How to get kids interested in gardening

This is the perfect time of year to design your garden. Perhaps you would like to include your children or grandchildren. Well, how about a fairy garden with tiny accessories to accompany tiny plants? All garden stores should be well stocked. My grandchildren are continually on the hunt for the perfect addition to our next spring’s fairy garden.

Here are some necessary steps for a perfect fairy garden. First, develop a theme such as camping, farming, backyard playground, Victorian era, bird house, gazebo, party, water feature, the fairy, the church yard – the themes can go on and on – they are endless. Children tend to change themes from year to year, depending on their interests.

So, let’s choose a focal point. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, grandest or most expensive focal point, but it will tell the story of your fairy garden. It should catch the eye from the most visual point of view. This is perhaps the biggest ingredient to spot first. Start with something you like.

Keep a tape measure handy when shopping

It is recommended that 1:12, which means that one inch in a fairyland is equivalent to one foot in a real garden. Keep a tape measure handy when shopping or looking for your little treasures. Have your little ones search your toy box so that they can offer their little treasures for the fairy garden. It will definitely make you proud to show off and keep it weed free.

A few years ago, the Garden Market in downtown Fremont offered outrageous fairy garden and garden hat contests.

Design around the focal point that will complement the environment. You might want winding paths, streams, courtyards, camping scenes, a backyard scenario, or maybe a water feature for your theme. You might consider an architectural feature. It tends to be a strong central starting point.

If you are inserting an arch, use the rule of symmetry – what you plant on one side, mirror on the other. You don’t want to overload with your adorable thumbnails. You could create two fairy gardens instead. It would be wise to place your fairy garden near a well-trafficked path like a porch, patio, or favorite seating area, especially if you’ve included a water feature. It would be double, you and everyone would enjoy the beautiful view of the fairy garden and listen to the soothing sound of the water feature. This would be a favorite place for relaxation at the end of the day.

Matching mini trees for the fairy garden can be found at the local nursery or novelty shop. Place them strategically along paths, around lakes, next to a building for added color and depth. Your local library is a good source of inspiration. There’s probably a whole section on “fairy gardens”. They will give you pruning instructions so you can keep your plants well cared for. Look carefully at your plants before buying to make sure they are root bound, as the plant will forever remain stunted and will not grow out of the fairy garden. You want a plant that has branches and trunks that give a gnarled or aged appearance.

Which comes first, the fairy or the accessories?

Try to keep your accent pieces similar in color range. There are kits or pre-made planters in many stores and online. These kits will make the decision for you.

Which comes first, the fairy or the props? There is no definite answer. As you wish. The creation of the special fairy garden reflects your own personal tastes and interests; it is what makes yours and that of your children or grandchildren unique.

So you have all your accessories, focal point and other matching pieces ready to organize your fairy tale. Some fairy gardens can be planted in a container. These containers can be wheelbarrows, birdbaths, boxes, tubs, baskets, urns and even a bicycle basket can be used as a base for a fairy garden. They are all catchy. The container should have good drainage.

Put a screen or broken pottery over the holes to prevent the soil from eroding. Add a layer of gravel then place a high quality potting soil (not too much) over your masterpiece. It is best to avoid floors that contain water-saving polymers as they tend to save water unevenly. The watering schedule is up to you, but keep the soil moist, not soggy. Fertilizer should be added halfway when plants and foliage are pale. Don’t over-fertilize as you don’t want your plants to become overgrown.

Take a trip to the library, browse children’s fairy books or magazines to get a head start on your and your little one’s next fairy garden. This could be your best spring.

Mark your calendars for the Sandusky-Ottawa County Plant Sale on May 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds.

Susan La Fountaine is Master Gardener at the Sandusky and Ottawa Counties Extension Offices.

Wiley C. Thompson