2018-03-08 / From The Garden

Faerie Garden Magic for Spring

By Cynthia Gibson


The Poppy Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker is one of many garden fairy ornaments available. The Poppy Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker is one of many garden fairy ornaments available. You do not have to believe in faeries to plant a faerie garden, nor are they only for children. Indeed, these gardens have several purposes. They contain fragrant plants that you can eat, which are symbols of luck, prosperity and good health, include a lovely variety of interesting textures and, of course, provide places for faeries to live and hide.

A basic faerie garden usually contains these varieties of flowers: poppies, foxglove, hollyhock, thyme, chamomile and wood betony.

Poppies bring faeries into your dreams, while the individual flowers on the stalk of the foxglove are used as hats for both faeries and gnomes. They also make an attractive place for bumble bees to take an afternoon siesta.

Hollyhock is a must for the faerie wardrobe. Its blossoms make the comeliest faerie dresses and skirts. Thyme is the fragrant herb that allows you to see the faeries. It is delicious in fresh salads, and faeries love to munch on it, too.


Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Cynthia Gibson is a gardener, food writer and painter. She gardens and tends her miniature orchard in Newport. Chamomile, especially German Chamomile, brings faeries to your garden, so it’s great to have many clumps of this wispy plant. Faeries make tea from the dried small flowers of it, and so can you. Chamomile tea makes a lovely infusion during the day and helps you fall into a peaceful sleep at night.

For faeries who are mischievous, you must plant wood betony. It keeps the “trick-playing” faeries in line!

Faerie gardens were first discovered at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The Japanese Pavilion had many “Bonsai” gardens on display, which is a style of gardening in restrained miniature form. These gardens were planted in shallow dishes and looked like a small piece of “fairyland.” The New York Times published a story on them.

Today, the gardens include everything from miniature lawn furniture to tiny resin houses. We believers all know, however, that faeries love nature, and they will hide in small logs and make their homes in a mushroom. They do not need lighting, as fireflies do the job!

Cicely Mary Barker created the most charming and magnificent illustrations of faeries for her book, “Flower Fairies,” in 1923. These illustrations can serve as the standard for your “faerie search” in your garden. The whimsical pastel pictures will inspire you to plant this type of garden for your children, your grandchildren or yourself.

Barker also wrote and illustrated a series of “Fairy Flower” books by season. Each book is more enchanting than the last. A trip to the library on a rainy day in March will do wonders for a little research, a new garden and some enchantment.

This is the time of year to start the seeds indoors for your fairy garden.

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