introduce more complex plants. Best of luck with your fairy garden. As long as you take care of your greenery, you’ll have a flourishing garden for years to come!